ANIL MITRA PHD, COPYRIGHT © 1989, rev. 2004








The System of Conceptual Frameworks



1.1           The Question of Completeness

1.2           A Modern Conceptual Framework for Knowledge, Action and Learning

1.3           On Evolutionary Frameworks

1.4           An Outline of Modern Knowledge

1.5           On Planning: Piecemeal vs. Utopian

1.6           On Specialization and Specialism

1.7           What Is Education?

1.8           An Applied Philosophy of Needs: A System of Values

1.9           Social Issues and Learning


2.1           A Model of Change

2.2           The Constituent Elements of Social Structure

2.3           Conclusions Regarding Learning as an Institution

2.4           Implications for Research Directions and Research Support

2.4.1           Science, Technology and Engineering Research

2.4.2           Humanities

2.4.3           Government Action

2.4.4           Level of Decisions

2.4.5           Economics and Resource Issues

2.4.6           Areas of Decision

2.5           What is Higher Education?

2.5.1           Divisions of Higher Education and Learning

2.5.2           Factors for Decision

2.5.3           Methods: Analysis and Implementation


3.1           The Context of Development

3.1.1           The Range of Knowledge

3.1.2           Change

3.1.3           Spectrum of Institutions/Functions

3.2           Experiments in Institutional Development

3.2.1           Groupings of Functions

3.2.2           Alternate and Multiple Groupings of Functions

3.2.3           Work with both special and general problems is important

3.2.4           A Specific Experiment in Institutional Synthesis

3.2.5           An Example from California Higher Education

3.3           Closing Comments: Experimental Development of Institutions

3.3.1           Development within Institutions

3.3.2           Basis of Development: The Functions



4.1           Engineering Programs

4.1.1           Engineering in the Context of Society

4.1.2           Engineering Functions

4.1.3           Development of Programs and Institutions

4.1.4           Intrinsic Needs

4.1.5           External Needs: Support

4.2           Engineering Curricula: Principles

4.3           A National Program of Development in Engineering education and Research

4.3.1           A Procedure for Development

4.3.2           The Procedure

4.4           A Short Outline of a System of Engineering Curriculum

4.5           Curricula: Principles of Organization and Economy

4.6           A System of Engineering Curricula and Texts: [An Elaboration of the Outline of Section 5.1]

4.6.1           General Education: Humanities

4.6.2           Engineering: The Core and Foundations

4.6.3           Engineering Sciences

4.6.4           Advanced Design and Synthesis, Research, Social Policy and Technology - The Engineering Functions

4.6.5           Bibliographic and Information Systems for the Curriculum

4.7           An Example: Curriculum in Mechanical Engineering

Document Status Sunday, June 01, 2003



Educational planning must proceed as a response to demographic factors within an understanding [a perceptual-conceptual-social interaction framework] of the nature of education and its relations to other human-social processes and institutions. The understanding or framework is of fundamental importance: it contains or implies: the value to be furthered, the demographic factors for decision [quantitative or otherwise], the very processes of planning and understanding

Much of modern educational [and other] planning accepts an implicit, or tacit, frame: defined by dominant sentiments and the existing structures and emphases. [Within this framework there have been debates on issues such as feeling-intellect, intuition-analysis, and humanities-sciences.]

The first version seeks to develop a framework which situates the processes in the whole world, the whole of significant existence. Perhaps some elements of any actual frame will always be implicit or accepted without examination but, certainly, much of what is implicit has been absorbed from the cultural heritage or other obscure sources and can be made explicit and evaluated. No doubt, there may be elements of arbitrariness in any framework but this is in the nature of any attempt at trial or growth within evolution. The approach or frame becomes empirical as it enters the arenas of history, experiment and criticism. Thus, this essay describes an attempt to enter into the evolutionary process [the universal pattern of change] in a very deep, dynamic and integrated way. [Particularly, the issues of feeling-intellect, intuition-analysis, science-humanities, etc., are resolved by synthesis within an “over-frame” rather than through an “either-or”.]

The implicit frames are not rejected. Rather, I seek to understand and incorporate their appropriate elements

Subsequent revisions of Version 1 will refine the framework; and subsequent versions will, in addition to refinement, elaborate on the demographic aspects and their application to specific systems of education and research

The background for Version 1.0 is my personal experience, my knowledge of learning [education, research and creative synthesis] in modern America and the West. Specific examples for discussion come from my experience [1] with higher education and research as a member of the faculties at a number of universities in the United States over a period of ten years, [2] with planning for higher education California - as a concerned citizen, and [3] in planning and foundation work toward developing a program [Horizon Research Institute] for a modern conceptual-empirical process of knowledge-action-learning concerned with human-social change/evolution and a coherent range of specific issues


The purposes of this essay are: First, to provide a short outline of the needs of, and appropriate directions for engineering research and education. The emphasis is on the university and its relations with technology, government and society. The second purpose is to provide a total context or framework for social decisions and actions. This framework forms part of the basis for directives regarding engineering. Third, to present an outline design, based in the needs and directions, of the system of engineering curricula, and of a comprehensive, integrated sequence of textbooks in engineering

The basic considerations are: The relation of technology and engineering to the whole of society, human issues and social planning; the roles and nature of the university and the relations between education, research and creative synthesis; the range of engineering functions and fields; the range of student orientations, capabilities and needs; and various economic and resource issues. The focus of Part I is these basic issues. Engineering program and curriculum development are the focus of Part II. Development of the total context or conceptual framework is in both Parts I and II

General conclusions cover: Requirements for university leadership in its proper domains - with emphasis on the university as an independent agent for development and conservation of knowledge; provision of stability against short-term disciplinary, demographic and other trends; proper relations among education, research and creative synthesis; hierarchy of research modes and functions; effective motivation and environments for learning; responsibilities of researchers and educators; development and styles of institutions for learning. [I use learning in an extended sense to cover education, research and creative synthesis.]

Specific conclusions concern realizations of the general conclusions for engineering education and research [Section 4] and their incorporation in engineering curricula and the integrated text project [Section 5]. Data for these conclusions are human, social, environmental, educational, economic, and technological. Conclusions regard: range of engineering concerns and functions; development of engineering programs of education and research; faculty development; institutional funding; implications for engineering curricula; recommendations for a national program of development in engineering education and research, and curriculum/text systems

The System of Conceptual Frameworks

This essay presents an inclusive hierarchy of conceptual frameworks for the understanding of the fields of engineering and technology. These fields are themselves a specific frame. The more general frames provide a means to understand, evaluate, and act within the more specific frames. The broadest frame presented in the essay is the conceptual system of general processes and modes of being of Section 1. This frame is not a catalog of beings and processes but is a system of concepts or general patterns which provide clarity and direction amid the myriad of details and facts

The relation between the more general and the more specific frames is not necessarily direct, but may be through the hierarchy of frames

It is, perhaps, unusual to provide frames of the generality included here in connection with the specifics and hardware of engineering and technology. The purposes of the inclusions are:

[1] Existence of interactions not always recognized. The systems of ideas conventionally used in technology/education policy are not absolute and exist within a larger context. These larger contexts must be vitally included in the critical choices to be made in the planning of engineering/technology options. The importance of this issue is reflected in the broadening of engineering interests as previously distinct fields merge - as a result of recognition and understanding of their interactions

The general conceptual system provides insight in the process of change and choice; and the role of the human faculties in these processes

Inclusion of the more general frames is a systematic recognition of the human-social-environmental dimensions/interactions of engineering and its consequences. This is in contrast to the conservative systems of thought which treat the individual phases of human-social activity as entities-in-themselves. Such systems may be sufficient for short-term planning but omit significant long-term interactions

[2] In the absence of systematically thought-out frames, the guiding patterns will be implicit systems: either of judgment, or built into social processes and institutions. As the domain of conscious social-human action expands, a parallel expansion in the explicit systems of thought to be deployed is needed

[3] The present, preliminary development of the general frameworks shall be a foundation for more general social analysis, policy and planning work to be undertaken later. Development of the frameworks together with applications will be a useful reality check to complement conceptual development




The issues of higher education and research are a part of social planning. Each part is interactive within the whole. Therefore, planning and analysis of each part is enhanced by being in proper relation to planning and analysis of the whole. Specialism, the planning of the parts in isolation, runs the risk of missing the critical interactions and hence of error

The converse problem, the one of empty generality, leads to inaction

A simple approach which avoids both these extremes is to do the individual planning as elements of the more general planning. The process may be iterative: level1 - level2 ... When composite understanding of the parts and their interactions exists, planning can be more direct. In either case there will be the following iteration: planning - implementation - learning

1.1         The Question of Completeness

The discussion of the whole system of interactions raises the question of completeness. The issue here is not one of approaching the total system as an intrinsic whole: we are interested in the parts. Rather, we wish to situate each particular analysis in the more general analysis or nested set of analyses so as to include all significant interactions. The question which then arises is: how can we know that the overall analysis is complete? How do we know that all significant interactions have been included?

The answer is, of course, that we cannot assuredly know that any system of description or analysis is complete. However, this skeptical attitude can be qualified as follows:


We apply skepticism to the skeptic. We question the function of the skeptical framework. Specifically, we note that skepticism may arise from an over-desire for certainty, completeness and security. This can lead to nihilism. A more rational function of the skeptical mood is as a spur to improvement. Skepticism and pessimism are transformed into rational criticism

A foundation of incompleteness is newness and change. Existing knowledge is based in what has been given to us or what has been experienced. There is always the possibility that there are potential and important elements of existence lying outside what has been given and what has been experienced

The converse of this point of view is that we do not need impossible ideals of absolute certainty or completeness, that our given knowledge must have some foundation in evolution [the given] and experience: our biological-social-psychological nature is an expression of the environment and the circumstances of our origins and growth as is our learning and, therefore, these have an appropriate validity within a framework of present circumstance. This partial and approximate validity is an aspect of the nature of our existence and, therefore, validates quests for improvement, invalidates compulsive nihilism in response to imperfection and the possibility of failure

The proper foundation for the psychological sense of completeness is to be in process

We can attempt to be complete with respect to given knowledge

Any dynamic completeness must be a conceptual framework, not a compilation. The framework will be an attempt to synthesize into a coherent whole the broad sketch, in analytical terms, of our joint experience. There can be no implication of uniqueness of finality; yet we can attempt to combine existing approaches

The discussion which follows formulates a framework for understanding, analysis and action

Subsequently the framework will provide a system of understanding for a number of key issues in higher education and research and in social planning

1.2         A Modern Conceptual Framework for Knowledge, Action and Learning

I will first mention some characteristics of the framework to be presented:

[A] It is intended as a synthesis as some of the primary modes of Western thought. At minimum it shows in relation the frameworks of idealism, realism, phenomenalism and evolution. Pre-conscious and non-Western modes are not suppressed

[B] It relates the following levels of philosophical analysis: actual, metaphysical, epistemological, and meta-epistemological or linguistic-logical

I now introduce the conceptual framework. The distinction between idealism and realism is based on a split between knower and known. To avoid this split I consider the primitive element of existence to be awareness-of-change. This primitive element is neither physical no mental but a primitive synthesis of the two. In choosing the primitive element I preferred “change” over “difference” because [1] the intuitive idea of change contains the intuitive ideas of time and of space in unified form, and [2] the idea of difference can be derived from the idea of change

It is now appropriate to mention some further characteristics of the framework and its intended uses:

[C] The framework appears to be founded in the birth of individual consciousness. In fact there is no implied point of beginning for the frame for awareness-of-change can be seen as growing out of the stages of being described under “levels of pattern organization”

At a deep level placement of awareness-of-change at the head of the framework implies the difficulty of separating the real from the process of knowing. In everyday life, living within an established social-cultural framework, it is easy to assign an external reality to the supposed objects of the conventional frames. But it is more than skepticism that takes us out of this attitude and confronts us with the interwoven nature of knower and known. The subjective route to appreciating this interwoven nature is through introspection upon the foundation of an individual’s personal knowledge. An example of a more objective path is through consideration of evolution of patterns of organization: natural-social-psychic-universal. Does newness truly arise in evolution? The debate on this issue is not closed. However we can assert: the answer has its basis in the real and in our level of understanding. As our understanding becomes deeper, our civilization may come to a point where we generally and explicitly understand nature and consciousness as part of a unity or identity. At present this is not the case and, based on our present knowledge, we are forced to accept the possibility of emergence as real

My earlier assertion, then, that awareness -of-change is a primitive synthesis of knower and known is inaccurate. To the best of our knowledge the two may be a unity, forming a primary element of existence. There is no actual synthesis but we tend to understand, validly within some domains, this primary element as split. The real synthesis is in our understanding of these separated concepts

[D] I should comment further on my purpose in including a broad philosophical sketch in an essay on a specific topic. Actually the topic is not so specific. Education-research-learning are universal processes. They must, for their proper study and implementation, depend up a broad system of understanding. At minimum the conceptual framework, implies that systems of value and preference which dominate education/social policy in our culture represent choices from among a number of proper alternatives

A second purpose is my intention to subsequently expand the scope of my published work to include a full spectrum of human-social issues

I will now consider some aspects of the framework which will be useful in this essay

1.3         On Evolutionary Frameworks

Recognition of the “levels” of organization: natural-social-psychic-universal and a suggestion of their interconnection, clearly implies an evolutionary process. This does assume an objective reality for the levels

At the time I offer only limited justification and explanation for adopting an evolutionary framework since the related considerations to be used in this essay are minimal

The world of experience includes multitudes of instances or “facts”. Negotiation or creation in this world is possible through existence of or potential for existence of patterns - patterns of organization in space and of change in time. Without invoking genesis [I mean origins or self-creation, but not creation by an agent], there is no objective understanding of form and function. But why should we prefer a non-teleological explanation such as Darwin’s? It is because of [1] the greater simplicity, or fewer assumptions, of the Darwinian system, and [2] the power of such explanation: form, complexity, etc., cannot be explained except by a pattern of evolution or self-genesis - but self-genesis of new forms is possible only through trial and selection

I do not derive, at this point, any imperative from the evolutionary framework whether to action or to social structure. However the evolutionary framework does provide an approach for understanding and implementing values and for relating human values to other human values and to the environment of human life. I was initially drawn to evolutionary explanation because of its power. Teleology can be explained in terms of the simpler concept of mechanism; concepts of the levels of existence can be synthesized. The evolutionary model is not an academic one but an experiential one which places us and our models in the stream of experience and learning

The following minimal consequences of an evolutionary style of thought are used in this essay:

[A] Recognition that we are involved in creating our future - not merely in solving problems that arise. The concept of “problem” can be expanded to include this creative aspect

[B] The long-term future is unpredictable or unknown. The idea of unpredictability is based in part on an assumption of a dynamic or evolution which is at least partly non-teleological. The strength of this position is its minimal quality. It is not material for present purposes whether the non-teleological aspect is in the nature of existence or of systems of perception-explanation-prediction. As we have seen earlier, we do not know whether the distinction between reality and explanation is ultimately possible or even meaningful

Institutions of knowledge should reflect the unpredictability in question. One approach is to have the Institution of Learning open, not merely goal-directed. That is, a motive in education, research and synthesis shall be pure understanding of existence - of the world, the universe

[C] But, pure understanding cannot be the only motive. In the short term, problems are solved as they arise. This requires that the enterprise of knowledge shall include goal-directed activities

[D] Evolutionary explanation provides a framework for understanding the levels: nature-social organization-psyche/mind-the universal; and the structure and interrelations of these levels. It is true that any system of explanation by division into levels has some element of arbitrariness. However, this kind of arbitrariness is limited in consequence oft the historical interaction between the explanation and its “object”. Further, the system of levels in questions is consistent with and supports evolutionary explanation

This system of levels of organization in existence provides, in turn, a logical-conceptual organization for modern knowledge. Knowledge of the natural and social worlds is clearly important. Beyond this, the universal is included in metaphysics. Metaphysics, other problematic areas such as foundations of individual disciplines, epistemology - the general foundation of knowledge and thought - are included in philosophy. In this account epistemology includes logics. Finally, symbolic systems are important as a medium of coding, expression and communication

Thus a very general outline of modern knowledge is: philosophy [metaphysics, epistemology, value theory, foundations]; symbolic systems [language, logic and mathematics]; natural sciences and information about the natural world; and social-human sciences/analysis and information about the social-human world

Items [A] through [D] immediately above are significant in learning [education, research and synthesis] and in planning for learning and its institutions

I now turn to some conclusions and related issues stemming from the philosophical-evolutionary frameworks just discussed

1.4         An Outline of Modern Knowledge

An outline and its conceptual basis have been given in item [D] above. The emphasis in this outline is the modern Western viewpoint. However, other approaches are not suppressed

1.5         On Planning: Piecemeal vs. Utopian

The negative aspects of utopian “planning” arise from placing frames outside of the stream of experience - the flow of existence. When we do not do this, when we keep our theories, plans, values within this stream [which is by no means uniform but has plateaus and equilibria] we do not commit the mistake of utopian totalitarianism and the distinctions between utopian and piecemeal planning break down

1.6         On Specialization and Specialism

The problems of specialization are clear: alienation of work or activity from their fruits, the inadequacy of specialist understanding, planning and design

But specialization is essential to complexity, to modern civilization, to society, to life. Specialism is the pathological form of specialization. The antidote is to place each specialty within a hierarchy of degrees of specialization

No frameworks are ultimate. All are in process. This ultimate alienation of actuality from its potential is in the nature of being in process, of existence

1.7         What Is Education?

Development of a human being is significantly extra-genetic; however, the capacity for each development is significantly genetic. A significant component of this development is learning. Learning covers the assimilation of existing knowledge and culture and the production of knowledge and culture by research and synthesis - direct learning - at or outside the boundaries of the cultural domains. This is a characteristic feature of human individuals and an important element in the creative response of societies and cultures to their problems and their potential for development

Education is regarded as the social component or input in the process of the development of individual humans to full participation in the assimilation, use and production of knowledge and culture

1.8         An Applied Philosophy of Needs: A System of Values

Some discussion of this type is necessary for development of a complete frame for planning/learning. The following system derives from a set of levels of organization and a group of evolutionary values:

Some observations on the system of needs and values just presented:

[A] Full objectivity is neither meaningful nor intended. The system is necessarily from a specific human perspective. The issue in relation to accuracy and completeness of vision, however, is not a lack of full objectivity or of complete perspectives: these are given. The question is whether we can expand upon the given subjectivity of particular perspectives. This is important in facing the ever-changing scene of human problems, opportunities, and potential

One approach to the type of growth in question is through the development of conceptual systems and frameworks. This involves risk because there can be no a priori guarantee of correctness. Development and use of a conceptual framework is an experiment. There are some rules of good experimentation such as the ideas contained in “Logic” or “reason” and “testing”. A fuller, still incomplete, objectivity comes about, however through the interaction of the conceptual systems with feeling and experience - for reason and experimental testing are rarely, if ever, complete. It is equally true that experience - and this does not mean mere sense experience - is no final guarantee of completeness or correctness but this is in the nature of existence, of being in process. Acceptance of limitation and of potential places us realistically in process

[B] The matrix of needs and values makes no pretensions to completeness. However, comparison will show that it is reasonably complete with respect to most standard systems of needs and values. Further, the system is not primary - it has a foundation and a system of organization

