by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Indrek Wichman writes for the Martin Center about a disturbing trend in engineering education.
We engineers like to solve technical problems. That’s the way we think, that’s why we chose our major, that’s why we got into and stayed in engineering.
There are several other reasons why we got into engineering. One of them was the absence of what I describe here as “social engineering,” where the professor/instructor is interested not so much in solving technical problems as in setting the world right—in his or her opinion. …
… Alas, the world we engineers envisioned as young students is not quite as simple and straightforward as we had wished because a phalanx of social justice warriors, ideologues, egalitarians, and opportunistic careerists has ensconced itself in America’s college and universities. The destruction they have caused in the humanities and social sciences has now reached to engineering.
One of the features of their growing power is the phenomenon of “engineering education” programs and schools. They have sought out the soft underbelly of engineering, where phrases such as “diversity” and “different perspectives” and “racial gaps” and “unfairness” and “unequal outcomes” make up the daily vocabulary. Instead of calculating engine horsepower or microchip power/size ratios or aerodynamic lift and drag, the engineering educationists focus on group representation, hurt feelings, and “microaggressions” in the profession.
An excellent example is the establishment at Purdue University (once informally called the “MIT of the Midwest”) of a whole School of Engineering Education. What is this school’s purpose? Its website tells us that it “envisions a more socially connected and scholarly engineering education. This implies that we radically rethink the boundaries of engineering and the purpose of engineering education.”