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Expanding Technological Literacy through Engineering Minors
Most Americans lack even a rudimentary understanding of the principles underlying the technology essential for daily life. Engineering concepts are pervasive in decision making within industry, government, education, and health care, yet most decisions in these sectors are made by people with little or no engineering education. This talk will describe work sponsored by the National Science Foundation that aims to develop minors or certificates to be offered by engineering departments as an approach to developing technological competence in non-engineers. Minors or certificates provide a recognized credential deemed attractive by many students. A collaboration between Iowa State University, Ohio State University, Hope College, and Rice University is developing concepts and resources to support model engineering minors or certificates which can be adopted efficiently and widely within American higher education. This work is developing a set of Technological Literacy Outcomes for such a minor. These outcomes are similar in concept to the ABET a-k outcomes that are used for engineering degrees, but are broader in scope and focus on developing broadly technologically literate and empowered citizens. A standard set of outcomes rather than a prescribed series of courses, will allow flexibility for each institution to develop minors or certificates that are best suited to its local conditions. The talk will include examples of courses offered by engineering departments for non-engineering students and descriptions of engineering minor programs from a range of institutions. Some preliminary results from surveys of non-engineering students regarding factors influencing potential interest in engineering minors or certificates will also be presented.
John Krupczak is currently a Professor of Engineering at Hope College in Holland, Michigan. From 2008 to 2010 he served as a Senior Fellow of The Center for the Advancement of Scholarship on Engineering Education (CASEE) of the National Academy of Engineering. He has served as chair of the Liberal Education Division of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) and as the founding chair of the ASEE Technological Literacy Division. Professor Krupczak has taught at Meiji Gakuin University in Tokyo, Japan as a visiting professor and has worked as a mechanical engineer for the US Department of Energy at the Superconducting Super Collider Laboratory. Dr. Krupczak received a BS degree in physics from Williams College and a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.