Robert Browning wrote, “Oh to be in England, now that April’s here.” But being in England today is an expensive proposition, what with the falling U.S. dollar now worth only half a pound. That’s a 20% loss of buying power from five years ago. Thus, visiting Britain, or pretty much anywhere in Western Europe, can be a blow to the budget. As another example, since 2002, the year of ASEE’s Global Conference in Berlin, the value of the euro in dollars has climbed 59 cents. This affects not only tourists, or faculty contemplating a research trip, but students and schools, as well. Prism’s article, “Not Now, Voyager,” looks at how students and institutions with student study-abroad programs are coping with soaring costs. Students can opt for shorter stays abroad but may also consider lower-cost destinations. This could, in part, explain the interest and willingness to sojourn to more foreign-seeming hotspots like India and China. Study abroad, nevertheless, continues as an important trend, and on the upside, the dollar’s slide could make the U.S. more attractive to foreign students.
Our cover story revisits the tragedy that shocked us all at Virginia Tech a year ago this April 16, when 32 people were shot and killed by a mentally ill student. Prism’s article “Grief, Grit and Grace” reviews the events of that day but also carries the inspiring message of how students, school, and community have prevailed. A year later, at Virginia Tech, enrollment and research funding are strong. And there appear to be a strengthened sense of community purpose and a commitment to move on but not forget.
Boeing has gotten bad press lately with stories about the delayed delivery of its 787 “Dreamliner.” However, Prism has a back-story about the development of the Dreamliner that has resulted in a good educational benefit. Dreamliner was developed with software from Dassault Systèmes, Boeing’s French collaborator, and its design incorporated product lifecycle management (PLM) concepts that included full life maintenance with 3D software. The process caused both Boeing and Dassault to realize they should join together in a new initiative called K2E, which seeks to introduce the concepts of PLM engineering and 3D software to students of all ages.
As always, we have brought you a selection of current and varied stories for your interest. If you have comments or suggestions, I would welcome hearing from you.
Frank L. Huband
Executive Director and Publisher