Influencing Student Learning: An Industry Perspective

John H. McMasters
The Boeing Company, Seattle, WA 98124-2207, USA

Much has been written over the past several decades about the need for reform in engineering education and the elements of what such reform might encompass (e.g. enhanced curricula with a stronger emphasis on design, improved pedagogical methods). Most of this literature has been written from an academic rather than industry or employer perspective, with a focus on faculty and curricular issues. Relatively little has been presented from a student perspective. The issue of what factors influence students in their choice of pursuing a career in engineering or how they might be educated and retained in engineering education programs has not been adequately addressed. The purpose of this paper is to discuss some of the steps we within the broader technical community (in industry, government and academe) can and should take to assure an adequate future supply of well prepared engineering graduates for the full range of employers who have need for such talent. Although much has been accomplished in the past decade to enhance engineering education, we, as both educators and practitioners, have much to do to cooperatively create a strong and vivid vision of our future, and ensure the proper development of a future generation of engineers with the skills and motivation to meet society’s needs in our ever-evolving enterprise.


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