Monday, January 28, 2013

A Message to Engineering Deans

A paragraph to ponder for the engineering deans of the world - - from Tom Friedman's New York Times column this past Sunday, Revolution Hits the Universities:

"I can see the day soon where you'll create your own college degree by taking the best online courses from the best professors around the world - some computing from Stanford, some entrepreneurship from Wharton, some ethics from Brandeis, some literature from Edinburgh - paying only the nominal fee for the certificates of completion.  It will change teaching, learning and the pathway to employment."

What we call an engineering degree is changing because of technology.  What we call an engineer also needs to change because of economic, social, and demographic forces - - and this is where the two paths start to cross.  Engineers need to change in three critical areas - - (1.) Depth in a selected subject area, (2.) Breadth in key areas, from marketing to public policy development to communication skills for the socially connected world, and (3.) A commitment to lifelong learning.

A connected world of online degrees and certificates will give engineers the access to a world of opportunities.  It will provide the key foundation in the three critical areas outlined above.  Those that take advantage of these new opportunities will get further ahead.  Those that ignore the opportunities in a changing world will only fall further behind. 

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