Evaluation Results of an E and ET Education Forum Page: 58
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A maximum of 15 people responded to any given
item in the survey. As such, the response rate-based on
forum participation of 43 people-was approximately
35%. The response rate should be noted when inter-
preting results, since respondents may be qualitatively
different than non-responders.
In terms of the two-year common curriculum, only 3
out of 15 respondents indicated that they had taken or
planned to take any action. Based on responses to a fol-
low-up question, these actions largely centered on gen-
eral discussions with colleagues about issues related to
the model. Responses to an item regarding actions tak-
en relative to the "pre-professional" model presented
at the forum (e.g., pre-law) yielded similar results. In
this case, 3 out of 13 people indicated they had taken
or planned to take any action. As before, these actions
were in the form of discussions with colleagues.
Respondents who did not intend to take any action
articulated several reasons for their decision. These rea-
sons represent at least four thematic strands:
1. There is no national consensus on the need
for curricular change of this kind, particularly
in engineering disciplines.
2. Engineering and engineering technology
have divergent learning goals and skill expec-
tations even during first two years, making
the development of a common curriculum
problematic at best.
3. The current organizational structure of uni-
versities makes any attempt at integration of
program resources very difficult, especially
when the program may be in different or
4. There is tremendous resistance to change in
Although many respondents did not intend to en-
gage in activities directly related to the proposed mod-
els, most did indicate they have taken action relative
to different issues and ideas raised during the forum.
Several of these actions have been informal discussions
with colleagues; however, some have explored specific
issues such as the career path options of engineering
versus engineering technology students and the con-
cept of engineering technology as part of the engi-
neering profession. As pointed out by the evaluators,
although these actions do not directly address the pro-
posed models, they do help facilitate discussion about
the nature of engineering and engineering technology
education and how these fit into the broader engineer-
The evaluation of the forum's impact revealed mixed
results. The primary intent of the forum, as described
by the organizers, was to examine the issues raised by
the proposed models and assess whether the models
highlighted a legitimate need. Survey responses col-
lected immediately after the forum suggested the ma-
jority of participants supported at least the premise
behind the proposed curricular models. However, sev-
eral participants correctly pointed out that there was
no consensus. In any case, a majority of respondents
also indicated that actual implementation of these or
similar models in their respective institutions would be
unlikely, although several hinted they would discuss
the ideas with colleagues.
Follow-up evaluation results in fall 2010 confirmed
the findings from the spring. With a few exceptions,
most respondents expressed their intent to forgo any
future action with regard to the proposed curriculum
models. For some, the reasons reflected a belief that
there was not a convincing case for the type of change
embodied by these models. For example, regarding the
two-year co-curriculum model, one person cautioned
that the model did "not align with our strategic plan or
vision or needs or requests from employers." Others
feared the implications of engineering technology be-
ing aligned too closely with engineering: "I discussed
the concept with our faculty. While we believe there
are positive aspects to this approach, we believe that
our institution would ultimately follow the same path
as [another university] and eliminate our programs in
a tough budget year should we align too closely with
A variety of reasons were also presented for not sup-
porting the pre-professional model. For some, the cur-
rent curriculum model satisfies current industry needs:
"It is not clear to me that the majority of en-
gineering job functions require the three or
four years of additional education, such as an
advanced degree. Although imposing such a re-
quirement could in the short run increase the
wages of the smaller number of US engineers
who would meet that credential, if all engineers
were somehow required to have the higher de-
gree, in the long run this could result in a great-
er degree of exporting the engineering work to
foreign countries that do not have that require-
At least one person pointed out that adoption of a
pre-engineering model could negatively impact recruit-
ment efforts: "That [model] would put us in a competi-
tive disadvantage to recruit students, if we only granted
a four-year pre-engineering degree, versus granting the
current four-year BS engineering degree."
Over two days during the forum, participants also
engaged in free-ranging round table discussions that
covered a variety of topics, including resource utiliza-
tion, minority education, support courses, and soft
skills (e.g., communication).
58 1 Journal of Engineering Technology * Fall 2011
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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/m1/5/: accessed July 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT College of Engineering.