National Academies Press: OpenBook

Raising Public Awareness of Engineering (2002)

Chapter:Front Matter

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academy of Engineering. 2002. Raising Public Awareness of Engineering. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10573.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academy of Engineering. 2002. Raising Public Awareness of Engineering. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10573.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academy of Engineering. 2002. Raising Public Awareness of Engineering. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10573.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academy of Engineering. 2002. Raising Public Awareness of Engineering. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10573.
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- s RAISING PUBLIC AWARENESS OF ENG~EER~G Lance A. Davis and Robin D. Gibbin, Eclitors NATIONAL ACADEMY OF ENGINEERING OF THE NATIONAl ACADEMIES The National Academies Press Washington, D.C. www.nap.eclu

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS · 500 Fifth Street, N.W. · Washington, DC 20001 NOTICE: This publication has been reviewed according to procedures approved by the National Academy of Engineering report review process. Funding for the activity that led to this publication was provided by the Elizabeth and Stephen Bechtel, Jr., Foundation. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publica- tion are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project. International Standard Book Number 0-309-08624-8 Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, DC 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, http://www.nap.edu Copyright 2002 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES Advisers to the Nation on Stience, Engineering, and Medirine ,5 The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meet- ing national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Wm. A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of _ . . engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. Wm. A. Wulf are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. www.national-academies.org

Preface In April 2001, The National Academy of Engineering (NAE), with funding from the Elizabeth and Stephen Bechtel, Jr., Foundation, initiated a new project as part of its Public Understanding of Engineering Program. The project was informed by public opinion surveys that indicated that the American public has minimal understanding of engineering and engineers and little appreciation for what they do. A survey/questionnaire was developed in conjunction with outside consultants, Market Research Bureau and McMahon Communications, to create an inventory of current outreach programs for improving public awareness of engineering and to better understand their effectiveness or lack of effectiveness. The survey was administered and the results were collected by the consultants. To review the results of the survey/questionnaire, the NAE formed the Committee on Public Awareness of Engineering (CPAE), composed of a group of distin- guished citizens interested in and/or involved in the engineering community. Based on their review, the committee made recommendations for the engineering community's future approach to public awareness activities. This report is a report from the NAE to the engineering community based on a synthesis of the consultants' report of the survey, background information developed by the NAE, and the recommendations of the CPAE. Wm. A. Wulf President National Academy of Engineering v

up Acknowledgments 4 This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures ap- proved by the National Academy of Engineering report review process. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical com- ments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their participation in the review of this report: Albert A. Dorman, AECOM; Samuel C. Florman, Kreisler Borg Florman Construction Company; Henry Kressel, E.M. Warburg, Pincus & Company, LLC; Susan Staffin Metz, Stevens Institute of Technology; Robert L. O'Rourke, California Institute of Technology; and Winfred M. Phillips, Univer- sity of Florida. Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive com- ments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recom- mendations nor did they see the final draft report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Harold Forsen, National Academy of Engineering. Appointed by the National Academy of Engineering Executive Office, he was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review com- ments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this re- port rests entirely with the institution.

s Contents Execubve Summary -duchon Importance of Engt I' ineedng, 6 Public Awareness Today Follow-on Survey, 10 Conclusion, 17 The National Academy of Engineering Survey of Public Awareness of Engineering Oulreacb Programs Receives and Helbodology, 19 The Cudgel Siluadon, 22 Inle~relalion of Findings, 38 Messages, 43 4 Recommendadons Sewing me Slake, 47 Coal: Improved Public Awareness of Engineering, 48 Next Steps, 31 . . jazz 10 18 47

; - . . . V111 Appendixes A Engineering Enrollments B Sample Mission Statements C Selected Outreach Programs D Committee on Public Awareness of Engineering E Engineering Communications, Education, and Outreach Questionnaire List of Organizations Responding to NAE Inventory Questionnaire CONTENTS 55 62 64 71 74 93 . ·,

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The public has little awareness or appreciation of engineering as the source of technology. The engineering community spends mightily to try to improve public awareness, but an NAE-commissioned survey of activities intended to raise public awareness found little coordination among them and few measures of success. This report provides the results of this survey, explains why it was needed, and recommends how the engineering community can work successfully to communicate the importance of engineering to society.

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