The information technology revolution and the liberalization of economies around the world have led to globalization of the human resource pool for technology. US and India are at the leading edge of this change. Research, development, innovation and entrepreneurship are increasingly carried out via cross-border initiatives involving both the academic and business communities. The need to innovate new technologies in collaboration with the users of the technologies has changed the workforce needs of the business world, while the aptitudes andtalents of the future workforce have changed radically as a consequence of easy access to digital and communications technologies. Although engineering educational institutions in US and India are responding to these changes, many of them are inhibited by traditional approaches to teaching and research.
American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), along with academic and business leaders from leading US and Indian universities have launched an initiative to build US-India collaborations in order to make engineering education and research more relevant to the needs of the global society and to the aptitudes and aspirations of new generations of youth. Engineering educators of US and India are in a unique position to address these challenges by working together. Strong bonds have already been developed between US and India, because of the large number of Indian engineering graduates who migrate to the US and make valuable contributions to the US research enterprise and to the US economy. Several of these engineers have become entrepreneurs and have played a major role in the Information Technology revolution and in a variety of non-technology oriented industries such as hospitality. Many of them are also leaders in engineering education in the US. This synergy between US and India provides the opportunity for the two countries to collaborate on building the next generation technical workforce using new paradigms. Pan IIT, an organization of the alumni and faculty of Indian Institutes of Technology, has provided a strong foundation for building this Collaboration. At the recent Pan IIT 2006 Conference held in Mumbai, one of the key action items called for IITs and IITians to contribute to nation building by assisting in the improvement of the quality of engineering education throughout India. University of Massachusetts Lowell, which is well known for its outstanding engineering education as well as its on-line program (UMass On Line) is playing a lead role in coordinating the IUCEE efforts.
The Indo US Collaboration for Engineering Education (IUCEE) has the mission of improving the quality and global relevance of engineering education in India and in the US. We expect that success of IUCEE will benefit other countries. We believe this will lead to a better world.
IUCEE defined the objectives of the initiative via two workshops, one in India in June 2007 and another in Washington in August 2007. The outcome of the two workshops was an Action Plan. The Action Plan which called for scaling up of selected promising practices identified by the Collaborators under the following categories:IUCEE will focus on increasing the number of engineering faculty in the US and in India who collaborate on research and teaching and who will be able to better prepare engineers for the global economy.
· Research & Development
· Curriculum & Technology Enhanced Delivery
· Innovation & Entrepreneurship
· Quality & Accreditation Processes
· Industry Participation
OUR ACTION PLAN
The key approach of the IUCEE effort is to conduct summer institutes for engineering faculty in India in the “Facilitate the Trainer” model with the help of renowned US faculty experts The unique features of the “Facilitate the trainer” model are: 1) exposure of global practices by the involvement of renowned global experts in various disciplines initially from the US in the creation of the course content and delivery to experienced Indian with a potential to be regional leaders, 2) creation of IUCEE Regional Centers of Excellence wherein certified Indian faculty would impart training via regional workshops to faculty drawn from second and third tier colleges from their respective regions, with provision for offering such workshops in other regions as well. 3) emphasis on follow up and assessment of the impact by a team of educational experts 4) continuous engagement of employers in defining the content and deployment of the course materials 5) intelligent use of educational technologies tools in order to scale and improve faculty productivity 6) to establish a framework for developing educational leadership. Additional details of the program and the success of the same are available at other locations on this site.
Networks will be created between US and Indian faculty and colleges of engineering via the summer institutes and tours of US colleges by heads and faculty of Indian engineering colleges. These networks will enable the identification of best practices which can be replicated and scaled up. Networks will be assisted in developing specific long term collaborations.
Scalability and sustainability will be emphasized from the beginning. Initial emphasis will be in Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering and related fields. The Indo US Engineering Faculty Leadership Institute will be expanded form to include more topics in areas of engineering discipline such as Mechanical/ Manufacturing, Electrical, Chemical Engineering with special emphasis on Petroleum and other branches depending on the funding available from these segments of market. For each branch mentioned above and any other major branch an industry wants, courses would be co-created and made available to interested professors and colleges for their use. We propose ito seek support of private sector, as has been done in case of IT/ ITES segment. In a 5 year period, the program would reach the ~2,000 engineering colleges, ~80,000 engineering faculty and the ~ 600,000 engineering students, make the students more employable in the relevant industry. We believe that through this approach we can improve the productivity of education system to high levels in the form of “Talent Dollars” and reduce the pressure on the cost of corporate training which has been going up year on year making us less competitive.