A TALE OF TWO PURPOSES – ENGINEERING EDUCATION IN THE 21ST CENTURY
US Higher education emerged during the colonial period with the purpose of educating clergyman for the church and civic leaders for the newly built society. In response to the agricultural and industrial needs after the civil war, the Morrill acts of 1862 funded land-grant universities to focus on the teaching of practical knowledge of agriculture, science, and engineering. Since then, balancing the duality of producing skilled workforce for the industry versus educating citizenry for the society has been a major challenge throughout the history of US engineering education.
Rapid technology advances in recent decades have raised new questions over the debate of liberal arts versus engineering education. In this talk, I will first try to define the purposes of engineering education in the 21st century by identifying the new skill sets that the industry will need in the future. I will then discuss some of the existing barriers that hinder us from achieving these emerging educational goals, and plausible approaches to overcome these barriers. I will end the talk with an exploration of the potential impact of learning science on emerging engineering education.
Bio: Jianmin Qu is Karol Family Professor and Dean of School of Engineering at Tufts University, where he holds an appointment in the department of Mechanical Engineering. Dr. Qu received his Ph.D. and Master’s degrees from Northwestern University in theoretical and applied mechanics. Prior to joining Tufts, Dr. Qu was a Walter P. Murphy Professor in the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science at Northwestern University, where he chaired the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering from 2009 to 2015. Before returning to his alma mater in 2009, Dr. Qu was on the faculty of the School of Mechanical Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology from 1989 to 2009.
Professor Qu’s research focuses on several areas of theoretical and applied mechanics including micromechanics of composites, interfacial fracture and adhesion, fatigue and creep damage in solder alloys, thermomechanical reliability of microelectronic packaging, defects and transport in solids with applications to solid oxide fuel cells and batteries, and ultrasonic nondestructive evaluation of advanced engineering materials. He has authored/co-authored two books, 12 book chapters and over 200 referred journal papers in these areas. His works have been cited more than 11,000 times with an h-index of 58.