This month’s cover story
looks at the tough world inhabited by pre-tenure faculty members.
In the good old days, newly hired engineering professors could take
a couple of years to figure out where they were headed before being
expected to raise research money. Times have changed though, and
today’s young academics are expected to hit the deck running
in pursuit of major grant money or risk not getting tenure. On top
of competing for the ever more competitive government research dollars,
many professors feel the expectation to be superstars in the classroom
while also pitching in to help efforts to attract high school students,
minorities and women. Those we contacted for the story spoke of
the heavy demands placed on today’s young academics, but still
agreed that “it’s a great job.”
Apparently David Wormley, dean of engineering at Penn State and
president of ASEE, would concur. Wormley thought he’d be a
mechanical engineer like his father and end up in industry. Instead,
he developed a love of teaching while gaining his Ph.D. at MIT,
and in 1992, he joined Penn State as dean of engineering. In “A
Man of Vision,” Wormley discusses his work at Penn State,
characterizing it as multifaceted, challenging and rewarding. He
observes that international experience is becoming more important
all the time and predicts “…in the future our engineers
will not only be competing with graduates from China and India and
Europe but cooperating with them as well.” As ASEE president,
Wormley wants to expand ASEE’s activities to communicate and
collaborate with colleagues worldwide.
In November, the United States had its midterm elections, and
55 million people cast ballots in those elections using some form
of computerized machine. Some anxious computer experts held a collective
breath and hoped for the best. In “Counting
on Them,” we get good news and bad news. There were no
major meltdowns—despite a variety of glitches nationwide.
That’s the good news. The bad is that some computer scientists
and critics of computer voting say that voting machines remain fraught
with risk. Nevertheless, it appears that computerized voting is
here to stay, and computer engineers have ideas on how to make the
systems and results more secure.
As always, I would welcome your thoughts on our stories and any suggestions you may care to share.
Frank L. Huband
Executive Director and Publisher