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IEEE promotes holistic engineering education

Posted: 02 Dec 2010     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:engineering education  curriculum  university 

IEEE members are promoting a cultural change to drive a more holistic view into engineering education; focused beyond technical skills to incorporate experience and relevance into university courses.

"The new economy is based on invention," said Leah Jamieson, IEEE fellow and John A. Edwardson, Dean of Engineering at Purdue University. "From smart meters for energy to smart phones for business and entertainment, technology is the enabler, and engineering is the foundation for the innovation economy."

Supporting experience-led education curriculum—from working on projects that bring electricity to remote villages to addressing challenges of sustainability, security, and infrastructure—educators can show engineering's powerful role in delivering societal solutions—making engineers representative of tomorrow's solutionist, says IEEE.

Responding to a question about the biggest misconceptions about engineering, IEEE senior member and chair of the IEEE Power and Energy Society Chapter (2010), in the IEEE Kolkata Section, Sivaji Chakravorti said, "Most of the engineering students believe that the larger part of their curriculum is not required in their professional life. But that is not true. Engineering education must cover a wider range of subjects so that students will be able cope with the demands of professional life irrespective of where they are working."

With respect to improving Indian engineering education, Chakravorti advises removal of regional imbalances in technical education; incorporation of technical institutes as also research institutes; encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship initiatives; promoting industry-institute partnerships; emphasizing distance education programmes; and importance to issues such as quality, excellence, professional ethics, human values, environmental and ecological responsibility and resource conservation in technical education.

Chakravorti says that IEEE is addressing the issue of improving the quality and global relevance of engineering education by assisting with model for innovation and entrepreneurship adapted to the societal needs of Indian and the global economy, and each year, IEEE experts visit India to discuss global best practices in teaching and research in their respective fields with Indian faculty leaders from IITs, National Institutes of Technologies (NITs), Universities and other public and private colleges.

IEEE's mission of expanding the scope of technical and engineering education in the new economy is supported by its University Partnership Programme, the IEEE Real World Engineering Project (RWEP) and the IEEE Engineering Projects in Community Service programme among others.

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