Challenging time for engineering

By Da Rocha Brito, C.; Ciampi, M.M.; Vasconcelos, R.M.C.F.; Amaral, L.A.M.&se

ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings



Engineering plays an important role in this “brave new world” and it is in fact crucial for the development of science and technology. More importantly, it is responsible for the delivery of such technologies on the service of the betterment of humanity. Engineering must be aware of not only environmental but also social impacts of the outcomes of projects. Looking closer to the training of engineers, there is still a prevalence of good technical training without considering a broader knowledge achievement. This broader achievement is not a recent idea; the French School of Engineering implemented under Napoleon governance formed the “Mr. Engineer” that prepared leaders with high profile of technical knowledge. Even after the globalization phenomenon, with all the discussions about introducing humanistic courses in engineering programs, the results are humble. There is still a difficulty for engineers to address technology to solve social issues rather than to apply technology regardless social needs. The other point is that, currently, the design of a project for the “informed society” has to take the social as well as the environmental impacts into account. So the question is: how should the engineering school prepare the future engineer to perform in the new challenging social environment? If it is possible to suggest some actions, the key is to prepare the future engineers to learn how to work close to communities and governments, addressing the outcomes of the projects to solve sociotechnological problems.


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