On the Need for Significant Reform in University Education

This paper discusses the need for academia to be more responsive to the needs of students and society. The slow speed of change in academia is causing our educational programs to lose value. Technology has been advancing at an exponential rate for decades, yet academia changes at almost glacial speed. While the example used herein (engineering, and in particular aerospace engineering) is one familiar to the author, the ideas in this paper may well apply to all academic disciplines, including Science and Liberal Arts. The problems are due to rapid changes in technology, inflated bureaucracies at universities, the emphasis on revenue and research, and limits to human learning. There is no question that this is the Information Age, yet academia has not adjusted to this dramatic new world. Students need to understand this and be pro-active to prepare themselves for the future and choose the right courses, majors, and universities.

CONCLUSIONS Computers and software are crucial parts of aerospace systems, and the largest and most important part. Too often traditional aerospace engineers (including faculty) limit their consideration of computing and software as tools, and not part of the system. Faculty are often poorly trained in computing and software, since the technology changes so rapidly. Academic programs (in all disciplines) are very often badly out of date because they are difficult to change, but if the U.S. is to remain preeminent in engineering and science we must modernize our curricula. This paper has mainly addressed undergraduate education, but similar issues exist in graduate programs as well. Technology has been changing at an exponential rate for a thousand years, while academia has changed little in 500 years. Students need to understand this and take charge of their education. If Universities do not modernize their curricula, students must look for appropriate Minors (e.g. [22] and [23]) which will give them 21st century skills.

More: http://www.personal.psu.edu/lnl/papers/IEEE_2015.pdf


About basicrulesoflife

Year 1935. Interests: Contemporary society problems, quality of life, happiness, understanding and changing ourselves - everything based on scientific evidence.
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