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OBJECTIVES IN COMMERCIAL ENGINEERING
REPORT OF THE SECOND CONFERENCE ON BUSINESS TRAIN
ING FOR ENGINEERS AND ENGINEERING TRAINING FOR STUDENTS OF BUSINESS
The first conference. The first conference, held in Washington June 23 and 24, 1919, was called by the United States Commissioner of Education on behalf of a conference committee consisting of business men and university deans of commerce and engineering.
The following tentative curricula suggestions were submitted for consideration by the committee: First, that a minimum number of hours in business training, to be determined by the committee, be required in all engineering courses; second, that a curriculum providing for a minimum of 15 to 30 units in business economics be incorporated in all engineering courses and offered on an elective basis; third, that a curriculum in commercial, or industrial engineering subjects be offered in schools of commerce with degree to be given in that school; fourth, that a five-year combined engineering and commercial course be prepared. The committee further recommended that from 12 to 18 semester hours be required in all engineering courses in the following subjects: General economics, cost accounting, business organization, and business law; that electives be encouraged in connection with all engineering courses in the following subjects: Labor and employment problems, statistics, corporation management and finance, political science, marketing, including advertising and salesmanship; psychology, scientific management, and transportation. It was further recommended that economic phases of engineering subjects be emphasized wherever possible in engineering instruction.
The four curricula suggestions submitted by the committee were approved by the first public conference. It was recommended that no action be then taken in regard to the third and fourth curricula
1 A report of this conference was printed as Bureau of Education Bulletin, 1919, No. 58, copies of which may be secured from the Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office, Washington, D, C., at 20 cents a copy.
suggestions. The conference, however, recommended that the following engineering subjects be approved for students of commerce, the selection of all of which, exclusive of freshman mathematics, would give a total of 30 semester hours: Shopwork, 3 hours for one semester; properties and strength of materials, 3 hours for one semester; drawing and machinery analysis, 3 hours for one year; applied mechanics including hydraulics, 3 hours for one year; and a 2-hour course for the year in each of the following: Mechanical engineering, civil engineering, and electrical engineering (may be better called mechanical, civil, and electrical applications). It is assumed that commerce students enter upon this work with highschool algebra through quadratics and plane geometry, freshman mathematics, and preliminary training in physics and chemistry.
The second conference.--The primary purpose of this conference held in Washington May 1 and 2, 1922, was to promote through training better coordination of the major operations in industry and commerce. There was an attendance of 215, comprising largely business executives, engineers, and professors of business and engineering. The topics of discussion related to the coordination of college training with the industrial demand, to civic and social training of the engineer and business, and to the training of the engineer for management of overseas engineering projects. The committee 2 hoped that the discussion of these topics might help solve the new problems that have recently arisen in modern industries, the solution of which demands a more scientific approach to include job analysis and personnel specifications and a translation of these into a new and teachable content for use in our engineering and commerce schools; might assist the engineer to a better understanding of problems relating to community development and aid in the training of the engineer for management of overseas engineering projects.
2 The names of the members of the committee on commercial engineering are printed in the Appendix,
FIRST SESSION: May 1, 10 a. m.
Presiding officer: Joseph W. Roe, professor of industrial engineering, College
of Engineering, New York University.
Word of welcome to the delegates :
A. A. Hamerschlag, president Carnegie Institute of Technology.
of Technology. Address by G. L. Swiggett, chairman of the committee on commercial en
gineering. MAJOR TOPIC: Current practices in colleges and universities relating to business training for engineers and engineering training for business. Speakers:
P. F. Walker, dean of engineering, University of Kansas, Lawrence,
stitute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass.
SECOND SESSION: May 1, 2.30 p. m.
Presiding officer: F. B. Jewett, vice president Western Electric Co., New York
MAJOR TOPIC: Coordination of college training with the industrial demand. Speakers:
W. E. Mott, director, College of Engineering, Carnegie Institute of
THIRD SESSION: May 2, 10 a, m.
Presiding officer: C. F. Scott, professor of electrical engineering, Sheffield
Scientific School, Yale University
MAJOR TOPIC: Civic and social training of the engineer and business man. Speakers:
C. R. Mann, chairman of operations and training division, General
Staff, War Department, Washington.
1 Owing to the unavoidable absence of Dean Hatfield the report upon current practices in colleges and universities relating to business training for engineers has been prepared since the conference by the chairman of the commercial engineering committee and is printed on pp. 15–22.
2 Owing to relief work in cornection with the Pueblo (Colo.) flood, President Morgan was prevented from attending the conference.
FINAL SESSION-Group conferences, 2 p. m.
Group No. 1. Presiding officer: George W. Dowrie, dean, School of Business.
University of Minnesota. Discussion of topic, first session. Group No. 2. Presiding officer: F. M. Feiker, vice president, McGraw-Hill
Co. (Inc.), New York City. Discussion of topic, second session. Group No. 3. Presiding officer: L. W. Wallace, executive secretary, Federated
Engineering Societies, Washington, D. C. Discussion of topic, third session. Group No. 4.3
TOPIC: Training of the engineer for management of overseas engineering projects.
8 Group 4 met in conjunction with Group 3.
PROCEEDINGS OF THE CONFERENCE.
FIRST SESSION. Presiding Officer: Joseph W. Roe, Professor of Engineering, College of Engineer
ing, New York University.
Dr. A. Hamerschlag, in a brief address of welcome to the delegates, stated that young men and women are vitally interested in the effort to coordinate business and science, since it will create business opportunities for technically trained men.
Dr. W. F. Rittman expressed the belief that the conference would greatly aid in determining content and methods in their course in commercial engineering, a description of which had been prepared and issued in a special bulletin for distribution at the conference.
GLEN LEVIN SWIGGETT, general chairman of the conference. The training or work of a commercial or management engineer, or of the civilian engineer of a century ago, is not that of the engineer specialist of to-day with his purely engineering training. According to the charter of the Institution of Civil Engineers, 1820, for example, the civil engineers of London thought of themselves as directing the “great sources of power in nature for the use and convenience of man, as the means of production and traffic in States, both for external and internal trade, etc.”
Refinement of technique and specialization, while essential in economic progress, has deprived industry and commerce in recent years of a much-needed type of service. The problems which the need presents will only find solution in the coordination of all factors that have seemed to function separately within the major divisions of production and distribution. The efficient and scientific conduct of business demands an adequate supply of college-trained men and women whose training represents a combination of essentials of engineering and the fundamentals of business practice.
Between the new engineer and the civil engineer of 1820 lies a succession of design engineers—engineers trained by the best methods known to the physical and mathematical sciences of their time to plan and create within the field of engineering construction. The latter are, however, design and research engineers who have had but