PRISM - American Society for Engineering Education - Logo - NOVEMBER 2004 - VOLUME 14, NUMBER 3
Wind and Water

Frank L HubandIt seems the hurricane season is upon us, and the nightly news is filled with sobering scenes of the latest mighty storm. Frances powered a swath of destruction through Florida, and Ivan cut the party short in New Orleans. To most of us watching it on TV, hurricane and tornado devastation is unreal and frightening. After the news, you hit the off button on your remote, and think "Whew, glad I don't live there." Still, we like to watch and read about storms, which is why I think you'll enjoy reading this month's Prism article, "Storm Riders." Kurt Gurley, a civil engineering professor at the University of Florida, and his students, are carrying out an innovative research project on hurricanes and the damage they do. This means chasing the storms, setting up measuring instruments in their paths, and establishing "ground truth." The plan is to come up with how to better protect property and lives through revised building codes and construction practices in hurricane prone areas.

If Gurley is the wind guy, Marc Edwards is "The Water Guy," and this article looks at one engineer's 10-year struggle to get the word out about the dangers and damage of lead-laden water. Edwards is a civil engineer and a leading expert in water corrosion in home plumbing. In the mid '90s he started getting calls from homeowners in the nation's capital having problems with pinhole leaks in their home plumbing systems. He figured out that the water had dangerously high levels of lead, and it was the lead that was eating up the copper pipes. Neither the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) nor the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (WASA) wanted to hear about it. Edwards persevered, but not without a toll on both his finances and health.

This month's cover story looks at the use of nontenure-track faculty in engineering schools. Such faculty represent a small fraction of the teaching hours in most engineering colleges today. This article examines why this remains the case despite cuts in state budgets and tightened school budgets. A recent policy statement issued by the AAUP noted that nontenure-track faculty are often hired in hurried circumstances, as opposed to the rigorous national searches for tenure-track faculty. AAUP also said contract faculty are often not properly reviewed and given chances to advance. The deans interviewed for this story agree that those lapses may happen elsewhere, but not at their schools. Read this article and see what you think.

As usual, we have tried to provide an interesting mix of stories that will resonate in your lives as engineering educators. If you have thoughts or comments, I would welcome hearing from you.

Frank L Huband
Executive Director and Publisher



Above the Fray - By Thomas K. Grose
The Water Guy - By Pierre Home-Douglas
Storm Riders - By Stephen Budiansky
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Refractions: Answering Mail - By Henry Petroski
Bioboom: Bioengineering has become one of the fastest-growing majors. - By Margaret Loftus
On Campus: Learning is Legion - By Robert Gardner
Teaching: Necessary Evil - By Phillip Wankat and Frank Oreovicz
Faculty's Finest: Charley Johnson - By Thomas K. Grose
ASEE TODAY: The Making of a President - By Bethany Halford
LAST WORD: Too Late for Remediation - By Irving Kott


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