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Pate, Brad (ed.) / Wisconsin engineer
Volume 110, Number 3 (April 2006)

Holton, Nate
Task force for change,   pp. 18-19 PDF (1.0 MB)


Page 18

By Nate Holton
agine walking into an engineering
class, calculator in hand, ready to solve
roblems with free body diagrams and
theoretical equations. Just as you are about
to write down all the numbers written on
the chalkboard, you notice something
strange.
The person at the front of the class isn't an
engineering professor but, rather, a profes-
sor of sociology.
Such a scenario could exist in the future of
engineering education. The College of
Engineering 2010 Task Force is studying
what needs to be done to fully prepare
engineering students at UW-Madison for
the changing landscape of the world. Since
last September, a group made up of engi-
neering professors and deans have been
thinking long and hard about how to
ensure the successful future of the college
and all of the students enrolled in it.
Members of the College of Engineering 2010 Task Force from left: Executive
Associate Dean Pat Farrell, Dean Paul Peercy, Professor Jay Martin, Assistant Dean
Sarah Pfatteicher, and Professor Amy Wendt.
Though the future certainly will not
involve social science experts teaching
technical material, it seems likely that there
will be many interdepartmental courses
that stretch the boundaries of the classic
engineering curriculum.
"One of the big advantages of UW-
Madison over almost any other place is
that we have virtually every other disci-
pline here," Jay Martin, professor of
mechanical engineering and COE 2010 task
force member, says. "That means that our
students should have the chance to get
exposed to all of these other activities."
In the eyes of the task force members, it is
becoming increasingly important to pro-
vide engineering students with a versatile
and broad education that would give them
an edge over their competition. As was
emphasized in President Bush's last State
of the Union address, American engineers
are facing increasingly stiff competition
from their counterparts in China and India.
To stay ahead of the game, engineering stu-
dents must take advantage of the knowl-
i edge the rest of the university has to offer.
0
C "Students that leave here and people who
work here have to have a sufficiently broad
perspective so that they're really able to
contribute and participate in the major
decisions on the issues that are facing us,"
Martin says.
18   APRIL 2006
wiscoilsi   "  - r


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