Does it suck to be in engineering school?

After the Process Automation Hall of Fame dinner last night, I went and looked at my email, and having just had some of the finest minds in process automation, Dale Seborg, Bill Hawkins and Vernon Trevathan, sharing their thoughts on how to get new blood into engineering and automation, I was unpleasantly surprised to see this in the Slashdot Firehose feed: Pickens writes "Aaron Rower has an interesting post on Wired with the "Top 5 Reasons it Sucks to be an Engineering Student" that includes awful textbooks, professors who are rarely encouraging, the dearth of quality counseling, and every assignment feels the same. Our favorite is that other disciplines have inflated grades. "Brilliant engineering students may earn surprisingly low grades while slackers in other departments score straight As for writing book reports and throwing together papers about their favorite zombie films," writes Rower. "Many of the brightest students may struggle while mediocre scholars can earn top scores." For many students, earning a degree in engineering is less than enjoyable and far from what they expected. If you want to complain about your education, this is your chance."

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  • Hey, boss. Caught this post this morning. Speaking as the Resident English/history major at Control, I have to say that, in my experience, "awful textbooks, professors who are rarely encouraging, the dearth of quality counseling, and every assignment feels the same" could apply to most college course in all disciplines, alas. (I still have nightmares about the "Imagery in Herman Melville's Moby Dick" paper that was worth half my grade in one class.)

    I thought the problem was that I was in college before anybody could write papers on their favorite zombie movies and get away with it. Apparently not.

    Maybe the problem is that colleges are not structured in a way that makes sense to anybody but their administrations. There's not enough inspiring teaching and learning going on in any discipline, and the systems seem to discourage it when it does occur. Maybe we should blow the whole system up and start over.

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  • I can't speak for engineering schools today, but in the early 80s when I was in school, it seemed like the engineers had less of a social life as we struggled for our grades. My B-school accounting friends' struggles had more to do with deciding which parties to attend, from so many to choose. They're now all doing very well. Hmmm... I guess they were smarter than I thought!

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