Planning for education, research and synthesis does require reference or some appropriate and reasonably complete framework of understanding and system of needs and values. For, although Learning is a specific institution, the purposes and contents of that institution refer to the whole spectrum of human endeavor. Implicitly, the idea of openness is the Institution of Learning is the best guarantor, at the level of policy, for full development of all avenues of exploration and discovery

However, this essay is an element in process and it will be proper to reconsider and to present modified, improved and expanded systems in future versions

[C] In usual circumstances stability is the base for variation; and variation and variability are the base for quality. Based on this observation, we see that there is an evolutionary dimension to the development of the qualitative aspect of needs and values in addition to the organizational aspect

[D] In the matrix of needs the different elements are not necessarily different needs or values. The elements are not necessarily independent

1.9         Social Issues and Learning

I repeat that learning is used in the inclusive sense of education, research and creative synthesis. I am not implying that these activities are mutually exclusive. In my meaning, research includes creative analogy and creative synthesis. However, some people use research more restrictively. I allow for possible redundancy of meaning so as to ensure that “learning” covers all phases of assimilation of culture and direct learning from experience. I now consider learning in relation to some social issues

[A] From the nature of knowledge, completeness and change as discussed earlier and from a consideration of long-term unpredictability of problems and opportunities, I conclude: there is a value to having mental processes - such as concept formation - which can proceed independently of the “external” world and its processes. I also conclude a long-term value to independence of the Institution of Learning from other social institutions. I am asserting, in other words, the value of pure knowledge or knowledge which arises from a balanced interest in all elements of existence. This balance need not manifest itself in all individuals so long as it is effective for the social enterprise of learning as a whole. This may best occur when at least some individuals develop a balanced interest and understanding

[B] From the need for practical solutions to immediate problems and from the function of learning in improving the present quality of human life, I conclude a need for interaction between learning and other institutions on a short time scale. I am asserting, in other words, the need for an applied knowledge which arises from a balanced concern with all phases of human and social life and with the interaction of these phases with our immediate global and local environments

[C] From the consideration of items [A] and [B] immediately above, I conclude, rather than an either/or polarity, the need for a hierarchy of levels of interaction between learning and its practical uses. This is the pure-applied hierarchy. Of course, pure learning is practical when a complete view, according to the frameworks argued and adopted in this essay, of the nature of change and predictability is accounted for. The interest in things “for their own sake” - or curiosity - is a significant part of all learning and of the genetic programming of human-as-the-learning-animal. Actually, the word “curiosity” is somewhat inadequate for the full range of its possible use in the present context. Consider, for example, “beauty” and the plasticity of the nature of the human sense of beauty. Clearly, one function of the sense of beauty, consistent with human evolution as a learning-exploring animal, is as a deep motive to the experience of things - environments, cultures, elements of environment, skies and heavens - without attention to immediate use

Considerations [A] and [B] above also imply that there should be an interaction among the levels of the pure-applied hierarchy. But no phase of the hierarchy should dominate other phases. “Applied” is not inferior to “pure”; and “pure” is not a mere tool for “applied” learning

[D] From [C] I conclude the need, in education for a balance between: [a] pure and applied learning; the point of balance will be determined by the specific program or class of programs; [b] breadth and specialization; [c] facts-information and patterns-concepts-methods; [d] knowledge-information and access to knowledge-information; this point requires, in addition to familiarity and experience with literature use and reference literature and data systems, familiarity with an organization or map of the whole of knowledge and of the situation of the individual specializations within this map

[E] From interaction-unity of individuals-wholes, I conclude that the best motivation to learning on a practical level is not a total concern with individual liberty and happiness but a combination of this individual concern with a concern for the inclusive hierarchy of cultural circles about the individual; that is, the best motivation is a proper form of patriotism. The best motivation arises from a keen and active desire to be part of the processes of society, of learning, of creation and criticism. These practical and human considerations of moral responsibility are balanced and complemented by the more universal considerations of beauty and self-perfection or excellence

This point is always significant. From the perspective of the decade 1980-1989, it is especially important

[F] The previous item is connected with the true nature of individual growth through the phases: natural-social-psychic/ inner/ conceptual-universal; and, through universal interest, with individual contribution to the interaction: knowledge " function and its growth


The primary questions of this section are: What are the constituent institutions o society, and what is their proper relation? How is this determined? The emphasis here is on learning which, as understood her, includes [1] primary learning from experience - again, not mere sense experience - of existence and through creative conceptual and other synthesis; and [2] secondary learning or education. Education includes experience in primary learning. So: learning includes education, research and creative synthesis

From general considerations of organizations of existence such as in Section 1, together with appropriate data, it may be possible to explain-derive the general structure and relations of social institutions. Here, instead, I assume the institutions and structure as given

2.1         A Model of Change

If the “elements”, structures and relations of the world, of the universe, have always existed as they are, then their existence has no explanation and their structures and relations have no functional explanation. To explain existence, genesis [of some type] is necessary. To explain function without circularity, without assuming its inevitability, genesis by selection from alternatives, is necessary. To explain the growth of each individual structural unit of existence without assuming inevitability, some controlling element or information is necessary. The information elements, too, must have had their genesis. Hence the model of change:

There is a partial analogy with biochemical evolution: DNA = information and protein = function. The analogy is not a full one. In the biochemical case there is no direct flow of information from protein to DNA: of course, selection of function results in selection of DNA. The analog, in social change, of the lack of direct flow from function to code is the insulation of culture from change by tradition - but this insulation, or isolation, is not as perfect in the case of social change

Here, I will not examine the relation of the various levels of change and the extent of the origins of later levels as structures built from earlier ones

2.2         The Constituent Elements of Social Structure

Learning is an institution involved with preservation, transmission and change or growth of information and knowledge. There are analogies with the bio-chemical case but these can be pushed too far. Rationality can be compared with structural requirements for successful mutations; perhaps experiment can be compared with embryonic development. The point, here, of making the analogy is not as a source of conclusions but to emphasize the dynamics of interaction between knowledge [culture] and social structure

I now turn to some conclusions regarding learning as an institution

2.3         Conclusions Regarding Learning as an Institution

The present discussion emphasizes higher education. From earlier considerations in this essay the following are evident:

[A] Over short time scales college and university learning should be responsive to the needs of: [a] society and its immediate problems, [b] government, [c] other transforming institutions and systems [learning itself, economic, technology...], and [4] client orientation [students, communities, other consulters...]

In other words, the institution of learning has responsibility to its applied aspects

[B] Over long time scales: the university must be an independent [but aware, responsible and balanced] actor in [or agent for]: [a] creating potential for development and responding to change in all dimensions of existence [natural, social, human-psychic, universal], and [b] understanding existing and determining/creating future needs and values

In these areas the university [learning] is to play a creative role. It is not merely a question of understanding current values [which were created in the past as a response to past conditions] nor is it merely a question of responding to public opinion - even though these factors are not to be ignored. Throughout the history of civilization qualitative human and social advance have come about through the ideas of original creative synthesizers. Some of these ideas, such as democracy, freedom, dignity which are regarded as commonplace [in concept] today, were originally difficult creative acts. Often, such ideas take millennia to develop and diffuse from the abstract phase into common action and practice

The university is the independent agent for and caretaker of knowledge. Within learning, an environment must be created which provides a buffer from the pressure of the short term, of special interest, and of the power invested in other institutions

This recalls, but is not dependent upon, the analogy with information processes of DNA (r) Protein chemistry. The fundamental information store of the structure-function system must be protected against disruption. And, despite built-in safeguards into the process of information-enhancement, the fundamentally new can only occur as a true information [conceptual, genetic] experiment and is finally subject to the test of experience [selection]

[C] From item [B] just above and the long-term unpredictability of problems, opportunities, emergence of potential, and development of knowledge are these considerations of learning and of isolation:

Pure, basic research and creative synthesis are fundamental tools and must be protected against undue influence from function - application and special interest

Yes, there are dangers of isolation...but, as pointed out above, [1] some isolation is necessary, and its proper use arises from aware, responsible, and balanced emphasis - and not from policing the university or institutions of learning; and [2] because of the final limitations of imagination and rationality as creative forms, and because experiment, risk, and error are necessary to avoid functional decay through information decay: trust must be placed in experiment and the self-limiting nature over isolation

[D] From previous considerations and, specifically, as a safeguard against over-isolation: education, research and creative synthesis must be interactive

2.4         Implications for Research Directions and Research Support

2.4.1        Science, Technology and Engineering Research

Discussion: Fundamental and applied studies are both important. There are, indeed, dangers of research into ultimate nature - not only in physical and biological realms but also in the social, human and universal; and these dangers appear in the scientific, artistic and poetic modes of learning. But these dangers must be accepted unless we are to accept mere existence: despite manifest imperfection, the alternative to a trust in some ability of humanity to live with ultimate meaning will result in mere fatalism. The evil empire and Pandora’s Box are not issues

Certainly, problems of use are basic. These problems are resolved by concentration with the institutions, especially within learning, and at the interface between institutions. Within learning, the humanities and creative artistic synthesis provide one medium for the resolution of these issues

Science should not crowd out humanities and art; modernism should not suppress the more primitive phases of being and human feeling - or the more universal

Due to the self-sustaining positive feedback nature of applied research and applied research funding - especially in technology and engineering - and the resultant skewing of criteria, the following effects occur:

[a] Reduction in institutional purchasing power - that is, the power of the university as an economic agent in support of its intrinsic mission: the agency and caretaker-ship of knowledge and culture. It will be argued against this that applied research funding increased the purchasing power of the university. This is true - but the power is not true because it is not balanced with respect to the true function of learning

[b] There is a resultant skewing in focus, when funding is dominantly from mission oriented agencies [DOD, etc.] and industries, toward the current, the near-term, and toward hardware

[c] There is a resulting detriment of basic, fundamental studies so essential to long-term strength. It is not merely that there is more funding in the near-term and hardware development areas. The emphasis on these areas means that, often, the best faculty and students and the institutional emphasis is drawn away from the basic and fundamental, and toward the mere applied. This results, in not only skewing of focus, but also skewing of prestige, influence, style, and concentration of decision power

[d] Just as there is a skewing of focus away from the fundamental within science, there is also a skewing away from creative artistic and human synthesis, from the humanities and social philosophy, toward the hard sciences

Conclusions: Separate funding and evaluating of basic research is essential. Principles of balance and mechanisms of implementation, not mere establishment of agencies, are essential and must be developed

2.4.2        Humanities

These include creative artistic and human synthesis - the source of art, poetry the universal impulse and meaning. Also included: religion, philosophy which spans over into science, and social philosophy

Comments can be made about the humanities in relation to the sciences that are analogous to the relation between basic and applied sciences within science. Compared to the humanities, science is more hardware, near-term oriented. To repeat what I said above: science should not crowd out the humanities; modernism should not suppress the more primitive phases of being and of human feeling - or the more universal; and analysis and intellect should not displace synthesis and feeling

As a result of the skewing of economics, influence, style and power: too often, in the humanities, the endeavor of creative synthesis is reduced to immediate function, to supplementary education, and to justification of existing social norms and sentiments instead of creation of new forms and opening out into the variability and unpredictability of the future, and instead of feeling and intuitive exploration in \to the full spectrum of the phases of being

There is an ancient debate, likely dating back to the early development of human beings, between the conservators of the norm and the true maverick whose interest is outside the pale of social reality. Other words for maverick are shaman, priest, pontifex, poet, philosopher - and the philosopher scientist, especially in their liberating, perceiving modes. From time to time these mavericks enter into the arena of social approval. For the most part they are viewed with mistrust. But we know: they are responsible for the advance of civilization and of humanity

Conclusions Regarding Humanities: These are similar in structure to the earlier conclusions regarding science, technology and engineering: principles f balance and mechanisms of implementation regarding the separate funding and evaluating of the humanities are essential and must be developed

But: surely, it is not being suggested that funding formulas, mechanisms for implementation, etc., will provide what may be lacking in human leadership? This is true. Proper funding policy is one element of a full approach to balance and propriety in the Institution of Learning. But, it often seems as thought the myriad of great voices speaking through the offices of all our modern institutions do not adequately address the belabored problems of modern an and of modern civilization. Who will speak effectively to these problems - and to the potential which lies beyond the problems? We face again the problems of completeness and of human determinism. There are no ultimate guarantees. The ultimate resolution of this dilemma is to be in process. But surely, within, the real constraints of unpredictability and human indeterminism, there is, when all looks negative and grey, somewhere to look to? Individual can look within themselves and to their powers of courage, patience and inspiration. Beyond this, thee is the suggestion in the discussion on “Democracy, Elitism and Individual Action” at the end of this section. Addressing the individual, that discussion puts responsibility on the human individual and suggests the nature of responsibility and action. Putting this potential for individual human action together with the ways and powers of perception of the poet, the artist and the philosopher and scientist: we have something of real human power - the powers of true perception, understanding and experiment

Humanities in Education: Humanities must be an essential part of the programs of all client-students in higher education. Although this is obvious to some, the form that learning in humanities will or should take is not clear or agreed upon. Further comments and implications are recorded below in “Government Action”, and in Sections 4 and 5

2.4.3        Government Action

The comment regarding government action apply within the existing institutional structures. However, some objectives remain the same for other actors. A few comments that apply to individual actors are in the section “Democracy, Elitism and Individual Action. Here, I will add some observations which connect individual action with group or government action; and which connect immediate action with long-term objectives and distant vision. The apparent impotency of individual action is due to [1] expectation of immediate response, [2] lack of preparation and, especially, action without focus on, or development of, values and understanding, and [3] self-isolation of the individual from their context

The following comments are made in the context of government [Federal, State, local...] support and funding of university systems. “Government” can be read as “group”, and “university” as “Institution of Learning”

General Requirements; what government should supply

Resources for the university as an independent caretaker and agency for knowledge: [The caretaker function is “conservative” and service oriented while the agency function is liberal and growth/evolution oriented.] I hold this extended democratic ideal as a value conducive to rational human and institutional action. There is potential for abuse of this system, as there is potential for abuse of all democracy, but I hold that the ideal system of relations is one in which all actors - individuals, institutions, etc. - are independent, imaginative, responsible, critical and communicating

In this connection, national power - any concentration of power - is often the victim of its own strength: all greatness is based in past action and achievement and in the sense of this action and achievement, and so can lead to over-conservatism. The problem of perception and understanding here is that the strength of this type of conservatism is in its blindness

Stability against [at least]: [a] fluctuations in short-term demand for the services of universities which result in fluctuations in resources generated by payment for such services, and [b] over-dependence on hardware and short-term commitments and financing

Science, Technology and Engineering

Support should be based on review of continuing and changing function. Some considerations have been given earlier in this section. Further details are considered in Section 4


As noted earlier, the humanities in higher education have a special function which cannot be measured quantitatively and cannot be realized by mere funding formulas

I will consider the implications in two stages

Adequate material support is the bare minimum. This covers the essential contribution of humanities in general education; the ongoing production of graduates of programs in humanities are required for the standard occupations within society; for education at all levels, historians and philosophers in government/policy analysis, resources in the arts at community and national levels, and so on

Additionally there should be special provision for development of the human powers addressed above. As understood here, these human powers include: feeling, rational, thinking and intuitive exploration in to the full spectrum of the phases of knowing and existence in their primitive, modern and universal aspects. They include all ways and powers of perception, understanding, experiment, and action. The modern disciplines include: religion, art, history, philosophy [which spans over into science and the symbolic disciplines - of language, logic and mathematics], and social philosophy

Provision for this development requires: proper or conducive environments and the creation of occasions or positions for such development. In some cases experiment in the creation of appropriate environment is needed. Environment will require that the basic functions of humanities be adequately recognized and supported; “occasions” will require establishment of special positions. Total support of these positions need not be a large fraction of total university system support. It is more important that the support of the positions be definite and stable: this will go toward “environment”, material (r) symbolic appreciation of the value of the endeavor being supported, and attraction and creation of gifted leaders and talented students

Two issues arise. First, whether creative exploration and experiment of the type considered here can actually be fostered as suggested above: there is no doubt that the suggested approach is a proper one. It is an element in the establishment of many [not all - some situations are fortuitous] successful centers of creative learning. No doubt, some experimental endeavors of this type will be more successful and others less so - this is the essential cost of experimental exploration in the creative realm. Continuing coordination and learning through experience at some level above that of the single institution [state or national system and government, etc.] is necessary for effectiveness

The second issue is the one of abuse. This is clearly a real possibility and it is not realistic to expect complete lack of abuse. The general issue of abuse within democratic institutional processes has been considered above where it was pointed out that independent individual and institutional frameworks for creation and action are necessary - and ideal - for effective resolution of abuse and fostering of creative search. Again, the best planning must be at levels above that of the single institution

The type of environment and the type of position in question will not be restricted to the humanities. This follows from the intrinsic needs of the sciences and engineering as well as from the lack of final distinction between the humanities-arts and science-engineering. At least three bridges from the humanities to the sciences can be shown. [1] From the organic concept of the humanities as including “all ways and powers of perception, understanding, experiment and action [action includes expression and communication]”; that is, as including all modes and contents of human knowledge and existence, it follows that the sciences are, in essence, a part of the humanities. The apparent separation arises from the sciences being a very specialized aspect, having specialized methods and criteria, and from usually being conducted in separate academic divisions - and from the resulting divisional dogma/identity. However the specialties are derived, originally, from processes within the humanities and, therefore, “specialized” does not have the same meaning as “peculiar” or “separate”. [2] Another way of showing the same connection is through the historical development of philosophy: the sciences arose as branches of philosophy. Additionally, modern philosophy is connected to the sciences through its role in foundational studies. Finally, [3] the uses and value of science can be studied as topics in social-ethical philosophy

2.4.4        Level of Decisions

While the majority of university positions are created at the institutional level and filled at divisional levels, the special positions discussed above are best created and filled at higher levels. For example: policy regarding the positions and some of the positions could be created at Federal or State level; thee positions would be distributed among constituent institutions; other positions would be created and filled at institutional levels, such as the university level with input from divisional levels. Functions of this approach:

[A] As discussed above, for proper establishment of successful centers and occasions of creative learning with low levels of misuse

[B] The need to have some individuals work at more global, universal levels of knowledge and exploration. As a balance for or antidote to specialization. As a means of integrating the specialties so as to produce more unified understanding

But: this is one of the roles of philosophy. However, modern Anglo-American philosophy has become highly specialized and analytic in some circles, while the general form has, in other environments, been having something of an identity crisis. Therefore, there is a significant function to creating positions - within and outside of divisions of philosophical study - which will be chairs or fellowships for universal study. The “universe” of this study need not be a physical or metaphysical universe, but could also be the “universe” of human knowledge and its criteria, methods and organizations

[C] Proper management of the economic aspects of such programs

[D] To permit development of the school system as including preparation not merely for higher education but also for full appreciation for general and advanced education/learning in the humanities as understood here

[E] Establishment of need or the lack of need for tenure in these special positions and, should a need be established, criteria for tenure

The considerations in establishment of tenure and its criteria are: the functions of positions in balance with keeping abuse at low levels; and establishing parity between tenure in the regular and the special positions         Arena of Decisions

There is a problem of undue effect in education/learning due to special interest and from decision without understanding

This is an aspect of democratic decision making. The resolution of these problems is often through consultation with expert opinion during the political process. As pointed out in the discussion “Democracy, Elitism and Individual Action” at the end of this section, this is necessary but not sufficient

It may therefore be necessary for educators, workers in the field of learning, individually or in groups, to enter into the political process as citizens or groups of citizens. This is problematic and does not fit neatly into preconceptions of immaculate political and institutional process. But it is essential. What is needed above the prevalent mutual criticism of political process is mutual enhancement: where all actors enter into responsible, creative-imaginative and cooperative endeavor

2.4.5        Economics and Resource Issues

The objective here is to itemize the concerns

2.4.6        Areas of Decision

What are the resource needs and [rational] wants for learning? What amount of total resource can or should be allotted to learning? What are the categories of [1] resource and [2] learning; and how will the allotment be distributed among these categories? How will these decisions be made and implemented?

