Professional engineering societies can play an important role in building the capacity of the field. This goal is often approached through efforts to improve and make more accessible the educational opportunities available to those in or wishing to gain entry to the profession. Among many roles, professional engineering societies may provide continuing education opportunities to their members, set and maintain professional standards, help clarify the knowledge and skill base needed by those practicing in the field, and serve as a bridge between employers and schools of engineering. These efforts, along with those by industry, federal agencies, and institutions of higher education, help build and sustain a viable engineering workforce.
This project aims to (1) take an in-depth look at the extent and nature of professional engineering societies’ contributions to improving the quality and effectiveness of US undergraduate engineering education and (2) provide opportunity for the societies and other stakeholders, such as universities and industry, to consider ways to broaden and improve the effectiveness of this work. While the focus will be on undergraduate education, higher education is part of a larger education-workforce continuum. Thus the project also will consider how societies’ efforts to improve undergraduate engineering influence and are influenced by their outreach to K-12 students and their support of working engineers through continuing education initiatives.
The 24-month, National Science Foundation-funded project will involve extensive data gathering and outreach as well as production of a workshop summary report and recaps from five regional stakeholder meetings. The project has the following objectives:
Determine the extent and nature of societies’ past and current efforts to improve undergraduate engineering education and, where available, collect data on the impact of these efforts.
Provide opportunity for engineering professional societies to share information about their current and planned efforts and, as appropriate, consider coordinated or cooperative action to support the overall engineering education enterprise.
Compile ideas from the professional societies and other stakeholders for how the societies might broaden and increase the effectiveness of their efforts to improve undergraduate engineering education.