The allocation to the study of humanities and social sciences in Australian engineering education

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Rojter, Josef (2010) The allocation to the study of humanities and social sciences in Australian engineering education. In: SEFI 2010 : diversity unifies - diversity in engineering education. European Society for Engineering Education, Brussels.


The relatively poor social standing of the engineering profession in Australia compared to other major professions, and its general inability to attract both a higher proportion of women as well as a high calibre of more intellectually able young people to engineering education, has been of concern to both the profession and engineering educators. This paper argues that this is due to the unclear perceptions of the engineering profession as being “hard hat ” and highly technical in nature; perceptions which iare clearly at odds with the realities in the world of engineering practice discourses. In the real world of professional engineering workplace the application of broad knowledge and an understanding of the human dimension of engineering enterprises is observed. These realities are not generally reflected by the engineering curricula at Australia universities. In many schools of engineering a retreat to a symbolic understanding of engineering is observed . There is an excessive emphasis on the highly technical matters in engineering curricula, which exclude not only greater technical diversity but also the skills and knowledge of human affairs necessary in engineering practice. An analysis shows that despi te many recommendations in Australia for a greater emphasis on social sciences and humanities in engineering curricula, the expansion in these non - technical areas has been not oly slow to take anchor within the schools, departments and faculties of enginee ring in Australia, but a retreat to the world of scientism is observed . It is argued that this is essentially a problem of the academic culture operating within engineering schools and faculties in Australia, which is based on scientific norms derived fro m science. Finally the idea of cultural change is explored. -- Joint International IGIP - SEFI Annual Conference 2010, 19 th - 22 nd September 2010, Trnava, Slovakia

Additional Information

Conference held in Trnava, Slovakia, 2010.

Item type Book Section
Official URL
ISBN 9782873520045
Subjects Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Engineering and Science
Historical > FOR Classification > 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy
Historical > SEO Classification > 970109 Expanding Knowledge in Engineering
Keywords ResPubID21191, innovative curricula, curriculum, higher education, tertiary education, engineering profession, perceptions, engineers, Australia, paper 1246
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