Saturday, April 24, 2010

Enable Educators, Engage Researchers, and Empower Industry to Engineer a Brighter Future

A few weeks ago, I had a good fortune of presenting at the annual Electrical and Computer Engineering Department Heads Association, or ECEDHA, conference held in Florida. This year's theme was "Looking Forward to the Next 25 Years".

For the first time, the ECEDHA organization extended the invitation to the industry partners to share our thoughts on the future of engineering education and research. I presented on how educators can captivate, motivate and graduate better engineering students by leveraging cutting-edge equipment for hands-on learning in a lab that is shared by several engineering departments. In short, the presentation describes how Quanser enables educators, engages researchers and empowers industry to engineer a brighter future. Click on the picture below to watch the 20 minute presentation from the 2010 ECEDHA Annual Conference:

Following the presentation I handed out an editorial titled "The Future of Engineering". This editorial discusses the formula for a superior reputation, finer graduates and vast savings - advantages of multi-disciplinary control laboratories. To download the editorial, click here.

This year's ECEDHA Conference centered around ABET alignment. Dr. Hakan Gurocak, Director of School of Engineering and Computer Sciences at Washington State University and veteran ABET reviewer, recently presented a paper titled "ABET Assessment" at the 2009 ASEE Annual Conference. This paper notes that about 35% of the 59 programs evaluated at 20 institutions in 2007 had shortcomings in criterion 3. With the demand for systems and mechatronic engineers ever increasing, Department Heads are looking for ways to streamline their accreditation process. To continue this dialogue, Quanser will be hosting a guided webinar discussion amongst ECE Department Heads to address key ABET accreditation challenges and successes. To be a part of the discussion, please email, or join Quanser LinkedIn group.

Throughout the weekend, several presenters, including myself, made references to the "Grand Challenges of Engineering"; these challenges were put forward by the National Academy of Engineering. Here are some of the challenges the Academy defines as most important for this century: make solar energy economical; provide energy from fusion; develop carbon sequestration methods; manage the nitrogen cycle; provide access to clean water; restore and improve public infrastructure; advance health informatics; engineer better medicines; reverse-engineer the brain; prevent nuclear terror; secure cyberspace; enhance virtual reality; advance personalized learning; engineer the tools of scientific discovery. This website is a key resource for all engineering enthusiasts and visionaries.

Today, the world faces a series of systemic failures - financial crisis, security crisis, energy crisis, climate crisis, population crisis and health care crisis, to name a few. Building a sustainable world will start with building engineers who adopt a systems approach to engineering. We look forward to helping you captivate, motivate and graduate the multi-disciplinarian engineers of tomorrow.

- Sunny Ray -

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