Paul Penfield, Jr.
Professor of Electrical Engineering
Head, Department of Electrical
Questions for this session:
Is this trend widespread?
Is this trend permanent?
Is this trend felt similarly by different types of departments?
How should we cope with it?
Other speakers will address the third
School of Engineering (e.g., Dartmouth)
Department of EECS (e.g., Berkeley)
Department of ECE (e.g., CMU)
Department of EE (e.g., Stanford)
The Plural of "Anecdote" is "Data"
Here is some Data, from NEEDHA members
Informal survey of NEEDHA members, March 1998
300 universities surveyed
Typical % of total students in CE, CS, or some combination
Recently rising; now between 50% and 80%
19 down, 7 flat, 5 up
0 down, 3 flat, 28 up, 4 new programs
1 down, 4 flat, 18 up
Change in Society
Computation, information, communication more pervasive
Enabled by predictable advances in microelectronics
Fueled by exciting "killer apps" (e.g., spreadsheet, DTP, Web)
Booming job market
At all levels: Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral
Student choice of a career in computing is rational
Increasing power of hardware, software, networks
Decreasing cost of computation, electronics
Boundary among these technologies is rapidly changing
Students have to optimize designs across these boundaries
Or are they specialties within one discipline?
Preferentially hire CE and CS faculty
A lot of junior faculty cannot decide if they are EE or CS
One final note -- a quote from my survey:
In talking with students, some stated that our strong 3 course CS intro sequence, taught by excellent teachers, seduced them into the CS track. To address this, we are ...