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Innovation is the Key

This month's cover story in Prism continues our examination of globalization and its effects on engineering education. As hundreds of thousands of engineering jobs at U.S.-based companies move offshore, traditional geographical boundaries in the workplace are disappearing. Information-based work products can now be transported around the globe. Thus, rather than qualified people seeking work wherever work is, work is seeking qualified people wherever they are, at the lowest possible cost. The benefits of globalization, such as cheaper goods and services and a higher standard of living for many, make it likely that this movement is an inevitable trend. Outsourcing low-end jobs within science and engineering is one component of that trend. Globalization requires American science and engineering communities to continue their leadership in innovation and productivity. One of the challenges facing engineering educators is refining the engineering curricula to reflect the increasing competitive challenge to U.S.-trained engineers.

In our article "Wizardry at Work," inventor and industrialist Joel Spira says he founded the Ruth and Joel Spira Excellence in Teaching Award to encourage individuals who have the magical gift of teaching. Spira awards have gone to over 100 teachers from a number of universities. Winners are teachers who inspire students, transmit enthusiasm, and have a love of teaching.

African-American males make up just 2.6 percent of full-time engineering faculty nationwide. In "Paving the Way," Prism reports on a group formed to encourage more African Americans to stay the course in pursuing advanced engineering degrees. The Brothers of the Academy seeks to create a more formal community of African Americans in engineering education to provide the needed support, as well as to nurture young black academics.

The profile of Maria Klawe paints an interesting portrait of a Renaissance woman who is not only dean of engineering and applied science at Princeton University but also a marathon runner, kayaker, hiker, guitar player, and a talented watercolor artist. Klawe wants Princeton to be a world leader in half-a-dozen engineering areas and believes that engineering education should be approached from an interdisciplinary perspective.

Prism tries to provide a varied mix of articles for your interest. As always, I welcome hearing if you think we have succeeded. If you have comments or thoughts, why not send me an e-mail.

Frank L. Huband
Executive Director and Publisher


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