If a surgeon errs during an operation, the consequences-however dire-are limited to one or a few people. In contrast, an engineering failure usually causes multiple injuries and deaths, as well as destruction. Some examples: space shuttle Challenger explosion, car fires, gulf oil rig tragedy, amusement ride accidents, and plane crashes.
These, and too many other engineering catastrophes, share one feature-employers responsible for the failures were exempt from requirements to put, in charge, competent and accountable licensed engineers (professional engineers, PEs) whose paramount responsibility was public protection. These industries, manufacturers, and utilities placed importance on the bottom line instead of safety.
The problem is compounded by an inadequate 90-year old education model used by the American engineering licensing system. The education for those aspiring to be PEs should match 21st century scientific, technological, social, political, economic, and environmental conditions. This disparity puts the public at risk.
How did this predicament happen? What can we do about it? The book answers those questions by explaining that academic and practicing engineers, in collaboration with public sector leaders, need to:
- Eliminate/markedly reduce the adverse effects of U.S. engineering licensure-exemption laws
- Broaden and deepen the education and experience required for PEs to be consistent with today’s challenges and opportunities
Engineering’s Public-Protection Predicament offers numerous action ideas for interested individuals and organizations, within and outside of engineering, who want to take engineering up to the next level and, more specifically, improve public safety. The suggested actions will enable engineers, with assistance from others, to resolve American engineering’s public-protection predicament.
The book provides potential engineering students, and their parents and advisors, examples of engineering excellence and exemplars. It also:
- Describes multiple careers offered by earning an engineering degree
- Suggests ways to choose an engineering college
- Offers advice on how to adopt a growth mindset and succeed as a student
Every day across America, water supply systems supply, airplanes fly, chemical plants process, dams dam, generators generate, water treatment plants treat, carnival rides spin, wind turbines turn, refineries refine, pipelines pipe, nuclear reactors react, bridges cross, offshore oil wells pump, and satellites orbit. All of us have a stake in engineering.
Engineering’s Public-Protection Predicament will help concerned citizen stakeholders and potential engineers more fully understand engineering’s successes and challenges. This book will also enable engineering educators and practitioners, along with licensing boards, engineering societies, and others to build on achievements and resolve engineering’s public-protection predicament.
Table of Content
- Chapter 1. Ten Questions About Engineering in America
- Chapter 2. Engineering Excellence and Engineer Exemplars
- Chapter 3. Disaster: Were Some Caused by Licensure-Exemption Cultures?
- Chapter 4. Evolution of Engineering’s Institutional Framework: Part 1 – Ethics and Engineering Societies
- Chapter 5. Evolution of Engineering’s Institutional Framework: Part 2 – Education and Licensure
- Chapter 6. What is a Profession, and Is Engineering One?
- Chapter 7. Reforming U.S. Engineering: Suggestions for Organizations and Individuals
The book concludes with nine appendices, cited sources list, and an index. Appendix topics include the engineering body of knowledge (EBOK), discipline-specific licensure, control of ABET by licensure-exemption supporters, example of a state’s inconsistent licensure laws, and a potential stronger role of federal agencies in reducing risks in engineering projects.