Title: A para/professional approach to restructuring engineering education

Authors: James M. Tien

Addresses: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 110 Eighth Street, Troy, New York 12180-3590, USA

Abstract: Engineering education is beset by many of the same challenges that have affected American industry. Much has been recommended and implemented to improve engineering education. However, the traditional structure of engineering education remains, even though current exigencies require a fundamental restructuring. A Para/Professional Model is proposed in this paper as an alternative to the traditional structure; it serves to mitigate the growing cost of education, to overcome the declining quality of high school graduates, to meet the growing need for professional engineers, and to enhance the link between research and engineering education. While the proposed Para/Professional Model is consistent with those advocating a five-year engineering higher education program leading to a Master|s degree, it is novel in that it suggests formally breaking up the program into a two-year and a three-year component, leading, respectively, to a para-engineering degree and a professional (i.e. Master|s) degree. Further, the para/professional approach is responsive to the needs of the 21st century and should enhance the engineering profession and raise the self-esteem of US engineers.

Keywords: engineering education; professional education; para-engineering degree; graduate education; undergraduate curricula; higher education; USA; United States.

DOI: 10.1504/IJCEELL.1999.030144

International Journal of Continuing Engineering Education and Life-Long Learning, 1999 Vol.9 No.2, pp.117 - 127

Published online: 11 Dec 2009 *

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