Johns Hopkins Gazette: December 5, 1994

Hopkins is Prepared for New Approaches to Educating Engineers
By Ken Keatley

     Engineering educators must ensure that they offer programs
that are relevant, attractive and progressive in the face of
rapid technological, economic and societal changes.
     That in a nutshell is the overriding theme of "Engineering
Education for a Changing World," a 29-page report issued recently
by the Engineering Deans Council and Corporate Roundtable of the
American Society for Engineering Education. Guiding the project
was the ASEE's National Advisory Council, co-chaired by Hopkins
trustee Norman R. Augustine, chairman and CEO of Martin Marietta
     Don P. Giddens, dean of the Whiting School of Engineering at
Hopkins, participated in the project as a member of the Deans
     "The deans recognize that the world has changed and will
continue to do so, and we want to be not only responsive but also
to help shape these changes," Dean Giddens said. 
     According to the report, the end of the Cold War has led to
a rapid redirection of federal, industrial and public priorities
and resources toward civil concerns. To be successful in this
dynamic environment, engineering graduates need more than
first-rate technical skills. They must work in teams, communicate
well and view their work from a systems approach within the
context of political, international and economic considerations.
     Because of the university's reputation and emphasis on
research and graduate education, and his own personal expertise
in those areas, Dean Giddens was asked to serve on the Changing
Focus of Research and Graduate Education task group. It and four
other task groups met during a two-day workshop in Washington,
D.C. in February; it was there that the report was debated and
    Among the high-lights of the report, in Dean Giddens' view,
are a number of specific guidelines and suggestions. They
include: that each engineering college should define its
particular mission; that lifelong learning programs be
underscored; and that real-life experiences and closer ties to
industry be stressed.
     "The emphasis on multidisciplinary education and on
developing communication and leadership skills is important,"
Dean Giddens said. "Engineering has a responsibility to help
educate students in other fields, given the pervasiveness of
technology in modern society."
     Dean Giddens is proud that the Whiting School has long
recognized the importance of several key areas addressed in the
report. For instance, the school stresses education for
technological leadership, has a strong multidisciplinary slant to
education and research, places emphasis on international
experiences and, with its part-time master's programs, has been
offering practice-oriented education for years.  
     "The Whiting School is in the forefront of having already
incorporated many of the report's recommendations," Dean Giddens
     He said that key areas that the school hopes to improve on
are further integrating excellence in teaching into its faculty
reward structure and becoming more active in industrially
sponsored research and technology transfer. 
     Nonetheless, Dean Giddens stressed that "each engineering
program cannot be all things to all people. We at the Whiting
School have recognized that our strong point is quality, not

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