Signing of 'Transformation Proclamation' Creates Alliance to Reform Engineering Education

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Students, educators, and friends of engineering education from across the country and around the world signed a 'transformation proclamation' today pledging their commitment to broad-based reform of engineering education. The proclamation calls for the formation of a grassroots Alliance for Promoting Innovation in Engineering Education (APIE2). Supporters of the concept may read and sign the transformation proclamation on line.

Alliance for Promoting Innovation in Engineering Education

Representatives of U.S. and international engineering schools today signed a "transformation proclamation" pledging their commitment to a broad-based effort to reform engineering education. The proclamation calls for the formation of a grassroots "Alliance for Promoting Innovation in Engineering Education" (APIE2) to share best educational practices and push for the organizational changes necessary to fundamentally transform the way engineering is taught.

The signing of the proclamation took place at the Summit on the Engineer of the Future 2.0 held at Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering March 31 - April 1 and co-sponsored by Olin and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). The summit drew 300 students, educators and interested observers from engineering institutions around the country to discuss the future of engineering education.

"The early twenty-first century is a fast-paced time in which commerce is increasingly global and interconnected, science and technology advance with dizzying speed, work is preformed in complex organizational settings requiring the integration of different disciplines, and societal impact and sustainability are critically important," said Sherra Kerns, summit organizer and professor of electrical and computer engineering at Olin. "These challenges demand a critical reexamination of how, and to whom, engineering is taught."

The aim of APIE2 is to bring together individuals who support the transformation of engineering education in a collaborative effort to advance reforms that many in the engineering education community feel have been too slow in coming. Organizations such as the National Science Foundation and the National Academy of Engineering have for years urged far-reaching reforms in engineering curricula to include more global perspectives, hands-on learning and business study.

"Although calls for substantial transformation have been many, investments from funding sources have been substantial and some progress has been made, widespread concern remains that the pace, extent, quality, degree and diffusion of education transformation at present is insufficient to satisfy the imperatives of our challenging era," said David E. Goldberg, engineering professor at UIUC and summit organizer.

Organizers of the APIE2 effort hope that the new initiative can bring about a more rapid dissemination of innovative practices and bring new voices into the reform discussion, including students, alumni and corporations. Signers of the document commit themselves to open sharing of best practices, content, curricula, pedagogical materials and student-learning outcomes data.

Attendees at the summit signed the document in pen and ink, but those who support the principles of the transformation proclamation can sign online. "Signing the document is a public statement of support for the transformation of engineering education and entails no cost or financial obligation," said Goldberg. "Over the coming weeks and months, APIE2 will work to promote active collaboration and sharing among various stakeholders, including students, educators, and the corporate and institutional friends of engineering education." To view and sign the transformation proclamation go to the online petition site here or to learn more about APIE2, go to http://www.apie2.org.

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DAVID E GOLDBERG

Sherra E. Kerns
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