Introducing Engineering Management to High School Students


Attracting students to Engineering Management as a major and as a career field has always been challenging. One aspect of the problem is the difficulty in explaining to students in simple and clear terms just what Engineering Management is. Despite its well known reputation, including its place as the founding department in the field and being ABET accredited, it is unusual for an incoming freshman student at the University of Missouri Rolla (UMR) to have much understanding of the Engineering Management and Systems Engineering (EMSE) Department or its Engineering Management undergraduate major. The other key aspect of the problem is the general decline in interest in Engineering. Yankelovichl reports that in Japan, 66% of undergraduate students receive engineering or science degrees, and that number in China is 59%. That compares to only 32% in the U.S. When the science component is stripped out of those figures, the numbers are even more dismal. As Barrett2 indicates, less than 5% of U.S. students receive engineering degrees as compared to 65% in China and 29% in Japan. Overall, Asian countries produce eight times as many bachelor's degrees in engineering as the U.S.3 As Friedman4 describes the problem, "In China today, Bill Gates is Britney Spears. In America today, Britney Spears is Britney Spears and that is our problem." This growing vulnerability is seen as a key trend in higher education that must be effectively addressed if the U.S. is to maintain its world leadership in technology. Yankelovich, Barrett, and Friedman all point out this vulnerability and its negative impact on the future of the U.S.

Meeting Name

2006 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition: Excellence in Education


Business and Information Technology

Second Department

Engineering Management and Systems Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Conferences; Engineering Education; Engineering Management; Leadership

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


File Type





© 2006 American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), All rights reserved.

This document is currently not available here.