In considering large-scale change, a conceptual-philosophical framework for human-social interactions and the content/nature of knowledge is manifestly necessary; economic and resource analysis will occur within this framework. When considering incremental change, the conceptual framework is not explicitly needed for economic analysis. However, there can be no interaction between overall values and objective without a conceptual framework. Therefore, such a framework should be considered before taking up economics and resource issues. This explains part of the ordering of topics in this essay

In the following, emphasis is on the “post secondary” aspects of learning; that is, on higher education, research and creative synthesis

2.5         What is Higher Education?

The boundary between basic [elementary and secondary] and higher education is conveniently associated with the distinction, in a given society, between basic adult function - the level of function which every adult should have to be self-supporting - and skilled, professional, creative functions

2.5.1        Divisions of Higher Education and Learning

It is important, when planning for programs and program changes, to also consider the conditions necessary for proper environment in addition to instruction

2.5.2        Factors for Decision


Nature and divisions of higher education, research and creative synthesis

Functions of higher learning in social and cultural continuity vs. functions in transition

Areas of continuity and transition: natural-social-human-universal

Demographic/Quantitative: Current Data and Projections

Size and distribution of population; total, and according to classes [e.g., ethnic]

Size and distribution of economy; total, and according to classes [type of industry, income, etc.]

Land area

Quantitative and Qualitative

Effect of learning [education, research and creative synthesis] on population and economy

Type of economy, degree of development

Cooperative relations with other economic geopolitical units

Competitive relations with other units

2.5.3        Methods: Analysis and Implementation

Analysis: tradition, function (r) structure/process, need/value [value = want, opportunity...], modification, learning/adaptive, conceptual

Implementation: incremental/decrement and program/conceptual         Democracy, Elitism and Individual Action

One role of the expert is understanding and advice. A related role is the communication between the Institution of Learning and the political process

Earlier, I showed the need for the independence of the Institution of Learning from other processes. The implication was that this independence would enhance the potency of Learning as an institution among other institutions. That is not contradicted by the present position which is a claim that institutional power is limited in relation to human power - and is enhanced by independent exercise of human power; and: full human power is not, and cannot be, maintained by institutional structures. Rather, independent exercise of individual human power is required to maintain institutional adaptability and to: fully resolve human issues, maintain individual self-worth, and develop potential. Given this independent human action, the institution provides a framework for group action

Clearly there is no such thing as absolute expertise. A safeguard against elitism - concentration of power in the circle of the intellectual elite - is a careful adherence to principles and procedures of democracy, self-government

The converse problem is the dilution of understanding, knowledge and information. A partial safeguard against this is in the institution of a proper general or liberal education in the humanities and the sciences. Enhanced powers of prediction among the general population reduce dependency on special expertise; and, enhanced powers of understanding among the general population reduce the risk in referral to specialized experts. However, this safeguard is not sufficient: creation/analysis and appreciation are different

A further safeguard is academic freedom - the equivalent of freedom of speech among experts and in the universities. Free discussion among academic equals reduces the potential for bias of opinion by special and improper interests. This is enhanced by appropriate degrees of access [I refer to access itself and not to its regulation] to academic process. However, the provision of academic freedom implies a necessary limitation on its power - of the individual within the process and of the institutions - to fully advocate, develop and implement the ideas

I summarize: the inherent limitations of expertise, the provision of freedom within the academic process, and the necessary limitation of this freedom, imply an institutional structure within which ideas and their consequences are not brought to their highest development

The full solution, within the framework of human limitation, is only possible when the academic, the expert, recognizes himself or herself as a full citizen. When academics are willing to be independent of or give up the protection of the institution, and step into the open world, they are free to develop and support their understanding and belief to the full extent of their human potential and to gain support in this endeavor. In the final analysis it does not matter whether the potential is developed within the institution. The academic must be willing to give up the one-dimensionality of the institutional career path and to realize him or herself in the full arena of human and individual action


In this section development of and development within institutions of learning will be considered. In connection with “development of” I will review the idea of experimental development. Development within institutions will be discussed in relation to an incremental model or approach to development. Additionally, paths for the incremental development of new concepts or disciplines are show

Before turning to these main objectives of this section, I insert a preliminary review of some information which will define the context of development

3.1         The Context of Development

The following information has been considered, at least in part, in Sections 1 and 2

3.1.1        The Range of Knowledge

Not all knowledge is associated with institutions of learning. Not all modes of expression are well represented in these institutions. Some of these omissions are necessary, some are appropriate, others are deficiencies. In some cases, bodies of knowledge may be appropriately expressed by a mode other than the most natural one. This is a source of integration, and of learning by analogy. Thee issues have been briefly considered in the earlier sections

The limitation with regard to mode of expression is that primary emphasis is placed on the human-cultural modes. Clearly, there must be some interest in other modes - such as the animal and the universal. The limitation with regard to content is one of cultural significance. These limitations are practical rather than being limitations of principle

The practical limitation is to the phase of knowledge which is significant in maintaining and in changing: environmental-social-cultural-human organization, relations, and awareness. In other words, it is the phase concerned with: expression, communication, understanding, exploration, and change

3.1.2        Change

The following basis, or outline model for change has been discussed: the processes and structures of society are maintained by a cyclic system of interactions between knowledge and function

The absence of decay of information/function, such a system could well be self-maintaining. However, due to errors in the cyclic self-maintaining process and due to changes in the environment/creation of opportunities, such systems are not self-maintaining. Adaptive change/evolution comes about through changes in the system. Models of change which require all adaptation to be on the basis of “knowing”/understanding”/”predicting” the nature of decay or of environmental change are complex and do not allow for emergence of new elements of existence-as-perceived. Such models require [1] a future that is determined by the present - at least a partial determination, and [2] an at-least partial knowledge of this determined aspect of existence. The simplest - and therefore [potentially] most inclusive - model is one in which the future is not determined by the preset; there are multiple futures consistent with the present - at least with most states of existence. There are numerous outcomes - and only those which satisfy constraints of self-consistency survive. Of all such models, the simplest are those in which the elementary changes are completely unrelated to [or random with respect to] the requirements of structural consistency. Through adaptation a subset of - at lest apparently - deterministic processes are built up. Actuality becomes a mix of random/undetermined and determined processes... Teleology is the mind’s valid apprehension of the determinate phase of existence. The mistake of the mind is to read universal determinism from the developed phases of determinate behavior. It is entirely within the realm of conception for [1] a non-teleological/indeterminate universe to evolve into t teleological/determinate one, and [2] for a universe in a determinate phase to evolve/devolve/decay into an indeterminate one. As presently understood, however, the simplest - and the only unitary/uniform - foundation/explanation of all these possibilities/phases of existence is through random-indeterminism and mechanistic selection. As the universe, existence, and life evolve into more determinate phases, the primitive processes of trial and error do not die and remain “needed”: rationality or reason and rational experiment must be supplemented by pure experiment

Some significant modes of change in knowledge are:

Records of successful and unsuccessful changes in the socio-cultural system and in other systems of society/culture: free cultural experiments and records of such experiments

Conceptual/information changes in relation to the use of knowledge; mutual conditioning of the subject-object sides of knowledge

Free conceptual/information changes in the realms of nature, society, mind-psyche, and the universe: free conceptual experiments. Inclusion of mind among the realms implies development in the relations of thought - that is, in rationality. So conceptual/rations selection is included

3.1.3        Spectrum of Institutions/Functions

A spectrum has been presented in the discussion of “Economics and Resource Issues” in Section 2. The range considered there is:

Research and creative synthesis

Education for research and creative synthesis

Liberal education and humanities

Science education

Professional education/other application-oriented functions

Trade and skill

Transition to higher education/learning

3.2         Experiments in Institutional Development

I now consider experiments in the development of institutions and systems of institutions

3.2.1        Groupings of Functions

Most institutions incorporate a number of functions. The mission of the institution will define the group of functions. A range of missions may be identified. For large systems of institutions a structured range of missions may be identified and the individual institutions arranged accordingly. The objective of the range will be to cover all the identified/needed/desired functions; the objective of the structure will be to perform this overall function efficiently and to satisfy other requirements and constraints. These other requirements and constraints include: the democratic function of education - bringing education, higher education to a high proportion of the population; addressing the resulting wide range of student talent and orientation toward education

An example of a large system of institutions is the higher education system of the State of California. Needs were identified in the State’s Master Plan for Higher Education and a range of missions was defined. This range is defined in the California Education Code, V.3 Title 8: Post Secondary Education. Three systems were defined: the University of California system, the California State University system, and the California Community Colleges

The missions:

University of California: the State’s centers of learning, research and creative synthesis; education for research and synthesis - the constituent institutions are the only public institutions in the state which will have the authority to grant doctoral degrees; professional education - the only public institutions to offer degrees in law and medicine; education and training of the highest talent range

California State University: secondary centers of learning; education oriented: higher education access - Bachelor’s and Mater’s programs; the mid-talent range; research consistent with educational objectives

California Community Colleges: trade and skill professions; Associate’s degrees; transition to higher education; adult education experience

The California Master Plan for Higher Education should be regarded as an experiment in the grouping of institutions of higher - post secondary - learning. Need for change arises from: what is learned from implementation and experience, and from changing economic, cultural and demographic circumstances. The State plan for higher education [learning] remains under review of the California Post Secondary Committee and the Education Committees of the State Legislature

3.2.2        Alternate and Multiple Groupings of Functions

Plans have inadequacies. Two may be identified here: conceptual and circumstantial. Examples of conceptual inadequacy: mistakes or lacks in understanding the nature and functions of learning and education; and of circumstantial inadequacy: a plan that meets the needs of urban centers and urban culture may not best address the requirements of rural and semi-urban environments

Brief commentary on the California Master Plan: [1] Conceptual problems: there is indication that the plan encourages the fragmentation of learning. It does so in separating research/synthesis from education. The result is a narrow understanding of the functions of learning as a whole and narrow perspectives within the disciplines. The short-term functions are appreciated but the long-term, global ones are depreciated - even when they are explicitly recognized; and [2] Problems of circumstance: some of the state’s California state University campuses are in semi-urban or rural environments. These environments would benefit by having some of the University of California functions built into the local California state University charter - but this is not possible under the existing framework. At the same time, economic development and population for the areas in question do not justify establishment of a new local university

It remains true that the existing systems do meet certain of the State’s significant development and education needs. This value may be preserved by preserving, for the present, the existing institutions and framework. The effectiveness with which these systems perform these tasks may be questioned but these questions may be addressed within the existing framework

The issues raised here may be resolved by permitting alternative groupings of function - either as separate institutions or as experimental parts of existing institutions. Such alternative institutions will be experimental. Depending on their success, they will establish themselves more permanently or be discarded or modified into conventional or still new form

What is needed at any one time is multiple systems of functional groups. One of the systems may be the dominant one. Alternate systems or institutions will address the needs of change or sub-dominant geopolitical divisions. The alternate systems will be candidates for transition to “dominant” status; at the same time they will provide empirical basis for reevaluation of the dominant system...Because of the different systems of needs there may be a need, at any given time, for entitlement of more than one system of function groupings

Examples: I now consider some examples of alternative, experimental forms

3.2.3        Work with both special and general problems is important

This may be carried out in the multifunction institutions or in special purpose ones

Specialized institutions encourage individual development

3.2.4        A Specific Experiment in Institutional Synthesis

This example addresses the issues of fragmentation of [1] the processes [and disciplines] of learning, and [2] the process of learning from its uses. The comments to follow are made in view of the earlier discussions of the need for the Institution of Learning to have a definite independence from other institutions. Too much insistence on proximity of learning to its uses destroys the creative element necessary to long-term vitality and use. But: applied learning is also essential. These apparently contradictory needs are satisfied by having a hierarchy of degrees of connection between learning and its uses. Hence the schools of arts and sciences are the one hand, and the professional schools on the other. In the long term the use of pure learning is direct; in the short term a primary mode of application is through the professional schools. Of course, the institution can be too rigid about these things and, within the general emphases, all sorts of useful exceptions and interactions may occur. [History itself is not neat. Certainly, in the origins, application and knowledge were fused; and the separation of knowledge/information and function was useful. But the process did not involve development of a neat hierarchy of degrees of application. An example: some of the Greek schools of mathematics and philosophy were quite separated from application and experience - at least in their explicit emphasis, for no human embodiment can be actually separated from experience. As a result, the Greeks developed powerful though somewhat rigid systems of understanding. The later development of Western thought - in its pure and in its applied modes - draws its dominant historical inspiration from the Greeks.]

In modern institutions there is a sense of anarchist isolation of some of the disciplines and of the pure and applied modes. Though not universal, this is pervasive. No doubt, this is in part due to the very success of the modern West and its institutional system. At the same time, strength is based in the past; for the future there is a need for communication and flexibility. The communication could be to a new social order which will replace the present one; this is one of the ways of evolution - the way in which the Greek heritage has been preserved. But, for preservation of the modern system - for actual continuity, the communication and flexibility must include a strong internal phase

There are trends of communication among the specializations - and elements of adaptation and flexibility; and there are movements of integration. But the dominant mode is the one which gives modernity its strength: specialism. There are significant elements of relation to be developed: the relation and original-unity-flowering-into-diversity of: awareness-of-change, symbol-object, existence - its dimensions or phases, knowledge-function, humanities-sciences, the disciplines. With strength and success, or with complacence, these useful-interactive diversities have decayed into specialism

It would be wrong to discard these specialisms on the basis of these arguments, for they do represent strength - even if the foundations are insecure. In the vagaries of history, some isolated group in a dark corner of some dusty university may spark the torch that burns through time

Yet, adaptability is important - it has been one of the essential marks of humanity - and there is a continuing need for powerful alternatives

The Experiment: I am working on the concept and organization of an experimental group: the Horizon Research Institute. The central purposes are: [1] Understanding the nature of human society, change and values in a global, environmental, universal framework; also understanding the uses of this understanding, action and planning - the transition from understanding to action, and learning from this process. [2] Uses of these various aspects of understanding in goal setting [relative to values], planning and implementing change, and learning. There is no bias toward centralized or formal-discretized planning. In those situations in which minimal, informal planning are found to be proper, or when free experiment is found to be appropriate, even in the evaluation of the situations, the goal - when there is an existing bias to over planning or over formalization - will be a freeing up into the natural way. Understanding these various situations and appropriate responses will be a key - even if the understanding implies that the present objectives are “unnatural”. This would be somewhat paradoxical, for the human world essentially revolves about understanding; that is: understanding is one of the axes of the human-social world. A call to give up the processes of understanding would be a call to end human society - a call which would assume the futility of the human endeavor. A key “assumption” of the human world is that understanding is significant

Similarly, the key assumption of the present experiment is that the system of supra-understanding in question - an understanding that includes not merely an object world but also the worlds of understanding itself, of mind, of action and learning processes - is valuable. Although, for practical reasons, the activity will assume some form, no final assumption of the nature, form, bias, degree of pervasion of the system of understanding-planning-action-learning is made. The process will be analytical, intuitive-synthetic, and experimental

Based on the discussion so far, it is clear that knowledge and its relation to use are essential elements of the human-social-cultural process. I have discussed and reemphasized the value of a pure-applied hierarchy. The group will preserve this hierarchy and at the same time emphasize the dynamic interaction[s] within knowledge and understanding and in the adaptive process: knowledge-action-learning

One of my objectives is that the group will work against the distortions of the anarchist tendencies of modern - twentieth century - learning. Those anarchist tendencies which emphasize the mere ego - the dark side of anarchy, the side associated with destruction without understanding, destruction for its own sake, for mere self-assertion

The syntheses which will be held as ideal are: [1] the group will work on the concept of knowledge and its uses. This will involve synthesis of diverse elements of knowledge and its uses. This will involve synthesis of diverse elements of knowledge into a unitary view - as far as is reasonably developed - in addition to an interest in certain disciplines. These will include the disciplines which may be used for their potential, among their other elements, to provide frameworks for synthesis: philosophy, evolutionary science, metaphysics and others. The synthesis will naturally include a view of learning and its institutions. This view will - informally and, as appropriate, formally - be applied in the planning and operation of the Institute. [2] The functions of the group will include a hierarchy of levels of application. For this, it will be appropriate to include study of or access to information in certain disciplines

The most abstract levels will be concerned with metaphysical and epistemological questions. The most practical will be concerned with immediate and/or local problems of humanity. Other modes of practical and esoteric/abstract activity - including those discussed in this essay - will be included as appropriate

Conversation, communication among the groups will not be forced; but selection of the members of the group and sub-groups will be based on competence in a specific field as well as a general interest in, openness to other areas of application or inquiry and other levels in the pure-applied hierarchy. Consideration will be given to powers to imagination, criticism and communication; and to integration of these powers. [It is my reasoned understanding that] these circumstances will lead to mutually enhancing communication among the areas and the levels - and to the contribution of the Institute as a whole

As pointed out above, the contribution will be in the general areas of understanding, knowledge, and value and human-social transformation. Inclusion of “human” is significant - it implies a point of view which is not merely pragmatic. Throughout the history of civilization there has been a growth in the concept of what it is to be human - human possibility, human worth, human freedom...Of course, for such growth to have actual value it must not be merely conceptual. There must come a period when it becomes empirical. “Human-social transformation” implies, then, not only transformation of society according to current systems of value, but also a transformation of value itself - a transformation which recognizes humanity as an element in the orders of existence, the orders of nature-social-mind-universal

For flexibility in organization and to further institutional experiment, the initial size of the group will be limited

Initially, the group will not have a formal system of education. However, a system of apprenticeship and of mutual learning will be encouraged. In addition to informal communication - which will be essential - formal and semiformal seminars will be a means for mutual learning and communication

Formal interaction with the world will be through [1] recruitment of semi-permanent/permanent and short-term staff; [2] provision of educated individuals; [3] publication of concepts, syntheses, analysis, empirical and other findings in reports, articles, monographs and books, internal/external seminars, workshops, and meetings; [4] consultation; and [5] applied works

This is not the place to discuss further aspects such as detailed conceptual analysis, theoretical and applied areas of emphasis, plans for establishment and development of support. Further information, in detailed form, is yet unpublished and will be made available as progress becomes formal

3.2.5        An Example from California Higher Education

This example concerns the uniform application of California’s State Master Plan for Higher Education. I briefly indicated earlier that, despite the positive features of the plan, its uniform application is open to question. Specifically, the application of the concept of division of the mission of higher education and learning into the partially distinct missions of the University of California system, the California state University system, and the California Community Colleges is problematic for the state’s semi-urban, semi-rural, rural, and natural resource areas

Background: The California North Coast, as understood here, is a 300-mile coastal zone from Santa Rosa, California - North of San Francisco - to the Oregon border. The population of the area exceeds 200,000. It is served by a North-South highway; State Route 101, and a number of East-West highways. The area includes rugged coastal mountains, numerous rivers and river valleys, and strips of coastal plain. Toward the North it resembles the Pacific Northwest in climate and terrain. Natural resources include forest, water, fisheries, and ocean. The economy of the region is based in forest resources, fisheries, farmlands, and tourism

The higher education, information, and research/consulting needs of the region are served by a campus of the California state University system - Humboldt state University, located in Arcata, 290 miles North of San Francisco. Additional, specialized needs for information may be served by divisional offices of various Federal and State agencies, and by private concerns and industries

The Problem: A need has been felt, with regard to education access, information and research facilities and services, for a University of California campus to be established in the region. Among the functions of the proposed campus: issues of resource use and conservation, decision and policy in these areas, and local influence in decision and policy. The economic and demographic impact of a new campus is also a concern - and has been viewed both negatively and positively. Regardless of the basis for and evaluation of the need and value, the existing demographic factors of the region may be unable to support a new campus

Resolution: I have suggested that the real needs of the region could be met by upgrading the level of the local campus - Humboldt state University. A primary advantage would be that any negative impact of a new campus on the low population region would be avoided or minimized. Additionally, the existence of significant facilities in natural resources at Humboldt state University and the experience of the university personnel in local-regional issues provide a base for further development. Enhancing the research facility would require [1] enhancing the mission of the university to permit basic research, and [2] permitting the autonomous granting of doctoral degrees. This will require modification of the university charter as defined in the California Education Code. While it is true that the university does perform significant research [consistent with the mission of education - as specified in the Education Code], enhanced status would provide additional personnel and time allocated to the research, consultation, policy functions and increased ability to attract personnel and support for the information functions of research, consultation, and policy

3.3         Closing Comments: Experimental Development of Institutions

The basis of the discussion has been [1] range of knowledge, [2] models of change, and [3] the range or spectrum of functions. “Foundation” and appropriate aspects of these considerations have been treated in Sections 1 and 2 and in the introduction to the present section. In applying these considerations to the development of institutions, it has been convenient to consider the mission of learning or of an institution; for any system of institutions, the missions of the constituent institutions or groups of institutions should cover the total mission. There is always more than one way in which this covering can be done. Because of [1] uncertainties in any idea of “best” or “good” covering, and [2] variations in the quality of the need and demand for learning, it may be appropriate to establish more than one covering

3.3.1        Development within Institutions

For effective analysis and understanding of development of learning within institutions, it is necessary to elaborate the details of the functions. This is done below. [This elaboration is applicable - and will be applied - to development of engineering research and programs in Section 4, where further details of the functions will be discussed.]

