FROM RESEARCH TO ACTION
Committee on Implementing Engineering Messages
NATIONAL ACADEMY OF ENGINEERING
OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001
NOTICE: This publication has been reviewed according to procedures approved by the National Academy of Engineering report review process. Publication of signed work signifies that it is judged a competent and useful contribution worthy of public consideration, but it does not imply endorsement of conclusions or recommendations by the National Academy of Engineering. The interpretations and conclusions in such publications are those of the authors and do not purport to present the views of the council, officers, or staff of the National Academy of Engineering.
This material is based on work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. EEC-0957578. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Messaging for engineering : from research to action / Committee on Implementing Engineering Messages.
“This publication builds on the 2008 NAE publication, Changing the conversation : messages for improving public understanding of engineering”—Preface.
Includes bibliographical references.
ISBN 978-0-309-26180-7 (paperback) — ISBN 978-0-309-26181-4 (pdf) 1.
Communication in engineering. 2. Engineering—Social aspects—United States. 3. Engineers—Public relations—United States. I. National Academy of Engineering. Committee on Implementing Engineering Messages. II. National Academy of Engineering. Committee on Public Understanding of Engineering Messages. Changing the conversation.
Copies of this report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, NW, Keck 360, Washington, DC 20001; (888) 624-8373 or (202) 334-3313; www.nap.edu.
For more information about the National Academy of Engineering, visit the NAE home page at www.nae.edu.
Copyright 2013 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Printed in the United States of America
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES
Advisers of the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine
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. Ralph J. Cicerone 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 meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Charles M. Vest is president of the National Academy of Engineering.
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COMMITTEE ON IMPLEMENTING ENGINEERING MESSAGES
ELLEN KULLMAN (Cochair), E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, Wilmington, DE
CHARLES M. VEST (Cochair), National Academy of Engineering, Washington, DC
G. WAYNE CLOUGH, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC
LESLIE COLLINS, National Engineers Week Foundation, Alexandria, VA
DON P. GIDDENS, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta
ROBERT HOFFMAN, Hoffman and Partners LLC, Boston, MA
RAY O. JOHNSON, Lockheed Martin Corporation, Bethesda, MD
VIRGINIA KRAMER, Keiler & Company, Farmington, CT
IRVING PRESSLEY MCPHAIL, National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering, White Plains, NY
E. JAMES PRENDERGAST, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Piscataway, NJ
BETTY SHANAHAN, Society of Women Engineers, Chicago, IL
GREG PEARSON, Senior Program Officer, National Academy of Engineering
MARIBETH KEITZ, Senior Program Associate, National Academy of Engineering
This report is the final product of the Committee on Implementing Engineering Messages of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE). The project overseen by the committee had three objectives: (1) develop an online “toolkit” containing messaging-related resources, community-building applications, and other resources to support the goal of promoting broader use of new messages for improving the public understanding of engineering; (2) facilitate dialogue between organizations that have developed implementation strategies for the new engineering messages and influential stakeholders in the engineering community that have not yet implemented the messages; and (3) create an “action plan” to guide adoption and use of the online toolkit and encourage coordinated outreach to the public by the broader engineering community. The committee’s report fulfills the project’s third objective.
This publication builds on the 2008 NAE publication Changing the Conversation: Messages for Improving Public Understanding of Engineering. Changing the Conversation (CTC) presented the results of a research-based effort to develop and test new, more effective ways of communicating to the public about engineering. The new messages
recast engineering as inherently creative and concerned with human welfare, as well as an emotionally satisfying calling. The CTC report stimulated considerable interest among segments of the engineering community, and some organizations adopted the project’s messages in their outreach. Overall, however, the report’s impact has fallen short of its potential to galvanize action by the broader engineering community. Our committee’s effort is intended to help remedy that situation.
This report provides background related to engineering messaging, reports on progress made in implementing the CTC messages, and suggests specific steps that can be taken by each of the major players in the engineering community to continue and build on the implementation that has taken place. As we note in the report, like any rebranding effort, creating more accurate and positive perceptions of engineering is a long-term proposition. Through the work of the NAE and other organizations, the engineering community has the tools in hand to make considerable progress. The information in this document, we hope, will provide incentive for meaningful action.
Ellen Kullman, Cochair
Chair of the Board and CEO
E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company
Charles M. Vest, Cochair
National Academy of Engineering
This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Academies. The purpose of the independent review is to provide candid and critical comments to assist the NAE 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 review of this report:
James Buczkowski, Ford Motor Company
Norman L. Fortenberry, American Society for Engineering Education
Lisa Guerra, NASA Headquarters
William S. Hammack, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Thomas G. Loughlin, ASME
Patrick J. Natale, American Society of Civil Engineers
Mary Petryszyn, Raytheon Company
Darryll J. Pines, University of Maryland
Anthony (Bud) Rock, Association of Science-Technology Centers
Jacquelyn F. Sullivan, University of Colorado–Boulder
Although the reviewers listed above provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the views expressed in the report, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Julia M. Phillips, Sandia National Laboratories. Appointed by the NAE, she was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authors and the NAE.