Ted Kaufman - United States Senator for Delaware

Let's Do Our Part

Summer 2010

Source: ASEE Prism

May 1, 2010



NEW FACULTY MEMBERS, and even some longtime members of ASEE, see the Society as an organization that focuses mostly on pedagogy and teaching methodologies. This impression makes ASEE appear to be useful only to those who want to concentrate on teaching. While ASEE certainly strives to nurture better educators, it offers many more opportunities to help members advance professionally and improve the fields of engineering and engineering technology. One avenue is our active involvement in public policies affecting federally funded research and education at all levels in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, or STEM.

Two ASEE bodies, the Engineering Research Council and Engineering Deans Council, provide forums for discussion and advocacy on public policy questions. This year, their conferences have brought members up to date on events in Washington with briefings from high-level policymakers, including Ted Kaufman of Delaware, the only engineer in the Senate; federal program directors in charge of funding programs; and experts who keep close track of the congressional budget process.

The ERC is composed of representatives from engineering colleges, industrial partners, and government members. Among its objectives are to provide a platform for discussing problems and sharing information pertaining to the research activities of ASEE members; to represent the interests of researchers and research administrators both externally and within ASEE; and to improve the effectiveness of research operations at ERC member institutions.

The Public Policy Committee of the Engineering Deans Council holds an annual colloquium in Washington, D.C. This meeting has a dual role: to strengthen the dialogue between deans of engineering and key public policymakers on engineering education and research issues, and to enable the deans to refine their public policy agenda. The committee represents deans and engineering educators generally in taking public positions on policies and legislation. ASEE's weekly E-mailed newsletter, Capi loi Shorts, reports on the latest policy developments and provides links to legislation, documents from various agencies, and publications.

As you can see, ASEE is active on many fronts promoting engineering education and the engineering profession. But these efforts face stiff competition in the months ahead amid pressure to reduce the federal deficit. 1 encourage each of you to do your share by getting involved in public policy and recruitment activities. With all the support and interest on the part of the current administration and many members of Congress in engineering and technology education, we must do our part to push the agenda forward.

J.P. Mohsen, president of ASEE, is professor and chair of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Louisville.

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