Engineering Profession as a Social Practice: Impact on Professional Engineering Education

By Josef Rojter.

Published by The Technology Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The relatively poor social standing of the engineering profession in Australia and its general inability to attract both a higher proportion of women as well as a high caliber of more intellectually able young people, has been of concern to both the profession and engineering educators. This paper argues that this is due to the unclear perceptions of the engineering profession as being “hard hat” and highly technical in nature; a perception at odds with the realities of the world of engineering practice, which is one of social practice. These realities are not reflected by engineering curricula at Australian universities where there is an excessive perpetuation of emphasis on highly technical matters, which exclude skills and the knowledge of human affairs essential in engineering practice. The many recommendations for increased educational allocation to subjects dealing with social sciences and humanities , had little effect on engineering curricula in Australia. This is attributed to the over-scientific academic culture operating within engineering schools and faculties in Australia.

Keywords: Technology, Science and Education

The International Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Society, Volume 2, Issue 7, pp.135-140. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.058MB).

Dr. Josef Rojter

Lecturer, School of Architectural, Civil and Mechanical Engineering, Victoria University, Australia

My technical educational background consists of undergradute degree in chemical engineering nad masters degrees in chemistry and materials engineering.My professional technical interests have been in environmental and manufacturing engineering, in the latter case particularly in the field of polymer recycling and material substitution.Over the last few years my research activities have been concentrated on the interaction of professional engineering practice and social, political, ethical and environmental issues.In such research I consider engineering profession as one of social practice and through discourse analysis I examine knowledge deficit between professional engineering practice and professional engineering education.

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