We often hear that America is not doing enough to inspire and prepare
the next generation of scientists and engineers. This complaint has
been around long enough for a certain amount of resignation to set in.
Bright students just have to put up with being bored in high school
and hope it gets better in college. But a growing number of specialized
schools have emerged, schools that put a real focus on creative education
in math, science, and technology. This month's cover story, "High School
Goes High Tech," takes a look at schools that focus on students gifted
in science and math. Do such schools work? What sort of graduates do
they produce? At some of these schools, students complete academic internships
and their experiences in the business world are integrated into their
course work. Students learn through group projects and are encouraged
to manage their own educations.
Although specialized schools can create an exciting environment for
students, some people have concerns. The main criticisms are they are
too exclusive and they rob the broader school system of both funding
and potential student leaders. Nevertheless, specialized schools appear
to be a growing trend.
Information security, whether in the form of protecting government
agencies against terrorism or providing private corporations with the
tools to prevent costly attacks, has become a major worry. “The Power
of One,” looks at engineering schools that are addressing this issue
by providing the needed research and programs to combat the threat of
computer crime. Although there are differences of opinion on how to
teach information security, everyone—government, private industry and
academia—believes in its importance.
Last year, Bill Hammack won ASEE's President’s Award. This award goes
to individuals or organizations that publicize engineering as a career
and promote engineering through media outlets. Hammack was honored for
his weekly commentary "Engineering & Life," which airs on Illinois Public
Radio. "The Voice of Engineering,” is about Hammack’s efforts to make
engineering accessible to the public. Using everyday objects from vacuum
cleaners to fast-drying underwear to explain how science and technology
affects society, Hammack reaches a weekly audience of about 120,000.
This month's Prism also contains ASEE's annual report. The news is
good, and members will want to peruse this report, a yearly roundup
of ASEE activities and a snapshot of fiscal year 2003.
I look forward to hearing your comments and thoughts.