A second objective of the present discussion of development within institutions is to consider a model of incremental development. It is not implied that incremental and experimental development are exclusive - the approach here is a combination of the two

3.3.2        Basis of Development: The Functions

The purpose, as stated above, is to consider some of the functions in further detail         Research

Conditions for good research: detailed considerations have been given elsewhere. The basic considerations are: it is not necessary to provide detailed direction in research [except, depending on the qualities of the individual, during training]; nor is it necessary to apply a detailed psychology of creativity - these approaches might even be counterproductive. Based on experience in research management, conditions for good research are established by: [1] effective hiring, [2] provision of an environment conducive to research - facilities, work conditions, support, etc., [3] very general direction, and - for applied, team research - proper selection of research areas and projects, and [4] motivation. In addition to factors of environment and selection of topics, the contribution of the research to regional, national and global effort is significant. This latter point goes against some phases of current wisdom which emphasize motivation at the individual level. The present view is that the individual and global levels of motivation are not incompatible - except according to certain fashions - and that the dual approach in motivation is most effective and necessary

The pure-applied hierarchy / interaction is important in effective research and creative synthesis, as are disciplinary integration. These factors are also significant in enhancing a more global perspective         Education

All higher education should experience the boundary between developed and developing knowledge. This applies to content and method

It is essential to consider the developmental needs of a range of student orientations. Consideration of development after the student leaves the program is important. Further details are in Section 4

Modes of education are significant: lecture, tutorial, laboratory, field experience, etc. should be balanced         Education and Research: The Interaction

Education and research are often seen as different. As discussed earlier, they may be seen as phases of the same activity. Human society maintains its structure against decay, and transforms its structure in response to change and opportunity. A key element in this process is knowledge - and the development of knowledge. Education is the process of initiating and training “young” members of society in these processes. In the beginning, of course, exposure is to the elementary and the known - but even this may be questioned. The minds of the very young are most plastic and it may well be that early initiation should include the boundaries of culture and its elements of arbitrariness. Certainly, “all higher education should experience the boundary between developed and developing knowledge and the ideas of the conventional, the real, and the relations of subject and object.”

The detailed analysis of these issues cannot be definite - it must include questions of value and uncertainty. A factor in the analysis will be: balance between maintaining and transforming social structure

It is necessary to move away from educational “techniques” and neat processes; to move towards real content and real processes. This definitely applies to higher education. The only debate can be: to what extent does it apply to basic education?

The conclusions above are affirmed by student evaluations made in the long term. They are confirmed by experience with instruction over phases of the educational careers of students

Absolute confirmation of the conclusions is probably not systematically possible. However, historical study of cases suggests that the flowering and sustenance of civilization is dependent on the implicit inclusion of these principles in the development of culture         People, Ideas

People: Development of teaching-research personnel is significant. Some details are given in Section 4. The personnel should be involved in the process of cultural learning - learning at the boundaries of accepted knowledge. This is part of a definition of research and, from the discussions above; it also follows for personnel assigned only to “teaching”

Mobility in conceptual development of personnel will be enhanced when they are involved in the collective development. Some of the suggestions in the discussion of incremental development [below] are applicable to this involvement

Ideas and Concepts: Development of ideas and concepts has been discussed earlier in Sections 1 and 2, and in the present section         The Process of Incremental Development

The process of problem solving, formalized by John Dewey, in which a problem and its solution are discrete entities, is somewhat artificial. [When the boundary between problem and solution is admitted as indistinct, problem solving includes creative process.] Problems has indistinct boundaries. They evolve, interact, phase into one another and mix with the development of opportunity and potential. Incremental development is an aspect of ongoing, interacting problem solving/evolution

A significant amount of development of and within institutions is incremental - and is not exclusive of experimental, conceptual development. Experimental/conceptual refers to a guiding principle, while incremental implies modification or addition rather than replacement. Of course, the boundary between additive change and replacement change is not distinct. We can regard incremental change as change by slow, small degrees in which the cumulative effect of the degrees may be significant, replacement, qualitative

A framework and bases for adaptive change has been discussed in Sections 1 and 2 and in the present section. Further, some of the examples discussed under “Experiments in Institutional Development” are incremental I nature

Restriction to incremental development often results from the constraints under which programs and institutions operate. Additionally, widespread adoption of new concepts without “testing” is often not advisable. Such adoption may be destabilizing and is effective when instability is desired or exists

A rational process for adoption of concepts through incremental development is:

Phase 1: Adoption of anew concept on a small scale within an appropriate institutions or program. The source of the concept may be an indicated need or an idea

Phase 2: Observation or testing of operation and, based on response, expansion, equilibrium or down scaling

Phase 3: As a result of continued expansion: institution of new programs and institutions based on the concept

Phase 4: Repetitions of Phases 2 and 3

Institutions have a responsibility to provide an environment where experimentation is encouraged at various levels. Government has a responsibility to support and encourage such experiments in development at institutional levels for groups of institutions. [Based in the nature of social structure/change as elaborated here, and assuming institutionalization of the structures and processes, then: with government as the central decision system, and with the Institution of Learning as the “caretaker” and “agent for knowledge and information, the conclusions follow naturally.]

Further considerations and examples are discussed in Sections 4 and 5         Paths of Incremental Development: Higher Education

A number of paths for the incremental development of a concept or a discipline are shown below. I use the example of science, engineering and technology. [Other examples could have been explored: myth, culture, philosophy is a further example.]

Figure 4: Paths of Incremental Development in Science, Technology and Engineering

The existence of direct paths between science and technology implies only the absence of labeled engineering activity

Although initiatives for policy and action can come from anywhere - either within or outside of the system of interactions - the interactions themselves are significant determinants of policy and decision

It is not possible to confine the general-philosophical-social discussion to Part I. These elements will arise naturally in Part II, interwoven with the specific-technical elements




In this section I list considerations and conclusions for engineering programs of education and research. In view of detailed discussion of some of the topics - from a general point of view - in earlier sections, the discussion here may be brief

In the first two subsections, 4.1 and 4.2, I discuss engineering programs and curricula. In 4.3, I take up implications for a national program of development in engineering education and research. The ideas and principles of this section may also be applied to other planning units

4.1         Engineering Programs

4.1.1        Engineering in the Context of Society

The Context: The transformations brought about through engineering/technology are in the natural/environmental-social-human/mental-feeling realms. There is an evolution here. Two hundred years ago, the realm of operation of technology was primarily in transformation at the natural [physical and later biological] level - with effects in the other realms. When principles of architecture and urban/rural/regional planning became formalized, the ideas and methods of engineering moved into the social realm. With computer and information technology, the mental realm becomes accessible to engineering

Thus, in addition to the immediately practical concerns of engineering and technology, there is also an explicit effect on the longer term evolution of culture and society. These effects should be considered when planning for engineering education and research development

Concern with the Whole Cycle of resource exploration/idetnification/creation-development-production-use-waste-treatment is important. To repeat, the human-social-global/evolutionary aspects of these elements are important

4.1.2        Engineering Functions

The Functions: Research, development, production/operations, technical/professional services, information systems/processing, marketing and sales, and administration and finance

Research Orientations: The following activities are listed in order of decreasing orientation toward research: Basic research, applied research, development, design, construction, production, operation, and management

Note the central position of design in the order. Design may be regarded as the bridge between information and function

The Divisions or disciplines of engineering: The traditional disciplines are: minerals and petroleum, military, civil, mechanical, chemical, and electrical and computer/information engineering. [Detailed listing of divisions, including many newer branches and sub-branches, is provided in Section 5.3.] The division given here is based in historical origin, and also has basis in division of industry/phase of natural phenomena. Other approaches have been considered but the present one has been dominant since 1950 - and before if computer/information engineering is excluded

Technology Development Modes: [1] Internal development in a society: advanced and appropriate. Advanced development is dependent on intensive research and development and is a key to central organization of technology and development of centralized technologies. Appropriate development is local and accessible. The distinction advanced/appropriate is somewhat arbitrary. Advanced and appropriate development are often regarded as separate. However, any coordinated system requires some degree of specialization and centralization. Through a system of hierarchy, the advanced and appropriate modes may be combines. [2] External development through intervention of another society can take a number of levels of interaction. [Here, it is assumed that the intent of the intervention is benevolent.] In terms of increasing advance toward self-sufficiency, four levels of intervention can be identified: direct assistance, assistance for development, assistance in education for development, and assistance in the development of basic information/knowledge systems. The scale of self-sufficiency is also a scale of local political independence, and a scale of time needed for successful intervention

4.1.3        Development of Programs and Institutions

Modes of Balance: A number of the following issues have been discussed in the earlier sections: motivation-instruction; direction-adaptability; breadth/integration-specialization; information-knowledge/learning - primary and secondary learning [primary learning is research and synthesis; secondary learning is instruction or education in information, information access, and in synthesis]; and short and long terms. [Some emphases of education are: short term - information; intermediate - information access; long - research and synthesis. Some emphases of research are: short term - contract, hardware, development orientation; intermediate -grant, hardware and software orientation, basic research; long - grant/institutional funding, software/conceptual, pure research.]

Personnel/Faculty Development: The following considerations apply: [1] The Selection Process: This is significant in development of a capable and productive faculty. Generally, main responsibility for the process is at the “peer” level. Given the specialization of disciplinary function, this process - subject to review and authorization at other levels - is adequate. However, selection at the “peer” level tends to emphasize specialism, the disciplinary and valuational lack of vision that tends to go with specialism, and other prejudices due to self-interest and self-preservation. I have discussed, earlier, two safeguards against these problems. First, is the ultimate freedom of responsibility and freedom for creation that rests with individuals [and groups] for which no institutional structure can give complete support. Second, is reservation of a certain number of positions to be filled by criteria defined at higher levels - such as the school, college, university, the university system or even more inclusive levels. It is true that administrative review eliminates some negative aspects of hiring at the peer level. However, the positive influences of structured breadth and vision do need cultivation; and while it is very true that one effective way in which such positive influence arises is through development form the peers, there is also a value to explicit address of the issue. There will be objections by those who are aware of the excellence that arises from the standard peer system, those who by their own lack of vision cannot see the blindness of specialism, and those who are concerned with limited resources. The concern with limited resources is patently false. It assumes from the start that the standard system is “true”. The alternate system will provide balance, depth, vision and adaptability to the standard system. It is true that there are ad hoc instances of the alternate described here, but the pervasion of specialism [by itself a very short-term virtue] is such that the alternate is not institutionalized in the North American systems of higher learning...There is merit to the institution of the alternate system described here, in balance with the standard system, in engineering programs at the levels of single and multiple disciplines. [2] Principles of Development: The standard probationary period leading to tenure may be regarded as an extension of the selection process and as motive toward development. The award of tenure provides a level of freedom and autonomy to individuals whose productivity has been proven. This freedom is significant in furthering the values of learning. The tenure process thus has validity. However, there are problems associated with the tenure system. BY the nature of the system as implemented in North American institutions, it tends to give freedom to elements of specialism, conservatism, limited and short-range interest - these are the limitations of a functional system and not abuses of that system. [It is not appropriate to discuss abuse, here, in connection with questions of function and principle - the issue of abuse is one of administrative effectiveness, not one of value.] Another limitation of the tenure system occurs in periods of system decline - these are periods when the functionality of the system or aspects of the system declines with social-cultural change - and in periods of demographic decline. In these situations, the filling of allotted tenure positions becomes stifling to development. It is clear that the North American system will come under review. Meanwhile, the system is an effective, but limited, tool for faculty development. Additionally, some of the inherent limitations of the system may be balanced by modifications described above. [3] Principles of Autonomy: There is a movement or a sentiment which encourages the professionalization and standardization of education/research techniques. All systems must be based in evaluation. The method of evaluation used for such systems is almost universally short-term evaluation. Such systems of evaluation encourage establishment of existing values of the reviewers. If the reviewers are students then this review encourage establishment of values they have already acquired. The university becomes like high school. The student do not want to learn to learn [for which, ultimately, there is no system], they tend, in the short run, to want standardized drill systems. There is no occasion for the student to discover later what instruction is truly effective in “real life”, and there is no selection of opinion by success and failure. For these reasons I am against the standard sentiments and some of the standard systems of evaluation. I promote a system of true apprenticeship where the faculty are primary practitioners and not lecturers or drill instructors. The student learns by association. The lecture is a means to disseminate standard information. What does this imply for faculty development? The primary function of the faculty is involvement in function and involvement of the student in function. The primary object of evaluation will be function and student involvement in function. Internal evaluation must be balanced by external decision elements.

Other aspects of development of programs and institutions are:

Facilities: equipment, buildings

Support: library, computer systems. Education and research support

These factors should be included in planning. Modes of planning and development are discussed in Section 3. [The earlier sections of this paper contain extensive discussion of the concept of planning and its foundation in the order of the world. No particular model of the planning process was included. However, all such models are variations of the action-learning-knowledge concept.]

In the remaining parts of this Subsection 4.1, I discuss some specific needs for development: intrinsic and external needs. The intrinsic needs refer to the inherent needs of learning - in education and research; external needs are support - physical, social, technical, and financial. The physical needs are included in “facilities”, the social needs through the connection of learning/engineering to the social process, the technical needs through “facilities” and “support”. Here, it remains to discuss financial support.

4.1.4        Intrinsic Needs

Research Principles: There are research methodologies - just as there are planning methodologies. Continued attempts at development and formulation of these methodologies are important. One of the ideas of science/research as a social activity is that its processes, and procedures should be open to “public” scrutiny. [“Public” is used carefully since some experience is necessary before meaningful understanding and criticism is possible...Also, the final arbiter is not method, rationality, criticism, or laboratory experiment alone, but is a combination of these processes with continued function in the world.] The processes of definition and elaboration enhance thee elements of scrutiny

However, the practical management of research is not centered on these methodologies or, as pointed out earlier, explicitly around the social-psychology of research. Rather, practical research management seeks to create appropriate circumstances and environments for productive research. One of the not too paradoxical aspects of such a an environment is that there can be too much emphasis on the production and measurement of results

Some details of such practical management have been discussed earlier. Considerations include: from the discussion “Research”: [1] hiring and selection, [2] research environment, [3] provision of general direction over detailed direction, and [4] motivation and encouragement. There was further previous comment on hiring and selection

Educational Principles: Discussion will be comprehensive but brief. There will be some repetition and reformulation of ideas discussed earlier. I continue to avoid detailed discussion of psychology: this based not in the incompleteness of psychology itself [this not a statement on either adequacy or inadequacy of the psychology of education or research], but in lack of a framework for interpreting and applying psychological understanding to the development of long-term, whole values. I subscribe to the following viewpoint: combination of a philosophical [which does not exclude psychological categories] and valuational over-framework with traditional institutional structures in planning and change is more effective than the current state of psychological theory as a practical tool. Of course, the two approaches are not necessarily exclusive. Also, commitment to superiority of systems in their current state is not a commitment of principle. [There may actually be a point of principle based in arguments about the incompleteness of psychology as a system of explanation.]...Discussion follows

Educational principles include: [1] Breadth and depth [depth implies: specialization and a hierarchy of specializations which provides structure for an otherwise amorphous breadth]. [2] Information-knowledge-understanding-experience-know-how vs. information...access vs. development-research-synthesis = “being-in process”. [3] Tutorial vs. lecture system. Tutorial = apprenticeship in information access and in synthesis; lecture = dissemination of information-knowledge. Tutorial as apprenticeship naturally includes experience in access and synthesis. [4] The principle of intuition. There is a debate here. The debate is called “method/system vs. intuition”. The “intuition” of the debate is not at all what I call intuition nor is it what deserves to be called intuition. Actually, the debate is method vs. feeling. The debate is false because both feeling and method are essential. [Method includes rational method. In so far as rationality is a process, method as explicitly defined algorithm or procedure cannot include rationality.] Actually feeling is perception of “internal states”. Internal states are part of the human-animal access to the world. Perception of the “external” world also impresses through intermediate states which could be called feeling. Therefore perception-feeling is an essential part of cognition. Ultimately, the extension of human senses through instruments communicates to the conscious human through perception in combination with/through conception. This reiterates the essentiality of perception-feeling. Being I the world is impossible without feeling-perception. Being human in the world is impossible without: conception and the communication between conception and feeling-perception. In other words, intuition [the communication between/integration of perception-feeling and thought-conception] is not only essential to human understanding but is [the foundation of] human understanding. This is equally true for the most “common” negotiation in the world by human individuals. [5] From the deep and structured relation between all phases of human action and global-social [and, certainly in the long term, the universal] process: all education must include a deep and structured understanding of the world: of environment, humanity, society, knowledge and ideals [ideals are values and include the reflection of universal processes in human feeling-thought or intuition...There is a logic here. Values are instruments of action in the dimension of the unknown or partially known - in the selection of appropriate actions. Values are an element in [human] evolution. Evolution is - includes - realization of the potential of the universe in actual structures. Hence the original conclusion follows.] [6] The variety of student orientations and developmental needs must be recognized. This includes developmental needs throughout a career: education must provide a foundation. These factors are important: range of functions; information and information-access; rhythm of development; and motivation. [7] Range of programs to cover: the engineering functions, research orientations and divisions. [8] Education for economy of development, for flexibility of transition among career options

4.1.5        External Needs: Support

Financial support: [1] Sources: government, business/commerce/industry, private foundations and individual gifts, institutional foundations and investments, fees for services such as student fees and consultation. There are various sub-categories: government funding includes direct appropriations and grant programs. [2] Nature and purpose: the purpose is to satisfy all the institutional functions as discussed above. Two broad issues are: stability and autonomy. Other considerations should be secondary to these two. Autonomy/independent institutional purchasing power are essential to the long-term, value/concept development, evolutionary functions of the institution. It is the responsibility of the funding sources and the institutional authorities to recognize this. This should be recognized by engineering researches and encouraged and supported by the relevant administrators. Basic research must be supported by the structure of the institution and its external relations - and not merely in an ad hoc way

4.2         Engineering Curricula: Principles

Detailed systems of curricula and principles of organization are the concern of section 5. Here, I consider the principles which relate curricula to their function. These principles should be responsive to and incorporate appropriate parts of the discussion to this point

Relation to Society: [1] General/liberal education should provide a deep, dynamic and structured understanding of the worlds in which human action occurs - and which affect and are affected by human action and thought. [2] Some aspects of the relation between engineering/technology and society are through: technology development; concern with the whole resource-use-waste cycle; and the general ideas of problem solving and development of opportunity and potential [3]. Through the range of engineering functions, orientations and divisions, Subsection 4.1.2

Economy of Organization: Principles: The following standard approach includes an economy of organization and also encourages flexibility with regard to engineering function and division. The curriculum is divided into [1] a core of common principles and methods. Advantage is taken of logical, mathematical and scientific principles in providing a unified/unifying framework. There are, of course, balances to be maintained between: generality and development; and between abstraction/rigor and utility. [I do not maintain that rigor etc. are at the expense of utility. An appropriate degree of rigor - for example - enhances utility; however, there is a point beyond which concern with rigor does detract from immediate utility and is the province of the mathematician or the pure scientist], and [2] a system of semi-bureaucratic divisions of advanced technology and engineering. These divisions, discusses in detail in Section 5, are not mere bureaucratic artifices but are also based in the divisions among the sciences and the divisions of the major industries and technologies. [Also, the divisions among the sciences are not completely arbitrary even if the boundaries are indistinct. To some extent the divisions correspond to coherent systems of phenomena - even if the coherence is not “objective”. According to the philosophical framework of Section 1, this lack of objectivity is not problematical owing to the deep “object-subject” connection.]

