Change in Engineering Education: What Does the Future Hold? – Podcast interview with Frank Falcone

Change in Engineering Education: What Does the Future Hold? – Podcast interview with Frank Falcone

“The future for most engineers will lead them on a track that embraces leadership, management, conceptual design, and preliminary design.” – Frank E. Falcone; AP, P.E., D.WRE, CAPT USN (ret)

In this episode, I interviewed Frank E. Falcone; AP, P.E., D.WRE, CAPT USN (ret)., the Director of Professional Development and Experiential Education in the College of Engineering (CoE) at Villanova University, about engineering education, how it has changed and will change, and how engineering students can focus their career plans and goals for a technologically expanding future.

Here Are the Questions Asked in This Episode:

  • You wrote a book called “The Career Compass,” which is an online textbook required for all students enrolled in the College of Engineering’s Career Compass Program at Villanova. Tell us a little bit more about this book and how it evolved to help engineering students.
  • What would you like to see engineers take away from this program that can help them in their careers moving forward?
  • How has the engineering profession changed over the past decades?
  • How should engineering education change to meet the demands of an ever evolving and “globalized” world?
  • What are some of the typical and/or emerging career paths for newly graduated engineers?
  • How should engineering students focus their plans and goals for a technologically expanding future?
  • In your opinion, what do you think is on the horizon for the engineering profession and future engineers?
  • Do you have any professional development tips, especially for early-career engineers?

Here Are the Key Points Discussed About Engineering Education:

  • When we started the Career Compass Program, we knew that a great many students were going to be online, and we had to find a proper delivery system. I began recording videos for the students. At first, we had modules that included a video and an associated quiz with it. The videos, however, did not capture everything I wanted to say, and so I decided to write some text that went with each of the modules. This book is online-orientated and focuses on 21st- century education for engineers.
  • The engineering profession has changed enormously over the last 40 years. Many years ago, the focus was very narrow, and an engineer was trained to do one aspect in engineering that wasn’t focused on management or leadership. Today, the engineering profession is very broad, and that is one thing that we want students to become: a broad-minded thinker in engineering.
  • Engineering education should focus on the broad aspect of the profession and the projects that you are working on.
  • Engineers should move away from thinking that they are graduating as a civil or mechanical engineer, and rather think about the career paths available in the future.
  • The big international and national drivers that engineers should focus on are infrastructure, climate change, altered and energy sources, medical equipment devices, and the continual development of computerized systems. These will all become emerging career paths for engineers in the future.
  • Students can interconnect almost instantaneously with anyone in the world or any given technical subject. Their focus should be on broadening their minds and interconnecting with people all over the world. Having this ability allows engineers to think about solving some of the enormous problems since the beginning of time. We must get our engineering colleges and universities and our faculties to think broadly, and this is where the engineering industry must change.
  • As the sea levels are rising, the structures that we built must be resilient, so it is important to design for different kinds of loads, pressures, and project durations.
  • While engineering students are still in school, they need to create a form of self-awareness to determine who they are and what they want to achieve in their lives. This will help provide you with a sense of self-satisfaction, professional satisfaction, professional growth, and personal happiness. Once you determine who you are, you can start thinking more broadly about the problems you want to try to solve in this world.

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