September for academics often seems to presage a fresh start—new
beginnings. It seems appropriate, therefore, to mention several
new items that begin with this issue of Prism.
“Briefings” will henceforth
open with a two-page spread highlighting engineering marvels, from
the tourist viewing centers in the Grand Canyon to novel ways to
catch the sun’s rays for energy. ASEE members will get some
of the best of the Journal
of Engineering Education in the “Teaching
Toolbox” section, with the new JEE
Selects. Seven times a year, selected research papers from the
Journal will be adapted for your reading pleasure. Prism will also
put additional focus on global issues—articles will often
have an international aspect; books selected for review will often
have a global outlook.
This month’s cover story, “Unfocused
Funding,” examines the state of security-related academic
research, and confirms that federal agencies, including the National
Science Foundation, have given higher priority to academic research
that could bolster homeland security. However, the expected “wave
of funding” has not quite materialized, and some graduate
schools have been challenged by the post 9/11 clampdown on foreign
“A Network of a Different Stripe”
looks at the challenge and rewards of taking research out of the
laboratory and into a demanding field environment—in this
case, Kenya. A team of Princeton University professors and Ph.D.
students worked, with varying results, to develop a wireless network
where computers were carried in collars of wild zebras.
Patrick Harker is profiled in “Team
Player.” A college football player turned engineer, Harker
had a fascinating and unusual career but eventually became dean
of Penn’s Wharton Business School. With the global economy
a key interest, he expanded Wharton’s reach by opening INSEAD,
an international institution with campuses in Europe and Asia. Last
year, Harker was named President of the University of Delaware,
and it appears a fine fit. Delaware was the first university in
the nation to develop a program for studying abroad.
Al Sanoff wrote the Harker profile, and it will be his final contribution
to Prism. At 65, Al died of pancreatic cancer in May. Over the past
nine years Al wrote numerous profiles and trend pieces, and he wrote
with style and insight. Readers who enjoyed his articles and staff
who appreciated his grace and good humor will miss him.
Frank L. Huband
Executive Director and Publisher