Range of Student Needs: [1] Developmental needs - discussed above [information vs. access vs. synthesis, instruction vs. independence, etc.]. [2] Breadth and depth - discusses above as core vs. advanced divisions; related to developmental needs, flexibility, and soundness of understanding and competence. Breadth and depth are balanced through a standard system of:

General/liberal education: an overview or an approach to an overview. An understanding of nature-society-knowledge-universe and their mutual evolution... An understanding of the percept-concept distinction and integration and the information-access-synthesis distinction: [a] Engineering core: foundations, sciences, methods, learning, common topics of the functions and the divisions. [b] Engineering sciences. [c] Advanced engineering/technology/methods/design topics. The foundation of this system have been discussed above and significantly more detail is presented in Section 5. [3] Exposure to/experience with the engineering functions and research orientations [Subsection 4.1.2]

Needs of Technology: The competitive aspect of economic systems is dependent, in part, on technological development and capability. The post-World War II [decades 1950-1980] decline in United States productive advantage is an example. The rise in the competition from Japan, Europe, and Southeast Asia is a concern in North America. It is not clear that resolution of the issue [to the satisfaction of those who wish to reverse the trend] can be through technology alone

The decline is a result of factors which include social-cultural change [attitudes to work and to education - and probably related to economic/political well being and strength], and dependence on import of foreign talent. Certainly, these social-cultural changes represent pervasive implicit questions [even if the explicit questioning is limited] about the value of productive efficiency at human cost. The problem of perception arises in the lack of behavioral consensus and in lack of a clear national forum for discussion and clarification of the issues

Two non-exclusive approaches to enhancing productivity are [1] enhancing productivity attitudes of individuals and social groups [should productivity be enhanced by positive motivation or hard-line approaches? The later is likely to be ineffectual in tiles of wellbeing], and [2] enhancing productivity through technologic capability and development - this will no doubt require come “attitude adjustment” for productivity is itself a [partly] technical issue

The questions are difficult and lessons can be learned from Japan, Europe and Southeast Asia. The North American and other systems can be evaluated and the positive aspects retained - modified according to the cultural backgrounds. A point to be made here is that, owing to multiple factors, technological productivity is a contributing but not controlling factor in economic productivity. This point should be made since it implies that the level of discussion should be one that includes science-engineering-technology and other environmental and social factors. However, the discussion is appropriate here since the contribution of technology to economic productivity is significant, and since engineering-technology contributes to the discussion of economic productivity

I will outline the needs of technology in relation to economic productivity and, more generally, the demands which technological development places on engineering education and research

[1] Technological productivity enhances economic competitiveness through advanced, central technology, and [2] technological productivity enhances economic cooperation [the economics of self-sufficiency, social-environmental quality] through robust, local, accessible technology. Both aspects are necessary [self-improvement is an object phases of competition]. There are choices to be made but these are choices of emphasis and not “either/or”. Still, the decisions may be difficult. In part, the difficult is the apparent conflict between ideal and practical needs. However, the following point may be made: unilateral decisions in a highly interactive world are difficult even if they can be “implemented”. The decisions need to be at a global level. These decisions need to be cooperative and communicative. It may be true or untrue that some [apparently] militaristic nations cannot be trusted. It is certainly true that the expense of material and human resources on communication and cooperation is a small fraction of the expense on economic/military competition. Emphasis on communication and cooperation will imply emphasis toward robust, appropriate, local technology. The spirit behind competition can then be channeled into mutual enhancement

Implications [independent of the outcomes of the choices of the previous paragraph] for education: [1] The basis for judgment in the social arena and the social-technological interaction is important - this may be a part of general/liberal education. [2] Motivation is important - and the direction of motivation depends on perception and on knowledge [this connects items 1 and 3], and [3] knowledge of technology/engineering principles is important. The system outlined in “Range of Student Needs” [in Section 4.2] is an excellent approach to these ends

A Conclusion: The standard curriculum outline forms the basis of an excellent system. The only problems may lie in its interpretation and implementation. The resolution of these problems is in proper planning at the various levels [global or national, local, institutional] for programs - including faculty, facilities, research and curriculum development

4.3         A National Program of Development in Engineering education and Research

A coordinated national program of development may have an economical function without over-centralization. This will occur by building in a degree of redundancy while avoiding over-duplication or ad hoc duplication. Redundancy does not imply identity; flexibility in the particulars of the redundant units will make for adaptability of the whole system. At the same time, coordination will help ensure the efficient large-scale efforts required for applied developments. The planning and communication features of appropriate coordination will be considered in what follows

The ideas discussed will be applicable to any sufficiently large and coherent geo-political unit

The objectives of this section [4.3] are to review the existing context/structure [within which development in engineering education and research takes place], and to make recommendations regarding [1] the over- and infra-structure, and [2] programs of education and research in engineering. Focus will be on university education and research in universities, industrial and government laboratories. Consideration will be given to training programs in industry and to proper preparation in the school system

Coordination of Activities and Development: A number of levels are relevant. The existing structure is to be coordinated - and added to as required by needs for coordination and development. Coordination is required within and among government, business, and institutions of education and research. While initiative for development/coordination may and should come from any sector, the resources exist within government

[Concerning objections to “Big Government”, we note that government may be regarded as the institution of coherent activity; and that the very interactivity of the present world requires large-scale coherence. The issue cannot be whether coherence is required or not, or whether it should be “private”, but rather what degrees of coherence are good. Proper “private” arrangements must always be respected, but the debate regarding need for “public” endeavor must be regarded essentially as one of class privilege.]

The levels to be coordinated are: national, regional and local. Activities and development may be coordinated as follows, according to concepts already in existence: [1] There will be two types of center: general resource centers which are or will be core and/or supplementary resources in academic/professional programs and information regarded as generally necessary; and special resource centers for special or local interest programs not needed [or prohibitively expensive] at all locations. This will encourage development of expertise. This system of centers may, to a large degree, be incorporated into existing institutions. [2] A number of levels may be noted: national, regional, local. General and special centers may be recognized or established at all levels. [3] Planned information networks may be developed. These will recognize and make use of existing networks. Spontaneous [including private] networking systems will not be suppressed - and may be incorporated into planned systems. [4] Development of programs will primarily be within the system and its administrative offices while planning of programs and the system and its elements will occur in appropriate agencies in communication with the appropriate constituencies - the public and its representative system, business, the centers or institutions of education and research. Planning should include input from professionals and administrators from these elements

Similar, looser, ideas may be employed globally and, more specifically, in cooperative educational development between “first” and “third” worlds

Many of the essential principles, values, and objectives have already been discussed. These include: [1] Long-term needs: regarding unpredictability: “pure” knowledge [pure does not mean unconnected with the world/universe but rather an interest -possibly intense - in the world itself, without relation to perceived or defined problems];coordination of science-engineering-technology through planning without suppressing spontaneous coordination; integration of science-engineering-technology with society through understanding provided by the humanities - that is, the humanities may include both pure and applied studies; support of institutions for independence, especially institutional purchasing power - to permit translation of the idea of pure knowledge into actuality and to avoid over-dependence on hardware, self-sustaining short-term interests, and to promote basic studies in engineering; the university as agent for knowledge. [2] Short-term needs: university as caretaker for knowledge; regarding “problem solving”: applied research, development of products and processes; meeting immediate information/access/synthesis needs of society, government, clients - private [business] sector and students, and learning itself; integration with the long term through transfer of information and functionality among the elements of the pure-applied hierarchy. [3] Stability is needed in the institutions of learning --colleges and universities etc. - against fluctuations in support [enrollment, private clients] and against over-dependence on hardware [private clients, government agencies such as DOD, EPA etc.]; such stability is provided by internal institutional resources [revenues, investments] and community/government. [4] The concept of total mission of learning, missions of individual institutions and systems of institutions as coherent groups of functions, of coverings and of multiple coverings for different types of constituencies of learning [urban, rural etc.] and for adaptability. [5] The roles in development: government, private client and foundations, citizens, experts and citizen-experts [see the discussion “Democracy, Elitism and Individual Action” in Section 2.] [6] Approaches/methods/processes of planning and development: requirements; modes: piecemeal vs. utopian/comprehensive, incremental vs. experimental-conceptual - and syntheses of these modes. [7] Modes of technological development: advanced/central and basic/local, and their synthesis. [8] A system [an applied philosophy, Section 1] of social needs

Some Concepts

As stated above, an objective of this discussion is to review programs/implementations in light of these principles and to suggest changes and directions of change. Accordingly, I first develop some ideas in terms of which a procedure or program for change can be developed

Types of Support: The sources of support are the key elements in decision making. Any formulation of decision procedure must identify these sources. First, a listing: [1] Revenues generated: [1-A] students enrolled, private and government clients, consulting, [1-B] internal foundations and investment earnings, [2] Government and its agencies for learning: international, national and regional, [3] Business, [4] Private foundations, and [5] Consortia

Concepts: I label conservative those sources which are special in their interest, short term, which employ an incremental approach to development, which are reactive; liberal sources are general interest, long term, experimental, initiative taking. The boundary is not clear, but [1-B], [2], and [4] should include liberal elements; and [1-A] and [3] have shown recent tendencies [in the United States] towards conservation. While the specifics may vary, the distinction itself is important because it implies different approaches to change [incremental, unplanned vs. conceptual, planned], different constituencies and modes of appeal

The institutions themselves, individually or as systems, comprised of a governing body, the administration, the professionals [the faculty] and the students, are also influential. The sources of influence are: revenues generated, community-based support, and expertise. There is a distinction between public and private institutions or systems. In principle, public systems are directly planned in coordination with the totality of social needs. However, through consensus and indirect influence [including market forces] private institutions must also be tied into social demands. Further, through the multiplicity of sources of support and influence for both public and private institutions, the distinction between the behavior of public and private institutions is not perfectly sharp” government may exert a degree of control over private institutions and the private sector may directly influence public systems

Some of the key United States governmental institutions influencing decisions in education and research are: legislative committees on education and development; executive offices - science and technology policy, policy development, environmental quality [and shadow government]; departments of - agriculture, commerce, defense, education, energy, health and human services, housing and urban development, interior, justice, labor, state, transportation; government agencies and foundations - National Foundation on the Arts and on the Humanities, National Science Foundation, Environmental Protection Agency, and National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Influential scholarly academies and societies are: National Research Council, National Academy of Science, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine

The review committees of engineering colleges and departments usually have strong industry representation. Additionally, business exerts influence through representation in government agencies [such as, Department of Commerce: National Bureau of Standards, Office for Productivity, Technology and Innovation] responsible for support and related decision making; as a paying client for research and educational services; and especially for private institutions, by representation on institutional governing boards and through direct support

Additionally there are various mechanisms, formal and informal, for coordination of activities in the various sectors. These mechanism include policy analysis and representation in various decision-making bodies. As a specific example, the National Science Foundation encourages [1] “research aimed at formulating national policy through analysis of exiting and emerging issues that have significant scientific and engineering content’, [2] “cooperative efforts by universities, industries and government”, and [3] International programs, including cooperative scientific and engineering research activities...”

In the United States, the States share a large part of the responsibility for provision of education and research opportunity and support. States have their own legislative committees and departments for education. In California there are three components to the State-financed public system of higher education: these are the University of California System, the California state University System, and the California Community Colleges. These systems are governed by their own boards [the Board of Regents of the University of California, the Trustees of the California State University, and the Board of Governors of the Community Colleges]. Development of programs and institutions is planned by the California Post Secondary Education Commission. [The responsibilities of these elements and some examples of operation have been outlined in Section 3.] In California, the public system of higher education services over 1.7 million students at 136 campuses

The example of California shows the influence of State government. Federal influence is often less direct -through funding of development programs, through support of basic research and development, through student loan programs, and through policy analysis and legislation

Review of the system of research programs and higher education in the United States reveals a diverse and complex structure which [by the nature of its relations, if not of its explicit concepts] is disposed to conservatism and incremental development. This is directly connected to the strength of the system. The diversity, the multi-constituency, are the result of a natural evolution of a system in response to the complex system of developmental contexts. The system thus avoids the cumbersome, often unnatural, features of centrally planned systems - and, the system has its roots in the detailed needs of society. In a highly developed industrial-military economy, such a system provides [is the expression of] stability

Review of Performance. While review of the intrinsic features of the system shows basic strengths, an external review is necessary: What are the contributions of the system? The strengths of performance are clear. However, there are serious weaknesses. In terms of economic and cultural development, the United States is at a critical point. The external source of United States economic strength - land and resources - are close to certain of their limits; and the internal sources of creativity and productivity are being challenged by Europe, Japan and Southeast Asia. The shortcomings in the area of internal sources of economic productivity are documented [with respect to industrial productivity] in a detailed, careful account from the MIT Commission on Industrial Productivity. At the same time the closing of the material boundaries are resulting I human problems - or making manifest pre-existing problems. What are the contribution s of the humanities to the questions of human meaning and the integration of these issues with the material ones? [I subscribe to the following view: there are bare minimum requirements in the areas of material sustenance and human meaning. Beyond these minima, there are valid degrees of balance; and disregard of balance, that is, substitution of one element for the other, usually leads to over-consumption [without resolution]. This simple expression is, of course, an approximate statement of a view that can be developed with greater precision and detail. The point is: there is a common assumption that the material and meaning dimensions are unrelated - or that the material dimension is the source of meaning. This assumption must be ultimately disruptive of order since it ignores human and natural reality.]

What are the contributions of the humanities? Whether one agrees with the critiques in this area or the recommended solutions [there is a history of such criticism which includes the analyses of Robert Maynard Hutchins, C. P. Snow, and, more recently, Alan Bloom in The Closing of the American Mind, 1987] it is clear that there are failures of development and education in the humanities. [I repeat that my conception of humanistic study is the broadest combination of imaginative and critical study.]

The issue of industrial and economic productivity and its relation to education and research will be taken up later in this section. Connections with general values and attitudes will also be made

Intrinsically, it may be said: the very strength of the United states system is its weakness. As the pioneer in many areas of technological innovation and industrial productivity, its technological-industrial base evolved naturally and incrementally. As the foremost world economic-industrial power for decades [up to and including the present], the country developed a deep and conservative trust in its own system of innovation and development. Conservatism and incremental change are backward looking: the look to past sources of success. Additionally, it seems that conservatism and/or pride [in the sense of natural self-confidence have often resulted in the United States not learning from the technological and productive success of other industrial nations. It is time to develop a forward- and outward-looking and experimental system of development

[Whereas it is often assumed that there is a center of decision and action in the United States, there is no single center - though there may be symbolic centers. However, there is a need to develop powerful centers of initiative - powerful in the senses of both insight and influence.]

Despite the problems of institutionalizing initiative, and while it is clear that individual initiative in perceptive analysis, resolution and influence is essential: there is an imperative to develop a high-level system for initiative and development

This new institution, agency, or system will [1] draw from the experience of existing structures but not directly from their internal relations, [2] be open to the learning of other societies and cultures, [3] encourage and channel the development of new, open, conceptual-experimental perceptions and resolutions from individuals, and [4] seek to perceptively balance the new elements with the old. For example, the rational-empirical nature of the old system will provide rigor to fashion powerful instruments from new visions - but not to suppress development of the new

4.3.1        A Procedure for Development

The present objective in discussing a procedure for development ‘of a National Program in Engineering Education and Research] is [1] to account for the specifics of the United States social-institutional system - as discussed above, and [2] to focus the procedures towards the specific requirements on engineering in the present context. I will focus on the second objective later in this section [4.3] and in Section 5

Here, I will focus on the first objective: to account for the specific structure of conservative and liberal elements [with reference to the meanings of the terms as defined earlier in this section] and the diversity and distribution of the centers of decision and action. The goal of the procedure will be to set up a network of institutions as indicated earlier in this section [4.3]; the network will be focused, at least in part, by a high-level institutional system as outlined above. This system will be centralized or coordinated to the extent needed to maintain focus; the modes of focus will be a channeling of individual perceptions, analysis and resolutions for problems of education and research [objective 2 of the previous paragraph] in the technological-economic-social context - and an organization of individual efforts with a view to both experiment and synthesis.

