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Leadership for a New Era

Frank L. Huband

According to economic studies, new technologies have been responsible for much of the increase in our standard of living since the end of World War II. Engineers, who play a central role in technology development, need to be prepared to play a leadership role in our technology-driven society and in the companies that produce those technologies. Corporate decision makers who lack an understanding of the technologies that underpin the success of their enterprises are likely to err in their strategic judgments.

In the past, a liberal arts degree often provided a base from which a student could subsequently pursue any number of career paths. For many students in recent decades, a law degree played that role. In the 21st century, engineering is positioned to provide these opportunities.

It is perhaps worthwhile for us to examine how engineering education can enhance the impact of engineers and engineering knowledge on society. Changes might include how we select our students, what and how we teach them, how well we prepare them for lifelong learning, and what we inspire them to aspire to.

This month's cover story, "Grooming New Age Edisons," showcases a few ways in which schools can provide entrepreneurial education and the success stories that can result. You should also read our profile of David Billington, a longtime civil engineering professor at Princeton who believes educators are responsible for helping graduates succeed within and beyond the engineering arena.

If we accept and respond to the challenge to educate engineers who can provide corporate and national leadership in the 21st century, we will ensure a society better able to develop technologies that will continue to enhance our lives, and one that more fully appreciates the engineers who make it all possible.

As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions.

Frank L/ Huband
 

Frank L. Huband
Executive Director and Publisher
f.huband@asee.org

 

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