The Engineer of 2020 Visions of Engineering in the New Century (2004)
The Engineer of 2020 Project centers on an effort to envision the future and to use that knowledge to attempt to predict the roles that engineers will play in the future. While of interest in itself, the exercise is also intended to provide a framework that will be used in subsequent work to position engineering education in the United States for what lies ahead, rather than waiting for time to pass and then trying to respond. This initiative is not unique in that other groups have somewhat similar efforts under way or have recently completed them. The work of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) differs in that it considers the issues with respect to all the diverse branches of engineering and examines them from the broadest possible perspective. Its principal focus is on the future of undergraduate engineering education in this country, although it is appreciated that to understand the full perspective engineering practice and engineering education must be considered in a global context. Originated and chartered by the NAE’s Committee on Engineering Education, the project consists of two parts, the first relating to the development of a vision for engineering and the work of the engineer in 2020. This phase of the work culminates with this report. The second part, which is yet to be completed, is to examine engineering education and ask what it needs to do to prepare engineers for the future. This report will be used to frame the discussions of the second phase.