It is not the present objective to enter into details of planning procedures. Therefore, attention will be paid to the key aspects of the objectives stated above

4.3.2        The Procedure

[A] Evaluate the strengths of the conservative and liberal sources of support for learning/engineering education and research. Identify/establish initial [“seed”] centers of initiative. Identify/formulate modes of appeal and influence for the sources of support. Guided by items [C, D] below, formulate an approach to expand the influence and strength of the initial centers of initiative

[B] Review desired change of programs, institutions, planning and support: short and long terms [objective 2 above]

[C] Selection of Key Areas and Goals

Development of programs in humanities [a long-range coal]

Preparation for higher education, especially science-engineering-technology, in basic and secondary education

Agencies/institutions: initiative, policy, planning; institutions: education, research and creative synthesis; engineering programs

Education modes: lecture, laboratory, field, tutorial/independent study and research, work/cooperative experience, industrial training

Maintain university/program relations with” community-society, business-government

Research emphasis: pure/basic-applied; sector [military, agriculture, industry, service...] and division [ see Section 5.3] of technology

Relations: education " research

[D] Approaches to Development


Incremental: plan-implement-review: formal/informal

Central institutes/agencies for initiative, coordination, selection and emphasis

Experimental programs

An additional “approach” to development and change is cultural diffusion. At the societal-level diffusion of knowledge, “diffusion” is not planned. However, the individual contribution to this process may be both unplanned and planned. Further, the individual planning may be with respect to both personal and perceived/projected societal goals. Individual may be trained/encouraged in this process: the individual [or group] will have no objective other than to maintain awareness, receptivity to new items and sources of knowledge and information - and an eagerness to seek out and act upon new items, sources and concepts. This enhanced “browsing” approach to learning will be kept in balance with systematic and planned approaches to learning [and acting]

An Example: Energy

The example has been selected to show some relations between social and technical factors in planning; and in showing certain limits to science, engineering and technology in resolving even material/resource/productivity issues

In recent years, the combined United states effort in developing new energy resources and technologies [renewable, shale-oil, nuclear fusion...] demonstrates a non-conceptual, reactive approach. We do not know that this will lead to resource problems that could otherwise be avoided, but we strongly expect that the recent policy lacks prudence. The long-term view depends on the theory of progress adopted [basic research anticipates problems/creates opportunities], but the short and intermediate term require applied research and development

Enlightenment and prudence are served by the system of initiative described above. The situation may be enhanced [or retarded] by social climate. The alternative outcomes are a shallow short-term focus [by default, a self-focus] or a deep, long-term focus in which inner/outer [self/world] are balanced. This follows from practical considerations and, equivalently, from the philosophical framework of Section 1

In looking at the specific issues such as energy, it is hard to conclude that many of the experimental-developmental problems of science-technology are not those of society as a whole. This discussion may be conducted at a philosophical level, as in Section 1. At a social level the social attitudes must be reflected in public policy. The consequences of social attitudes and values for industrial productivity will be discussed under “Economic and Industrial Productivity”, later in this section

Consequences for Education and Research

Hence my focus on the whole realm of social endeavor and, within the university, on a deep education/process in humanities

Social Organization/Attitudes and Technology

[In the caption “technology” refers to effectiveness in development and use [deployment] of technology.]

Further, in considering the aims and problems of society, engineering and technology have a role. In the “first” world, technology is [must be] well integrated into society - at the individual and the social-institutional level. In other words, both levels are dependent on technology for their function and are [relative to the non-industrial nations] familiar with the ideas, concepts and development of technology. Thus, there is a continuing review, evaluation and planning of the role of technology. On another level, there is a tendency to look to technology for resolution of problems. These include quality of life and environment, economic and strategic strength

In The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers: Economic Change and Military Conflict from 1500 to 2000 AD, [1987], Paul Kennedy points out the significance of preservation of technological and economic bases for strategic [including military] superiority

As pointed out above, even the “material” issues are not only problems of science-engineering-technology, but are, more generally, problems of social-human value and social organization. The point of view adopted here is that to the degree that the outcome of these issues can be controlled or planned, they are general social issues within which science and technology play a role. [To the extent that the issues are not capable of control, the open or “pure” part oaf learning is important.]

It is important that the participatory [distinguished from controlling] nature of the role of engineering be recognized by engineers and be accounted for in the planning and development of engineering programs of education and research. The general approach to this role and some specific issues of technology-industry-engineering/education are discussed below. Directs within specific technologies are incorporated into Section 5

Specific Areas for Development in Engineering Education and Research

I now turn to some specific areas for development in engineering education and research. Again, while focusing on specifics, we will find that the choice or decision regarding specifics takes us out of technical/specific considerations into the more general social-human [and environmental] area

As stated above, considerations regarding specific technologies will be taken up in Section 5. The concern here regards styles of technology and implications to be deduced from the choices available regarding these styles

[Review: From a general point of view: the four-fold engineering curriculum [humanities, core, engineering sciences, advanced research/design and technology]; proper balance within research and its relations with the process of education; a framework of interaction among science-engineering-technology, combined with incremental and initiative in conceptual-experimental development will be excellent. The meaning/significance of these issues has been elaborated

The general nature of conclusions, including conditions for effective education and research, has also been discussed. General considerations were outline in Part I. Issues discussed in Section 4.1, “Engineering Programs”, were: social context, faculty selection-retention-development-autonomy, facilities, support, research and education principles including practical research management; and in Section 4.2, “Engineering Curricula: Principles”: some justifications of the four-fold curriculum, economy of organization in the curriculum, range of student needs, and implications for education and research.]

Modes of Technology

The two modes of technology [noted earlier] are [1] Advanced/centralized technology, and [2] robust/local/accessible or basic technology

The boundary between these two modes is not definite: new ideas, at first alien and difficult, may be interpreted and integrated and become common and intuitive [this is part of the nature of learning, permitting new learning to build up on old learning which has become an intuitive foundation - even when, as is often true, the approximate nature of the old intuition is identified]. Thus, care must be exercised in identifying technology as advanced or basic, and in making choices between the modes

An important function, then, of engineering research is the transformation of high/advanced technology into robust/basic technology and centralized technology [through search for local materials/substitute, concept/design/production-process simplification and adaptation] into local technology; and an important function of engineering/technical education is translating given ideas of advanced technology into more accessible form through reformulation of the concepts and/or simplification of the conceptual system [and this shows relations between education and theoretical research.]

Research should be distinguished from technology development. In the field of energy, for example, advanced technology, may focus on nuclear fusion and photovoltaics while basic technology focuses on solar heating and biomass. Applied research may focus on the transfer of technology from advanced status to basic status [as in the case of photovoltaics] or in the use of advanced concepts to enhance basic technology [as in the case of biomass]. However, applied research and technology development does not open essential new avenues which create new possibilities and redefine resource contexts: this is one of the functions of basic research. Sufficient emphasis must be placed on both basic and applied research. Education must provide an appreciation for the nature of both types of research and of the nature of choices in emphasis. These issues are taken up in further detail below under “Economic and Industrial Productivity”

The issue of choice between modes of technology remains significant. The factors of choice include: [1] Military and competitive economics and, on a human level, emphasis on wants favors advanced-central-intensive technology; while [2] social-human-environmental concerns and emphasis on needs favors basic-local-accessible technologies. As pointed out above advance ideas can enhance the performance and development of basic systems

Clearly, research and education must focus on both modes of technology and on the problem of translation from advanced to basic technology. Further, education in the global-social-environmental context is essential. From the point of view of national economics seen as competitive in the global arena, emphasis will be on advanced-high technology. On the other hand, from a framework of global cooperation more emphasis can be placed on basic-local human-oriented technology and, as pointed out earlier, the drive behind competition [leading to resource, environment depletion] can be channeled into mutual enhancement [and a trend toward resource-social equilibrium]

Choices must also be made in the sector of application. An important area of choice is in military vs. civilian applications [given that resources are limited with respect to the possibilities]. Once choice tends to escalate technology; military objectives are necessarily competitive. The other choice tends to make technology accessible - though not necessarily, as in the case of competitive consumer economies: thus there are choices of emphasis within the consumer sector. These choices are related to the issues of market vs. human economy [the issue is often stated as a choice between “free” and “social: economies. However, this distinction is diffused once allowance is made for cooperation between consumer and producer]. Within the area of military technology there are choices among, for example, SDI/nuclear/basic systems. From the system of choices just described, I conclude: Research and education must include a focus on technology assessment. This requires an understanding of scientific and engineering principles and of human-social-economic-strategic and environmental issues. [Of course there are many instances in which assessment is premature. This may be due to unknown factors brought out by basic research or hidden assumptions about hardware. Classic examples are radio - which could not have been foreseen until the basic research of James Clark Maxwell and Heinrich Hertz; and rocket flight - which was thought to be impractical before the idea of multi-stage rockets. Proper assessment theory must factor in unpredictability - or, more generally, limitations on both imaginative and rational/critical assessment.]

It was noted above that competition tends to favor advanced technology; and cooperation tends to favor basic-local technology. This connection is a tendency since, as pointed out, there are other factors such as transfer between the two modes. There is, for each social-political-economic context, an appropriate balance between the two modes which makes for improved self-reliance and equilibrium between social expenditure and resource availability. Finally, there is an appropriate rate of development which strikes a balance between the needs of stability and of adaptation. Also, there are elements of unpredictability about resource conservation and resource development - and hence about the “needs” of adaptation or adaptability. Thus, not only is technology assessment and planning dependent on multiple factors with complex interactions, perfect rationality or perfectly rationalized action is inherently impossible. In other words, the limitations are not only in the mind’s ability to see but also in seeds of the future as contained in the present

The Range of Technologies

There are also choices with regard to the distribution of resources over human-social needs. While this distribution develops incrementally [increments of change may be associated with planning but the whole system of distribution is not planned in its entirety] some trends will be pointed out in Section 5. Here, to prepare for the system of technologies in Section 5, I point out the range of needs [wants]/technologies and the corresponding divisions of engineering

In education, significant emphasis is placed on technical aspects within the field [civil, mechanical, etc.]. The connection of the field to the areas of human need/opportunity is reasonably self-evident and does not required detailed treatment. Examples provide occasion for reflection on the issue. However, there is also a generally unsatisfied need to relate a whole system of human-social-environmental needs systematically to the whole range of engineering fields. In education, this will make for flexibility, breadth of vision and understanding of context. It is straight-forward to relate the material needs and technologies: air, water, land, food; clothing, housing, materials; energy, utilities; transportation, urban and regional development; information, communication, knowledge; human relations, growth and social needs; to the engineering fields: environmental, agricultural, mechanical; construction/civil, textiles, materials; geological, chemical, thermal, electrical; architectural, planning; electronic, information, communications; social systems, defense. Additional principles for organizing the fields [historical, according to basic science, according to sector of industry/economy] are given in Section 5

It was noted above that productivity is related to the distribution of emphasis between basic research and development, and to the choice of levels of advanced and basic technology. However, irrespective of the choice in emphasis, productivity is important to the effectiveness of either mode. I now turn to a considering of productivity and consequences for engineering education and research

Economic and Industrial Productivity and Their Significance for Education and Research

Economic competitiveness has been related to factors which include [1] macro-economics, and [2] specific industrial/technological practices. Recently, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Commission on Industrial Productivity [formed in 1986] has conducted a study which discusses the effects of both factors in a search for the roots of the weaknesses [and strengths] of the United States economy and, specifically, of the lag in growth of industrial productivity relative to a number of Western European and Asian nations

The study cited in the previous paragraph is: Made In America: Regaining the Productive Edge, Michael M. Dertouzos, Richard K. Lester, Robert M. Solow, and the MIT Commission on Industrial Productivity, 1989

Both macroeconomics and industry-specific factors are found to be significant in the performance of American industry, but the MIT Commission has focused on those factors specific to industry. These factors, being related to industrial productivity, are also causative factors in economic strength. In turn, macroeconomic factors are, in part, relevant to the performance of industry

The MIT Commission has identified: six areas of weakness in United States industry practices; practices common to health United States firms - that is, firms that are doing well in the international arena; long-term trends significant for industrial performance; and five imperatives for improvement of the competitiveness of American industry

Whereas the work of the MIT Commission is focused on competitive economics and the industrial sector, the findings are relevant to cooperative economics and other sectors. This is because [1] factors intrinsic to technological performance are considered, and [2] connections may be drawn between the weaknesses and strengths of United States industry and social values and attitudes

The concepts developed by the work of the MIT Commission should be applicable to other economies - of nations and other units

The objective here is to briefly review the ideas, to suggest relations with social norms and attitudes, and to derive conclusions for education and research

It is interesting that, though the weaknesses are distinct from macro-economic considerations, they do broadly reflect characteristics of United States social attitudes. Below, I list the weaknesses or problematic features of United States industry and corresponding social attitudes: [1] Outmoded strategies - over-dependence on past strength, characteristic of an established dominant economic power; [2] Neglect of human resources [example: lack of investment in long-term development of employees] - characteristic of free market thinking; [3] Failures in cooperation [within companies, among companies, and among businesses and their suppliers and consumers] - emphasis on individualism, de-emphasis on cooperation,; [4] Technological weakness in development and production - again, over-dependence on past strength. In this instance there is over-dependence on basic research and development of new products as a source of productivity and a lack of cooperative integration of basic research with product and process development; [5] Government and industry working at cross purposes - free market, individualism; and [6] Short-term horizons which have been explained: by higher cost f capital in the United States, the nature of United States investment institutions, and personal motivations of corporate managers in the United States - such personal motivations have been analyzed as including profit-related bonus plans and stock options, and lack of knowledge of detailed operations of their firms. Such executives, according to the MIT Commission, “are more likely to engage in restructuring to bolster profits than to take risks on technological innovation”. In other words, there is a lack of commitment to the long-term investment required for development of quality products and efficient manufacturing processes, to integration of product and process, and to interface with suppliers and markets

It is clear that the weaknesses described by the MIT Commission form a system - they are interrelated in a number of ways. One system of relationships arises from the social milieu within which the industries function

Two related social attitudes are problematic in this context: conservatism - by which I mean an over-dependence on the lessons from past success, and an over-emphasis on the cultural values of individualism and competition

Conservatism is probably the instinctual behavior of an established [economic] power. Regarding industry, some past modes of success stem from post World War II economic conditions in which firms from most other countries could offer little competition to United States firms. These [currently unhealthy] styles include mass production of standard commodities for the homogeneous home market and a technological and economic isolation. Both factors currently make for poor adaptability

Regarding social attitudes, the learning of the past includes an overemphasis on “individualism” and competitiveness. These attitudes, perhaps with origins in personality requirements for transition to [and survival in] the New World, were probably appropriate [at least compatible with] the earlier resource abundance of developing America. Thus individualism and competitiveness are related to conservatism

Individualism and competition: Whatever the origin of the lack of cooperative attitudes, they are no longer productive of economic and social well-being. [A transition may be noted here from competition to lack of cooperation. These are not, in principle, the same. Coexistence of competition and cooperation is desirable. [There are those who would contest this claim. Whether competition is desirable depends, in part, on the meaning of “competition”. When two individuals or groups act toward an objective which only once can achieve, for example the award of a contract, there is competition. Some would say that even this form of competition is harmful: resources should be pooled. Under perfect rationality this would be appropriate. Under limited rationality, multiple attempts at solution are appropriate.] The present issue, however, is not the existence of competition, but the degree and nature of emphasis on it which, if inappropriate, result in insufficient cooperation.]

In finding the right approaches in productivity and the right combination of modes of technology, economic and technological choices alone are not sufficient. Society as a whole must make choices, embark upon new directions. Further, it is not enough to implicate a root cause of problems - such as competition. The structure, function, possible value and social basis of the problem value or attitude must be understood

The implication for education and learning is the need for education and encouragement of creative activity in the humanities which will be conducive to the growth of healthy, vital human-social attitudes

In Section 2, I have discussed the meaning of “humanities” used here [see also “Review of Performance”, this section]. Humanities form the broadest combination of imaginative and critical study and expression by all modes of understanding in all dimensions of being and process - and search for new ways of seeing, of expressing and of being. Understanding of human and social dimensions, and change in thee dimensions, is included. I have emphasized a non-deterministic, open concept of existence, which stresses both continuity and openness, and the lack of completeness of any actual system of knowledge or existence. [This has relations to modern evolutionary viewpoints which may be valid within larger, cyclic, contained views. In fact, the contained and open views may be shown to contain each other if details of process are known selectively; otherwise, as noted earlier, the open view is more complete. Also, while a cyclic view is conceptually possible, modern perceptions tend to support the evolutionary, open view.]

In an open framework, psychological and sociological completeness are not found in actual systems but in attitudes of openness. A proper education in humanities must include systematic experience in these systems of ideas, but more importantly in modes of thinking which inculcate vital imagination and criticism regarding such ideas. Further, while I am not an advocate for the “potpourri” approach to the liberal/humanities content of education, openness [which includes awareness of the incompleteness of any actual/explicit educational design] and principles of education dictate that students have opportunities for non-structured learning, to experience the unpredictable in true creation, and to develop an instinctual sensitivity for and attraction to these elements of the “creative unpredictable”. The system of education in the humanities outlined in Section 5 includes, interactively, elements of system and openness

Regarding criticism of education in humanities as a component of all education, analysis of direct effects is insufficient. On the other hand, indirect effects [on attitude, through diffusion - developing and becoming manifest over a lifetime or an era] are not observed easily - if at all. A proper approach to a study of the value [and nature] of humanities is through a historical study of civilizations of the world and of the essential significance of ideas and symbols, not only in the development and movements of civilization. In other words, whereas science and technology are keys to material power, humanities provide insight into the ways of human power. [This point of view supports no claim that science and humanities are not converging - or that they cannot converge.]

Findings. I now continue review of the findings of the MIT Commission on industrial productivity and consider implications for engineering education and research

Both macroeconomic factors and factors specific to industry are important determinants of industrial productivity. [The MIT Commission focused on industry in the United States but, as noted earlier, the concepts developed should be applicable to other economic units.] Under courses or work in technology policy [Section 5] it will be valuable to provide an understanding of economic strength which will include industrial productivity and its determinant factors: this will include the macroeconomic and industry specific factors. [Regarding industry-specific factors, the MIT Commission considered both weaknesses and strengths. They also considered long-term technological tends likely to be significant for future productive performance and made recommendations for growth toward high productivity.]

Analysis of both macroeconomic and industry specific factors shows these to be related to general social organization, trends, values and attitudes. These considerations may be included in humanities content of education. This will provide long-term, less direct complement to more specific changes

An understanding of macroeconomics is important. Specifically, the interactions between factors such as Federal budget deficit, nature of financial institutions and economic strength - and of industrial productivity should be included in [engineering] education. Specific factors such as relations between the budget deficit, savings and investment funds should be considered. These may be taken up in exposure to technology policy [and, more generally, social policy] or economics

Implications of Factors Specific to Industry

I consider those weaknesses and strengths with direct implications for engineering situation and research. I first consider the weaknesses

[A] Neglect of human resources: Relative to many other nations, United states industry invests significantly less in long-term, multi-skill training of employees. Enhance job training programs should be a significant part of the drive toward higher productivity. [This should benefit both industry and labor.] The neglect of human resources begins earlier in primary and secondary education. The United States is falling behind other societies in fundamental life skills [language and problem solving]. Improvement is needed in transmission of basic skills and in preparation for higher education. [These are complex issues requiring resolution oat the social level.] Effective instruction in/exposure to sciences and humanities should begin in the schools

These considerations have implications for university education. Improved education in the schools will enhance appreciation of the nature of and ability to perform in higher education. Job training and engineering programs may be coordinated [such cooperative work programs exist and are of recognized value. It is not necessary for every institution to implement such programs to the same degree or in the same way.]

