month's cover story, "Application
Shock," looks at the fallout resulting from
the restrictive visa policies put in place after the
2001 terrorist attacks. For the past few years, it hasn't
been easy for foreign students to get visas to study
in the United States. And although the State Department
assures us that the visa situation has improved, the
word on the street is that it remains tough. Perception
is powerful, and there's been a dramatic decline
in the numbers of foreign students applying to American
universities. Engineering graduate programs have been
the hardest hit, experiencing a 36 percent drop in the
number of non-U.S. student applicants. At the same time,
American institutions are facing serious competition
for students from schools in Australia, Canada, and
the UK. Even China is working hard to keep students
at home. The country's Tsinghua University has
remade itself into a first-rate university by overhauling
the curriculum and hiring top faculty from around the
world. Between 2003 and 2004, the number of non-U.S.
graduate applicants to U.S. schools declined by 28 percent,
and the number of applicants from China plunged 45 percent.
Declining numbers of foreign students will have long-term
economic implications for the United States.
The article, "Engineering's
New Look," examines the engineering department
at the University of Texas-San Antonio (UTSA) and its
success recruiting Hispanics. In 2002-2003, UTSA achieved
an impressive record: Half of the 160 engineering bachelor's
degrees it awarded went to minority students, including
58 to Hispanics. UTSA has engaged in early outreach
to middle and high schools, workshops, and reliance
on the principle of like attracting like in an effort
to recruit minority students. The department's
goal is to have the same proportion of Hispanics enrolled
in their program as live in the surrounding community.
Penn State's college of engineering has augmented
its curriculum with a dramatically restructured track.
The new service-process engineering program takes engineering's
approach to problem solving and applies it to the service
industry. If engineering's template can be applied
to the service industry, the potential benefits are
enormous. Critics question whether it can be done. Read
"The Big Squeeze"
and see what you think.
Prism magazine tries to provide our readers
with an interesting mix of articles. I would be interested
in your comments.
Frank L Huband
Executive Director and Publisher