Evaluation Results of an E and ET Education Forum Page: 55
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and engineering operations have been deemphasized
and relegated to perhaps one or two courses in the cur-
riculum. At the same time, the field of engineering tech-
nology has expanded to the baccalaureate level with an
emphasis on laboratory experience, practice-oriented
lectures, and experiential learning. The authors further
asserted that each of these developments has occurred
within the context of increasing constraints on avail-
able credit hours for engineering-specific courses due
to expanding core requirements in mathematics, natu-
ral and social sciences, humanities and writing. The au-
thors estimated that these constraints limit engineering
education to roughly two to two and a half years in a
typical baccalaureate degree plan.
Subsequent articles expanded on these observa-
tions, and two curricular models were proposed that
would utilize current resources available in engineering
and engineering technology programs to address some
of the issues they describe while also fulfilling Depart-
ment of Education requirements for a first professional
degree (Barbieri, Pascali, Ramos, and Fitzgibbon 2009;
Barbieri, Shireen, Attarzadeh, Ramos, and Fitzgibbon
2009; Barbieri, Shireen, Attarzadeh, Pascali, Ramos, and
Fitzgibbon 2009; Barbieri, Attarzadeh, Pascali, Shireen,
and Fitzgibbon 2010). The first option revolves around
a two-year common curriculum for all engineering and
engineering technology students, while the second is
based on the idea of a professional degree in engineer-
ing analogous to law or medicine.
In spring 2010, the University of Houston hosted a
forum for engineering and engineering technology fac-
ulty and administrators to discuss the merits and fea-
sibility of these models. Industry representatives were
also invited to provide their perspective on engineering
and engineering technology education and the relation
to workforce needs. The purpose of this article is to
describe the evaluation of the forum activities, includ-
ing participants' attitudes and perceptions about the
proposed curricular models as well as any long-term
impacts and next steps.
2. Engineering and Engineering Technology Forum
A forum funded by a Department of Education FIPSE
(Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Educa-
tion) grant was convened at the University of Houston's
main campus from April 29 through May 1, 2010, to
discuss engineering and engineering technology (E and
ET) education. Initially, an "Invitation to Participate"
email was sent to deans, chairs/heads, and professors
involved with engineering and/or engineering technol-
ogy education with a goal of attracting 50 participants.
The invitation also encouraged nominations of other
colleagues who would be interested in engaging in E
and ET education conversations. Gradually, a pool of
45 participants was assembled, representing 35 institu-
tions from 23 states. Roughly 37% of participants iden-
tified themselves as professors while 35% indicated an
administrative focus. A handful suggested they current-
ly held multiple positions (e.g., professor and chair).
Prior to the forum, the participants were provided
with position papers describing the rationale for the
curriculum models as well as supporting materials.
These materials were made available to participants
primarily via a website developed specifically for the
During the event, participants engaged in small
group discussions around particular issues that were
then shared with the larger audience. In addition, in-
dustry representatives and specific faculty held periodic
panel sessions where they would focus on a particular
issue and then open the floor for questions and feed-
Central to forum discussions were two curriculum
models proposed as alternatives to "traditional" engi-
neering and engineering technology education degree
plans. These are described below as option 1 and op-
tion 2. These descriptions reflect how the options were
presented to the forum participants.
2.1 Option 1: Two-Year Pre-Degree Requirement
When properly designed and executed, the first two
years of accredited, four-year BS degrees in ET disci-
plines can serve as the pre-degree requirement for en-
gineering-bound students. If executed, it is envisioned
that a new first professional engineering degree can be
1. All engineering-profession-bound students
would first complete two years of E and ET
requirements in an appropriate discipline.
2. With proper advising and mentoring, those
students interested and skilled to follow the
more abstract (conceive-design) side of engi-
neering would transfer to a college or school
of engineering and complete an E degree
in two to four additional years. Four years
would satisfy then the Department of Educa-
tion definition of a first professional degree.
3. On the other hand, those students interested
and skilled to follow the more applied (im-
plement-operate) side of engineering would
opt to complete a BS-ET degree in two addi-
Several benefits can be listed:
1. Total enrollment in E and in ET would in-
crease as a result of proper advising and men-
toring in the early stages of the student's
university experience, affecting retention.
2. Retention rates at the upper-division level of
both E and ET would also increase.
3. Duplication of efforts and resource expenses
Journal of Engineering Technology * Fall 2011 55
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Ramos, Miguel; Chapman, Lauren; Cannady, Mac & Barbieri, Enrique. Evaluation Results of an E and ET Education Forum, article, 2011; [Washington, DC]. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc122182/m1/2/: accessed February 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT College of Engineering.