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Frank Huband


Ethical standards of behavior were the subject of headline news, as was failure to pay taxes due, when several presidential nominees to key positions faced the media’s glare during the Senate confirmation process. Thus, this month’s Prism cover story, “The Pull of Integrity,” brings a timely focus to the problems of student cheating, plagiarism, and academic dishonesty. Unfortunately, research has shown that engineering students are among the most frequent cheaters (82 percent), second only to business majors (91 percent). Indeed, consider the latter in light of the recent banking/Wall Street meltdown. Educators note that cheating, if not addressed, becomes a lifelong habit — undergrads go on to become grad school cheaters and then cheaters on the job. If an engineer cuts a corner or two, there can be enormous consequences. A bridge can fail, a levee give way, a nuclear reactor melt down. Our story examines what educators and engineering schools are doing to discover and prevent the many kinds of cheating — including plagiarism, which has boomed with Internet facility.

Yes, WEPAN” looks at the Women in Engineering ProActive Network, a national not-for-profit organization that seeks to support women in engineering fields. To do so, WEPAN reaches out to the program directors and educators involved with women-in-engineering programs, offering an annual conference, helpful publications, and a website of resources. While WEPAN has focused on women, the changes it advocates can benefit all students, attracting the best talent to engineering.

Hands and Minds” describes A World in Motion, one of the country’s first hands-on engineering curricula for K-12 students, led by SAE International. Unlike many similar activities that have cropped up since, AWIM is grounded in national and state learning standards and combines classroom invention with theory. With its industry volunteers — General Motors fielded more than 1,000 engineers and other volunteers at 161 Michigan schools last year alone — AWIM also connects classroom learning to real-world science. However, given current economic times and the struggles of the Big Three automakers, AWIM could face financial support problems.

As always, we are pleased to offer a varied choice of articles for your edification and reading pleasure. I welcome your thoughts, suggestions, or comments.


Frank L. Huband
Executive Director and Publisher




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