Monday, October 12, 2009

How did engineering majors rise in collage?

Noble mentioned in Chapter 2 that the rise of electrical engineering and chemical engineering, or the “newer branches of engineering”, is accompanied with the rise of “science-based industry” around 1880s. So to some extent, the rise of the two majors in engineering is related to the need of industry at that time. I would like to assume that this rule also can be applied to other traditional engineering majors, such as materials engineering and industrial engineering.

In Layton’s paper, he summarized that engineering societies in America is the compromise of business and professionalism. The rise of American Society of Civil Engineering (ASCE), American Institute of Mining Engineers (AIME), and American Institute of Electrical Engineers (AIEE) is related to the representation of the business men and professionals. Also, the relationship between engineering societies and engineering departments in collage is very close. The professors and even students in an engineering department are usually members of a counterpart engineering society. So the rising of the engineering societies could also have an impact on the rising of engineering majors in collage, if the rising of engineering societies is earlier than that of engineering majors.

There should be more factors that impacted the rising of engineering majors. But the question worth discussing here is whether the “boundaries” among engineering major benefit the development of engineering students, and since which year in collage we should define the students as electrical engineers or chemical engineers.
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