Changing the Conversation: Messages for Improving Public Understanding of Engineering

  • AuthorNational Academy of Engineering
  • TitleChanging the Conversation: Messages for Improving Public Understanding of Engineering
  • PublisherNational Academies Press
  • Release DateJanuary 1, 2008
  • Copyright2008
  • ISBN978-0-309-11934-4

The overall conclusion of this report is that the public image of engineering and engineers must appeal to the optimism and aspirations of students and must be all inclusive. In the past, the image of engineers has been focused mostly on white males and messages have emphasized the preparation necessary for engineering careers, especially math and science. This NAE report published last summer recommends that the engineering community begin immediately to plan and initiate a coordinated communications campaign to interest young people from all backgrounds in engineering careers by appealing to their desire to find hands-on solutions to problems that can make a difference in the world and improve people’s lives. This report recommends specific messages and taglines that were selected based on qualitative and quantitative research, including an online survey of 3,600 teenagers and adults (among them many African Americans and Hispanics), focus groups with middle-school girls, and other data-gathering activities to test the appeal, believability, and relevance of messages and taglines. 

Visit the Changing the Conversation Online Messaging Toolkit, a website designed to assist the engineering community in implementing the findings and recommendations presented in the book.