In a Huffington Post opinion piece, Associate Professor Vicki May of Thayer School of Engineering says that despite ongoing efforts to attract students to engineering, the numbers across the country are not encouraging.
“Despite a growing need for engineers in the world, we struggle as a nation to attract students to engineering,” May writes. “Talented students in the U.S. are instead going into business, law, and medicine, among other professions.”
As engineering becomes more and more specialized, even undergraduates at many schools are forced to begin focusing on engineering courses at the cost of pursuing a broader mix of studies, she writes. “What happened to choice? And to the interdisciplinary nature of engineering?”
Dartmouth takes a broader approach than many, May writes. “Students have the option to specialize in their fifth year, but flexibility is built into the program, and interdisciplinary classes and projects are encouraged.”
This approach seems to be working. “The number of students graduating from Dartmouth with a degree in engineering has been steadily increasing, as have applications to the engineering school,” May writes.
May is a Dartmouth Public Voices fellow.
Read the full opinion piece, published 3/18/14 by The Huffington Post.