[B] United States Industry - Commitment to Research. United States industry leads the world in basic research but under-performs [relative to Japan] in using basic research and in product and process development, and in the integration of these factors. [The United States spends two-thirds of its industry research and development [R&D] budget on new and improved products, and one-third the R&D budget on improvement of process technology. In Japan these figures are reversed.] This relates to earlier discussion of proper relations among science-engineering-technology in development. Industry research expenditure, and breakdown of this expenditure, needs continual evaluation in keeping with these observations

Given the long-term actual contribution of basic research in the United States private sector to technology and to United States and world society a recommendation that industry reverse its R&D expenditure priorities according to the Japanese model is not possible. I surmise that the development of industry in Japan, as it is today, would not be possible without the earlier United States development and the continuing United States leadership in basic research. I therefore suggest the following lines of resolution of the United States dilemma: [1] Better integration of the phases of research in industry - and, more generally, better integration of all phases of industry and interface of industry with other sectors; [2] Research [and other] cooperation among firms and industries; and [3] Government enhancement of and participation in this process [see item [C] below}

Part of the responsibility for the present situation is the American system of engineering education which has de-emphasized product realization and process technology since World War II. It is well recognized that engineering education should emphasize design, development and manufacturing - and their integration

[C] United States Government - Commitment to Research and Technology

University emphasis is closely tied to government commitments in engineering research. Thus if government/industry or government/society priorities are at odds, university priorities will also be at odds with the constituents

United States government policy emphasizes basic research in principle, but actual expenditures [defense, space, specific governmental missions] significantly favors hardware development. Further, development of commercial and civilian applications is, in most cases, secondary. Thus, in contrast with Japan, direct United states government involvement in short- and long-term industrial productivity is low

The following recommendations may be made. [1] The government should play a stronger role in evaluation of and encouragement in industry research priorities. [2] To maintain leadership in technology, and in productivity and development over the long term, basic research must remain a priority. The details of industry and government expenses on basic research and the aspects and phases of development may be worked out through negotiation, planning and legislation. However, sufficient emphasis on both basic research [for the long term] and on development [for the short term] and on integration of these priorities must be maintained. To enhance effectiveness of expenditure: better coordination of government and industry effort and expense is necessary [this should include university research and education], and government sponsored R&D should focus more on civilian/commercial applications

Government, universities, industry [and labor] must work together in developing a program of initiative and development. [Comments on the nature of the process appear below.]

Expenses may be further reduced through international cooperation and by learning from the experience of other industries and nations

Strengths of successful United States firms are: [1] Simultaneous improvement in quality, cost and speed of commercialization; [2] Bench marking: comparison of products and processes with those of [other] world leaders; [3] Close relations with customers and suppliers; [4] Resolving performance problems, not through hardware development, but by integrating technology, manufacturing and marketing and through organization to promote cooperation, training and continuous learning; and [5] Greater functional integration [in the firm] and flatter organizational profiles [less organizational stratification]

In a general sense, the strengths confirm conclusions for education and research that have already been drawn. Specifics regarding quality and commercialization include bench marking [learning from others]. Customer/supplier relations, technical and organizational integration may be incorporated in courses/experience in design and development and in business organization and management

As noted earlier, the MIT Commission also considered long-term commercial and technological trends and suggested imperatives for United States industry development towards high productivity. Most of the conclusions for education and research have been drawn in earlier considerations. Here, I outline the technological/commercial trends and imperatives for productivity for [1] completeness, and [2] inclusion in curriculum content in technology policy and industrial productivity

The long-term trends are: [1] Economic activity will continue to become more international, [2] [International] markets for consumer and intermediate goods will become more sophisticated, and [3] There will be continued rapid technological progress with particularly rapid change likely in information technology, materials science and engineering, and biotechnology

The five imperatives for high productivity growth [their success will require cooperation among government, business, labor and educational institutions] are: [1] The United States must invest more heavily in the future - this means factories, machinery, research and, above all, in human capital, [2] To develop a new “economic citizenship” of the workplace: effective use of modern technology will require greater involvement of employees as judgment and decision centers and this will require more job training and greater rewards for employee participation: job security and a financial stake in the long-term performance of the firm, [3] Commitment to learning new principles regarding all phases of manufacturing, [4] Combing American individualism with cooperation; and [5] To compete in a world that is becoming more global and competitive, Americans must expand their outlook beyond their own boundaries

In a general sense, discussion reverts to the questions of effective social organization and process, effective values and attitudes; and of developing and implementing these values and attitudes. What is the most effective approach to development? The issues are complex. These issues have been introduced in Part I. Initiative must arise from individuals in the context of attitudes and of the balance between the consensus and the multiple constituencies and attitudinal/decision centers that form a nation [ or other “unit”]. For the purposes of analysis and understanding, an effort must be made to set aside the symbolic decision centers and focus on the actual ones - and on the actual foci and mechanisms of suggestion [regarding attitudes] and control [regarding decision and action]

The context is [and should be developed as] a balance between individual and group: a primary channel of expression of individuality is cooperation and the common good. [On the scale of the firm, and regarding the value of enterprise, this line of thought is paralleled by the ideas of fuller employee participation in the phases of the firm.]

I will briefly consider the social/national context. Action is determined by concepts [understanding of the ways of the world], by information [the actual situation], values [attributes of desirable situations] and decisions [syntheses of concepts, information and values]. In turn [the results of] action [including experiment] conditions concepts, information and values [the world includes both the “external” world and the “internal” knowing and feeling states of individuals]. Coherence arises via centers of knowing and feeling [concepts, value, information], of decision, and of action. The centers become institutionalized, specialized and separated [communication is a primary means of coordination]

Examples are: Concepts - centers of learning, universities; values - again universities, and religious centers; information - universities, media; decisions, action - families, communities, firms, government

Government is the largest and most comprehensive level of decision and, through its public agencies and organizations, of action. In market economies, firms are individual centers of decision in the economic sphere

Adaptability requires elements of the market economy. [Global] interaction requires the coherence provided by government. [Improved communications tilt the balance away from government but do not eliminate the need for government.] In the development of social policy, and in social decision and action, government must be a primary actor

Individuals are the sources of knowing/feeling [concepts...], decision, and action; institutions channel and organize knowing, decision and action - and may be organized in levels. Effective channeling requires recognition of and provision for the power of the individual [unique individuals, leaders, transcend limitations of the institution]. Individuals seeking to contribute do so through the medium of institutions - possibly creating institutions as an intermediate objective

In the issue of social policy [and particularly economic/technology policy], government is the primary medium for decision at the “macro-social” level. Regarding action, government is a primary actor [in the economic sector business is also a primary actor’. Regarding the foundation of decision, the Institution of Learning is a primary source [and this includes understanding of institutions themselves]

Regarding industrial productivity, understanding is provided through the interface of universities [through research into the issue of productivity and through training] and business; micro-decision, or coordination of government/universities/business/labor, is the responsibility of government; the primary actors are business [through manufacture and research] and government [through basic/applied research programs]. Collectively, these institutions provide the media for individual contribution in the areas of knowing, decision and action. It becomes clear that there is no single center of initiative. Each institution or system of institutions must “understand” its interactive role in the ongoing process

[In socialist societies/social economies, the differences from the system of individual and institutional interactions described above is more symbolic than actual. One of the formal differences between a planned economy and a market economy is the substitution of explicit institution for natural evolution. Acknowledging the distinction between actual and symbolic centers, the difference between planned and market economies is one of degree than of absolute difference.]

Education [and research] in technology policy [as an element of social policy] should include understanding of the origin and nature of the actual and symbolic centers of power - of initiative, understanding/knowing, decision, and action

An Acknowledgement

In discussion industrial productivity in Section 4.3, I have drawn freely from the work of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Commission on Industrial Productivity. [I am, of course, responsible for any errors of understanding or interpretation.] However, the social framework for the discussion of the section and the derivation of implications for engineering education and research has not been taken from the work of the MIT Commission. I am the author of the social framework and the derivation of implications for education and research. Though there are numerous sources for this work, these are diffuse, indirect and transformed by reflection, experience, and discussion


The aims of this section are: [1] To present an outline design of engineering curricula and an integrated system of engineering texts - elementary through graduate and design/research monographs - covering the whole field of engineering. The design will start with standard systems and will be based on: [2] The principles, concepts and information of Section 1 through 4 of this essay

Section 5.1 is a broad outline of the curriculum system - based on the standard curricula. In order to keep the discussion compact, a number of the principles and concepts have been incorporated into the curriculum system of this section. Section 5.2 outlines principles of organization and economy. The objectives are to minimize the educational/learning effort and amount of printed material consistent with quality. The approaches include core/advanced material, conceptual synthesis, methods [problem solving, learning to learn/research, information access] is proposed which will maximize the flexibility of the system in keeping up with new developments. The principle is that works that are core/basic/pure require less frequent revision [or replacement] with respect to new information than do works that are specialized/advanced/applied. This implies that there will be more time to work on the quality of the core/basic texts. It is in these texts, encountered at the beginning of a student’s career, that pedagogical and material quality will be most effective in maintaining interest and quality education. The entire system of revision/update will be made simpler by modularity

Section 5.3 contains a detailed outline of the system of curricula. It is not the objective to provide a listing of all possible courses. Rather, I propose a system of specification which makes it possible to derive-modify a curriculum for a given context. The system of this section, combined with the principles of Section 5.2, is the basis of the integrated text system. The purpose of the text system is, naturally: to present to the engineering/academic community an effective, streamlined, economic and durable system which realizes the educational and learning [includes design, research] principles outlined in Sections 1 through 4 and 5.2. The objective stages are: [1] Develop a system of editorship and marketing, [2] Develop a detailed system of topics from the basic level to interface with primary literature, [3] Integrate plan for revision and update with the system of topics, [4] Establish authors. A purpose of this presentation is to attract interest in this concept

As pointed out earlier, the choice of emphases among the divisions of engineering is not planned as a whole but tends to develop incrementally. Post-justification of the system may be provided, and used as a basis of organization. The incremental development of the post-justified system may be planned. Topics are introduced into divisions based on need and, if there is expansion in material and interest, the topic may evolve into a section and then a division. Some of the elements that figure in this process are: scientific activity; developments in technology; resource exploration and development; social movement; and anticipation

The divisions of technology in Section 5.3 contain adequate reference to new developments. Current trends of development are included

Section 5.4 contains an outline curriculum in mechanical engineering and mechanical and thermal sciences. A detailed modular system for applied mathematics, mechanical sciences, and thermal sciences is presented. Together with the information of Section 5.3, these constitute a detailed outline of a typical mechanical engineering curriculum in terms of the present concepts

The modular system provides a sample plan for text development

4.4         A Short Outline of a System of Engineering Curriculum

The curriculum has four parts: [1] Humanities/general education; [2] Core/foundations of engineering; [3] Engineering sciences - three basic divisions; and [4] Experience/advanced study in the engineering functions [design and synthesis, basic and applied research, technology management and policy]

Humanities or General Education - For Understanding and Empowerment

Humanities: The broadest combination of modes of expression, of imaginative and critical study in the dimensions of being and process; and search for new ways of expression, seeing [perception], knowing [thought-concept/feeling], and being

Topics: [1] Understanding and study of the modes of being [nature, social, mental, universal] and process [indeterminism/determinism, mechanism/purpose, evolution/creation], and [2] Experience in the modes of expression, seeing, knowing and being; systematic and open

Core Foundations of Engineering

[1] Common topics [example: basic sciences], [2] Common modes of thought [examples: problem solving, graphics]

These topics include the foundations [see Section 5.3]

Engineering Sciences

I identify three basic areas of science. The three areas classify the fields of engineering. Though not perfect, this classification is convenient - it identifies three basic divisions of engineering

The basic divisions are:

[A] Molecular-biochemical-material [includes chemical engineering]

[B] Macroscopic-physical [includes structural-civil, mechanical-thermal, electrical and electronic branches of engineering]

[C] Social-human-cognitive [includes communications and information processing, applied “artificial” intelligence, methods and planning]

The Engineering Functions: Experience and Advanced Study

The Functions: Design and synthesis; basic and applied research/methods; and technology management and policy

Job Training/Cooperative Work Programs: Cooperative work programs provide a way to interface education with work. They also provide experience in the engineering functions noted above and other functions: construction, production, operations, marketing, management

Integration: Appropriate forms of experience provide an opportunity for integration of the elements of the curriculum, of the engineering functions, and of education/learning and work

Implementation of the Curriculum

The purpose of the discussion to follow is to identify some potential difficulties in realizing the curriculum just outlined and to suggest resolutions

General: The curriculum [the curricula taken as a whole] presented is clearly ambitious. The degree of conceptual integration [with humanities providing the broadest framework] of the curriculum as an integrated system; the connected account of sciences, engineering and technology; the degree of emphasis [within engineering] on both fundamental-conceptual and applied phases; and the implied degree of completeness of these issues and the material [Section 5.3] make for a system that would seem difficult to implement

Achievement of the objectives requires [1] a quality that may be difficult to generally attain, and [2] apparently, presentation of large quantities of material

Regarding quality in the curriculum, I first note that the curriculum is one aspect of education. Implementation of quality in the curriculum requires quality programs. A significant portion of Part I has been concerned with developing quality programs in general. Development of quality programs in the humanities was considered in Section 2; quality engineering programs were discussed in Section 4. Development of quality programs will provide a basis for implementation and continued development of quality curricula

Regarding the specific achievement of quality in the implementation of the curriculum, I first note that [ given quality programs and faculty] [1] the features which make the curriculum one of high quality, rather than making proper implementation difficult to achieve, make it easy to achieve, and [2] these same features make for the correct balances between concepts and applications/information. At the same time, the range of concepts, applications and information placed within the grasp of the student is significantly increased

Some of these elements of the quality curriculum, built into the curriculum outlined above and in Sections 5.2 and 5.3, are: [1] Ongoing development and effective styles of development [see Section 1 for “completeness”, Section 5.2 for “updating”, and the appendix]; [2] Teaching of conceptual synthesis [top-down or hierarchic structures with conceptual system of representation and quality treatment of selected topics, and - from the humanities - paradigms of conceptual synthesis such as evolution and indeterminism, the Socratic approach to understanding, the Horizon/open approach to completeness]; [3] Providing experience in information access, effective learning, research/problem solving; [4] Development and provision of a systematic [conceptually/access-based] set of bibliographies as a complement to the curriculum system: the bibliographies, containing a few thousand items, should be under continual revision and will provide a foundation for study and access to additional literature, and [5] Development of a National System, or set of systems, of curriculum materials. {Having a set of systems will provide for diverse viewpoints, emphases, and needs. It may, of course, be possible to integrate a number of such systems into a single inclusive, comprehensive system which will have directives for recovering the original individual emphases. Additionally, the following important point should be noted: “integration” means more than collecting together; it also means putting into relation, making consistent. The process of integration is also one of adjustment and correction. Thus the composite system being an interactive synthesis, will be more than the sum of its parts - it will have the potential to correct for the deficiencies of its parts.] These systems [or system] would provide a basis for developing or improving an integrated system of texts and monographs and an effective approach to setting up curricula for specific programs by editing, modification and further development. In these tasks, modularity in the elements of the systems [curricula/texts] will be valuable

Significance: All this assumes a significant investment in education. In justification of the program being proposed, we have seen in Section 4 that a number of imperatives in engineering education and research justify a significant investment. A national program of the type proposed here and in Section 4 will introduce significant effectiveness and economy

In the 1950s and 1960s there was a movement, in engineering education and research, away from the shop floor and the field to the more analytical, model-building aspects of engineering. This movement has a number of valuable results which include the introduction of computer/analytical techniques, the expansion of research and development activities, and the development of a number of important phases of advanced technology. Since the time of these developments there has been some movement back toward the more practical aspects. Whether the quality and magnitude of the move is sufficient is open to question. Motivating factors and recommendations for change have been made in Section 4. At the same time, the de-emphasis of the conceptual approach [both within engineering and in understanding the context of engineering] is not desirable and - while there are short term practical benefits - is a de-investment in the long-term future. The present recommendations balance and integrate the needs of the short and the longer terms

The system [described in greater detail in Section 4.3] of business, government agencies, educational/research institutions has decision makers and analysts who meet together in various forums such as the professional societies. A process of interaction and mutual learning leads to a system of self-correction which has worked well in the past. At the same time, based on recent performance factors and changes in the world resource and economic pictures, there is a need for greater responsiveness to external and internal changes and for greater integration. There are, in the United States, a number of coordinating mechanisms, such as some of the programs of the National Science Foundation, professional society committees, and accreditation boards. However, the discussion in Section 4.3 shows that the situation will be enhanced by a well-designed, central system [kept in balance with the self-correcting system just described] for coordination of the response to the challenge [the needs] of the approaching era. The present recommendations represent a move toward a more effective, coordinated system

Humanities: Standard programs in engineering and science with capable personnel and adequate quality exist in reasonable numbers to form the basis of certain developments. These include the development of the core/engineering-science/advanced design phases of the engineering curriculum in the quality and directions necessary by use of the principles outlined above and in Section 4

The issue of humanities in the engineering curriculum is different. The problems that the humanities face regarding their position in the engineering curriculum are: [1] Questions regarding the quality of humanities programs, [2] Unfavorable perceptions and prejudices regarding the nature of the humanities, and [3] The value of the humanities in general and, specifically, as part of the engineering curriculum in competition with the science/engineering content

The problems of quality in humanities and the resolution of these problems have been discussed above and, specifically for the humanities, in Section 2. As pointed out in Section 2, there is a negative effect due to the interaction of the material problems and the perceptions of the humanities. As noted in Section 2, the material resources required to improve programs in the humanities [especially the “general education” component of thee programs] is not excessive when compared to expenditure in sciences and engineering. Therefore the important issues here are the problems of perception and of the value of the humanities

Regarding perception, there are two common detrimental notions of the humanities: first, that of a variety show of entertainments [of varying quality] and, second, that the humanities are what is left over when mathematics, sciences, analytical philosophy, engineering, the professions [the serious disciplines] are subtracted out from the whole of knowledge. While it is true that these perceptions have origin in actual programs and in actual instruction, as well as in the total system of the prejudices of a society, this cannot be regarded as an argument against the intrinsic value of the humanities. The most important issues regarding humanities are the issues of value - generally, and in the engineering curriculum. But first, as a preliminary, the questions of perception require address

Sources of negative perception, based in the quality of actual programs and in the prejudices of a society, can be corrected for by clarity of thought [the distinction between humanities and programs, the sources of prejudices], by improving the quality of programs, and by disrupting the prejudices. There are signs that the system of prejudices that constitute “Western Materialism” are being questions. This is a natural process of learning by consequences which may be accelerated by clear thought. Improvement in the quality of programs is dependent on a combination of: lifting of prejudices, material resources, careful program design. Material resources are dependent on demonstration or advertisement of the value of the humanities. Combining these observations with the two common detrimental notions of the humanities, the primary question to be addressed in connection with the problems of perception is “What are the humanities?”

I will repeat my concept of the humanities: The broadest combination of modes of expression, of imaginative and critical study in the dimensions of being and process; and, in some of its imaginative/ creative phases, search for new ways of expression, of seeing [perception], knowing [thought-concept/ feeling], and being. Accordingly, humanities includes mathematics, sciences and engineering as very special cases. I shall not refer to the sciences and the humanities, for they are not distinct. Of course, there is no real content to my conception of the humanities unless I demonstrate that it is a deep, structured concept of significance [and, preferably, that it includes and is related to other significant concepts of the humanities]

There are systems of thought and feeling which see all of existence, including mind, as an integrated, dynamic system. I have discussed this question in some detail in Evolution and Design. Additionally, the discussions in Sections 1 and 2 show the depth, structure and significance to my concept of the humanities. Particularly absent from my concept of the humanities is the limiting anthropocentric, subjective slants connected with some of the conceptions. These limiting slants may be connected with some of the negative perceptions of the humanities; unlike the limiting viewpoints, the concept that I have chosen is explicit and expansive

The natures of modern science and engineering are intimately tied up with social-economics of the modern world. On the other hand, the humanities according to my definition includes the modes that will serve humanity where and when the more specialized modes fail. This is the point of contact between other concepts of the humanities and the one I use here

In a number of significant ways my concept of the humanities is close to that of general philosophy. However, “all modes of expression...of study...and being” implies more than general philosophy. Included in the present concept are: art and religion [as modes of expression and knowing], mythic modes of expression and knowing and, also the primal and animal modes [which are significant in human behavior - especially those aspects of behavior which are not under control of the ego and not normally contained in conscious awareness]. In other words, humanities include the symbolic, sensual, imaging, thinking, feeling, and body modes of expression and knowing. The body modes bring focus close to the modes of being and of being human: what are the ways in which humans can live - and live with meaning? Finally, the humanities include all dimensions of study - of being and process. In other words, the humanities, according to the present concept, are complete with respect to all modes of subject and all modes of object. Again, this brings out the depth and synthesis contained within the concept

It is not clear as to what is humanistic about my concept of the humanities. There are other conceptions which, reacting to excesses of materialism/technology/science [in the form of scientism] sought to exclude thee coarser aspect of life and include only the finer aspects of the human spirit. My concept finds human nature, the human spirit, to contain all elements of existence [of being and process] and of knowing, and is built upon the notion that only in completeness will there be health - the health of the material economy and the health of the human spirit. In other words, we cannot separate man from part of his being and leave a whole man. I argued in Part I that no material economy will be seen as healthy until humans have an internal resolution of their sense of needs and wants. And, humans will not feel alive until they see themselves in process and in relation - in relation, not only to other humans, but in relation to and in process with the universal ground of [human] existence. [It is modern evolutionary theory [in physical, biological and mental domains...and in their incompleteness] which is showing the identity of human constitution with the elements of creation, and modern technology which is showing actual potentials for growth or process.]

The general value of the concept of the humanities becomes clear. Within the contained comfort of modern civilization, the humanities may be seen as a refinement; the “material” disciplines: sciences, technology, engineering are the blood and guts of social life. Scratch at the stability of the modern world, or at the nature of the human individual [the man or woman who would know the core of her being, who would be at peace with existence and death - or non-existence/apparent non-existence], know the destitution contained in the world - and its actual lack of resolution: and we see the signs [and uses] of the primal, animal and universal modes. A living awareness of the content of the present concept of the Humanities [whether derived through instruction or intuition] will be essential to leadership in the modern world. Further, this need will not be only through feeling [affect] and the consequences of feeling: first, knowledge of the dimensions of existence will be essential in the area of decisions regarding material affairs; second, knowledge I the modes of [human] being will be essential in decisions regarding human affairs; and, third, knowledge of individual and group action [elements of human process] and the relation of these to the processes of knowing will be essential in effecting [social] movement towards desired ends. [It is true that I have just identified some elements of political decision-making and action; what is essential about this identification is the essential role of full and effective knowledge of the humanities.]

[As citizens, engineers need to have experience in the humanities.] However, the issue here is: What is the role of the humanities in the execution of the engineering functions? Why does the engineer have an engineering-specific interest in the humanities? [Why does any specialist, whether a scientist or a painter, have a specific interest in the humanities?] The answers to these questions are closely related to the general “function” of the humanities. The impacts of the material products of engineering are in the environmental, social and human [psychological] spheres and, more and more, the engineer must pay attention to these issues. This is essential in the transfer of technology to the third world The importance of these issues at home is also clear. Presently, there are buffers [material abundance, the umbrella of the organization] shielding designers from the full extent of the pressures. As the material boundaries become more restrictive, the pressure will intensify. Ultimately, awareness of the other dimensions will not be sufficient: designs will integrate “functional”, artistic, environmental features. This is already a feature of many societies including the antecedents of Western Civilization

Engineers [and planners] are often perplexed by the whole cycle of acceptance of designs - these observations are based on personal experience in the engineering profession

Technically “perfect” designs are subject to political review; and successful executive review does not guarantee social acceptance. The full study and awareness of the process of social-decision [discussion of social organization and process [Section 4.3] will enhance both the process of acceptance and the design. [There is an analogy between this situation and functional integration within organizations.]

In what way shall the humanities be integrated into the engineering curriculum? I have noted that the humanities according to the present concept are close in nature to general philosophy. However, as noted, the humanities also include the artistic, religious and mythic modes [and contents]. The extent of the field seems forbidding. But: a number of significant approaches to reducing the extent of the study, without reducing the essence are possible. First, there is a core philosophical system [or set of systems] which may be appreciated. This includes philosophy as process [imaginative/critical. Note that critical endeavor by itself is creative of nothing.] Second, associated with this are some of the special topics or “applications” within philosophy: such as the philosophy of nature and social philosophy. These first two contents of philosophical study [the core, and the applications to the dimensions of existence - natural and social] shall be considered for their general interest and for relevance to the engineer [as pointed out above regarding integration of the dimensions into design, and being aware of/using the real process of social decision]

Third, it is clear that no engineer can have significant experience in, for example, all the artistic modes [fine arts, music...] as part of the engineering curriculum - this is hardly possible for those focusing on art. However, a deep appreciation for art may be developed. The concept of appreciation as used here is more inclusive than the standard conception. The standard version focuses on the relation between the work[s] of art and the affected individual. Here, by appreciation I mean: The origin of the artistic modes in the more general human modes; the origins of the artistic personality and special attributes of the artistic sensitivity in perception and representation; art in the evolution of Homo sapiens sapiens; art in the development of civilization; the developmental relations between art and science. [In all these relations it is becoming appreciated that art has had an essential function - it is not merely an ornament, or a solace or an inspiration. It has been argued, for example, that the development of time and spatial perception in Western art was essential to the precise concepts and measures of time and space necessary to the modern - post-Galilean - development of Western science [G. Szamosi, Twin Dimensions: The Invention of Time and Space, 1986.] Thus the approach to the study of art will be synthetic [relations to other endeavors will be included] and dynamic or evolutionary [the significance in human development and the interaction with the whole sphere of human activity]. The synthetic and dynamic modes of study are complementary to each other and, taken as a system, are complementary to the analytical modes. The analytical modes start with the elements and build up to the whole. Without the reverse process [how does our knowledge of the whole affect our understanding of the elements? Understanding of the elements [arts, sciences, decision, knowing, learning, function, action] remains incomplete, off center. [In actuality the synthetic and the analytic modes must always be present. However, many systems emphasize or explicitly recognize one of these modes while the other enters intuitively or dialectically/historically. The point being made here is that explicit recognition of analytic and synthetic modes is important.] By the dual process of analytical and synthetic learning [supplemented by historical experience] we recognize the elements of human endeavor [sciences, arts...] as coherent [integrated] and essentially interacting/co-developing. The alternative [when focus is restricted to analysis] is a view of the elements as defined by fashion and unrelated except as items to be consumed by the human consumer

[In academia the humanities are an empire divided. I look to a new, powerful, empowering synthesis of the humanities to balance the minute exercises of modern academia. I believe that the ideas outlined above and in Sections 1 through 4 will provide the direction...It has been argued that “high” art has always been removed from the immediate realm of day-to-day living. Perhaps so… The same is true of “high” science - although the truth of this is less manifest. In some ways this is necessary. It is indeed possible to corrupt both art and science and the present century provides many examples of this: the influences of both totalitarianism and capitalism. This goes back to the concept of pure knowledge defined earlier. However, I note: [1] the origins of art and science are in general human experience, [2] the inspiration for art and science is often the interaction between common experience, the body of experience and knowledge in art or science, and the artistic or scientific mode, [3] the arts and science form inspiration sin the material and general phases of human experience, and [4] for continued health, the artistic and technical phases shall continue to draw from each other.]

Fourth, the engineering student may choose one of the arts [or other aspect of the humanities] for actual experience. Finally, fifth, engineering design shall provide examples of integration of the previous four topics. This shall provide actual/experiential integration to complement the theoretical integration outlined above

It is clear that development of these aspects of the curriculum [humanities and their integration with engineering - and other divisions of education] will require effort and time. Program design will be crucial. Backing of the program by material and cultural resources will be necessary. However, the arguments outlined above how that the investment will be sound

Imperatives for Implementation of the Curriculum

The following imperatives are with respect to the Short Outline of a System of Engineering Curriculum:

Investment [in all phases]; program design: emphasis/content [argued above and in Sections 1 through 4]

Development of the curriculum:

A national system: programs, curricula, integrated text system

Attracting the best talent to be part of the process

4.5         Curricula: Principles of Organization and Economy

[The appropriate principles also apply to organization and planning of the integrated text system

A number of principles used in curriculum design have evolved over a period of time. Here, I present a variant collection of such principles. The considerations used to enhance existing principles and to determine and arrange the final collection are drawn from Sections 1 through 4

I have arranged the principles of organization and economy into three main units: Education, Economy and Effectiveness; Integrated Approach; and Revision and Updating

Education, Economy and Effectiveness

[A] Systems of instruction: arranged in increasing order of independence of the student

Lecture-assignment [includes guided design, laboratory work]


Tutorial [the British system of tutorial is a form of study and research in which guidance, motivation and criticism from the tutor [a staff/faculty person of proven scholarship or research ability who may help the student avoid unproductive directions] forms an independent education in study and research. Purposes of the guidance include development of: ability to identify productive areas for work and to gather the important information; ability to generate and identify significant and accessible problems; standard technical skills; ability in transitions among heuristic and formal [logical] processes in problem solving and creative synthesis. The transition to independence over a period of one to three years is made more effective by the tutor; additionally the effective tutor brings the student into the main arenas of work. Individuals at the extremes of the talent/motivation spectrum benefit less from the process. [This is true in most higher education.]

As a result of greater access to education in Britain and changes in the sociology of learning since World War II, British universities have moved closer to the American system of undergraduate education

Research and Design [from guided activity to independence. The American system of graduate training has points of similarity with the old British tutor system - in its methods and in its objectives.]

[B] Sequencing:



[C ] Systems of learning: arranged in increasing order of independence. [The following items have elements in common with “systems of instruction”.]


Information access

Conceptual knowledge; unification of elements of information [science, for example]; and unification of elements of knowledge [science and philosophy]


Independence in development and generation of knowledge and learning; [conceptual discipline and free experiment: conceptual and empirical]

Integrated [Systems] Approach

An integrated approach eliminates unnecessary repetition, motivational material, description, drill, concept-splitting due to over specialization...leaving time for essential repetition, essential material and learning

[A] Unification: [Note points of contact with systems of learning/instruction. The modes of unification of greater power are related to the systems of learning which involve more independence. The items below are arranged in increasing order of unifying power.]

Analogy, metaphor

Conceptual integration [Examples: magnetism and electricity are known to interact - Faraday - and finally the concepts are synthesized into electromagnetism by Maxwell; the diversity of life is ordered by evolutionary biology.]

Methods [conceptual-experimental; intuitive]

Sociological [inter-subjective agreement; knowledge networks: since no individual can master the entire domain of human knowledge, confidence in the domain develops through points of contact between the knowledge of an individual and others working in neighboring fields - this enhances the unifying power of conceptual and methodological synthesis; the unifying synthesis due to the interaction of knowing-deciding-acting-learning.]

Evolutionary [the representation of the evolutionary process in humanity is adaptability and intellectual and feeling-existential openness.]

[B] Core and specialized material

Core material: fundamental, basic, and common [examples: basic sciences, mathematics and logic, experimental methods, design, professional issues.]

Specialized or advanced material: [Specialized and advanced topics in sciences and mathematics, and in design; topics in engineering sciences; advanced technology and state-of-the-art topics.]

Radial approach: Examples:



[C] Integration across achievement levels: Elementary-Advanced-Graduate-Professional-Research

The issue here is: to what extent can these levels be integrated

Some factors are: Abilities of students [for more capable undergraduates at universities with high admission standards elementary and advanced text levels may be combined]; degree of conceptual integration; interaction of the previous two factors; degree of conceptual sophistication; nature and style [quality] of the conceptual approach

Integration of text [/monograph] materials: for more capable students the following should be of advantage [too much stratification can be an impediment]

Elementary and advanced. [Allowing for pedagogical elaboration and illustration in selected topics will be sufficient for the capable student.]

Combinations of graduate, professional and research. [Details will depend on maturity of the field, available educational facilities, etc.]

Integration in programs of instruction: more separation is needed in instruction than in text levels. It is traditional for the basic/core levels to be separate in both undergraduate and graduate programs

[D] Modularity principles: Modularity adds to economy and effectiveness by increasing flexibility - and while it is counter to physical integration, it is not necessarily counter to conceptual integration

For modular materials to have maximum flexibility some repetition of materials may be necessary to avoid reference across texts

Modes of modularity:

By division into levels. [there is a balance with integration to be maintained.]

By division into subtexts. [Useful if conceptual integrity is maintained.]

By organizing problems, applications, design areas around a single common theoretical core

Revision and Updating

When a field changes sufficiently, revision is necessary. Modular materials are well adapted to revision and update if the different parts of a given module change at similar rates. Below are approaches to distinguishing and identifying rates of change of the topics

[A] Core vs. advanced materials: Generally, the advanced topics evolve more rapidly than the basic/core materials. Changes in core material tend to be in emphasis and conceptual treatment. The additional factor for advanced materials is the growth of the information

Because the core materials change slowly, text form is appropriate and more effort in the areas of presentation and form is possible. [Storage and distribution through disc/electronic media is not yet common enough to be a significant factor. Future developments in this area - and in artificial intelligence - may affect the nature and importance of presentation and form.]

The more advanced areas may be suited to text form. However, for fields that are changing very rapidly, state-of-art reports may be appropriate

[B] Rapidly changing fields are identified by following the interactive evolution among science-engineering-technology. As pointed in Section 5.1, the factors that figure into rates of change are: scientific activity; basic engineering research; developments in technology; anticipation; social movement; environmental and resource factors

4.6         A System of Engineering Curricula and Texts: [An Elaboration of the Outline of Section 5.1]

4.6.1        General Education: Humanities

[Note: Principles and motivation for the topics have been discussed in the text of this essay. In some cases, brief outlines have been given.]

[A] The Nature of the Humanities/ General Studies

The discussion is with respect to the concept [and its elaboration] given earlier in the text

[1] The concept of the humanities as the broadest and deepest combination of modes of expression, perception, knowing [thought-feeling], and being [the elaboration includes decision-actin-learning]; broadest integration of subject-object [the philosophical framework of Section 1 considers subject-object to be a unit]; search for new modes/clarification of known modes [Section 5.1 for detail]. Evolutionary, sociological and conceptual integration

[2] Humanities in the history of Western Civilization [and humanistic study in the history of other civilizations]. Uses of humanities: General uses are understanding, decisions, communication, and group actions; uses in the special disciplines are derived from the general uses - understanding the nature and roles of the special disciplines, their integration into general social process

The traditional role of the humanities [expression, illumination and inspiration of the higher nature of humanity] is part of the more general concept considered here. Whether the traditional role is considered to be a use depends on the meaning of “use”

[3] Philosophy of learning [primary learning or research and creative synthesis - the growth of human knowledge; and secondary learning or education - the transmission of acquired human knowledge; the continuities of primary and secondary learning]

[B] Understanding

[1] “Methods” of awareness, creativity and criticism. [Perception in the sensual and intuitive modes, conception - transformation of percepts and concepts - in the intellectual/thinking and feeling modes; aesthetic and ethical senses; these are alternate expressions of some of the modes in item A.1, above.]

[2] Search for new modes/clarification of known or understood modes. Synthesis in the understanding and integration into the individual

[3] A deep, structured understanding [according to available and evolving ideas] of existence:

Being: Nature, society, mind/psyche, the universal

Process: Evolution - natural, or physical or biological/ecological;

Social, or group knowing-decision-action-learning;

Mental-emotive, the elements of item B.1, above in interaction with memory/


The universal, includes [as understood] the growth of consciousness; the interface between the known and the unknown, the existent and the non-existent [potentially existent]

Mechanism and the synthesis of evolution and mechanism

Modes or paradigms of mechanism and evolution: Mechanism vs. purpose/teleology [note: “mechanism” is being used in two related senses: mechanism, or explanation of change and Mechanism, or paradigm of explanation], emergent evolution vs. creation [recall earlier discussion in which the issue of emergence was found to be interwoven with perception-conception - that is, at this level of abstraction issues of appearance and reality have not been separated], and indeterminism vs. determinism [another distinction for which appearance/reality have not been completely separated]

[4] Item 3 includes the content of item 1: integration of awareness and existence [the framework of Section 1]

[5] An outline of modern knowledge [as available and evolving] based on the understanding outlined above and as briefed in Section 1. [Details are in Evolution and Design, cited earlier.] Other systems of knowledge may be translated into the modern idiom and then, perhaps - according to desire and trans-cultural sensitivity, integrated into process/being: group/individual [likewise: new knowledge]

[6] The modern world: problems and potential - short and long terms. Integration. Reflection in human/ social nature

[C] Expression

[1] Experience in the philosophical and mythic modes of linguistic [abstract symbolic] expression

[2] Selected experience in artistic [includes feeling] modes

[3] Art and: perception; cognition; psyche; myth; linguistic expression; integration. Integration into being/process [B.3]: group/individual

[D] Integration of Social Action with Human Nature

[The content of the following discussion is implicit in items A through B, above.]

Consider the constellation of philosophical, mythic, religious and artistic expression. These activities may be seen as an exploration of the universe in all its aspects [including human nature, mind as objects]. At the same time they are expressions of human nature. Note that: [1] Taken as a whole the activities indicate a depth that is not revealed by any one of them individually. [2] The history of the group of activities shows a deep resonance within human nature to the objects of focus in the activities. Irrespective of the value attached to this resonance, its existence must be admitted

The humanities may be viewed as explorations into the elements of the real as expressions of human depth. The diffusion of the contents of humanistic study influence perception, thought, feeling - and [therefore] disposition to action. Mutual disposition is affected - and [therefore] mutual [social] action. In relation with this actin-oriented aspect, the present conception of the humanities as open, expansive, evolving must be viewed as positive - a balance to the negative aspects of the dogmas to which the human spirit may cling

This effect of the content of full humanistic expression on individual and group action is a complement to the framework, considered earlier, for action provided by the humanities

[E] A Systematic Bibliography for the Humanities

The concept of the humanities I have presented is a structured one [this is what makes it an explicitly concept]. The structure is provided by the interrelations among the elements. Approaches to study of these dynamic relations are [1] The framework of general evolution, [2] The conceptual structure of general [abstract symbolic] language-based study and, more specifically, of general philosophy, [3] Reflection of the elements [that constitute the humanities] in human nature, [4] Artistic and related-perception

This systematic structure provides the basis for organizing a bibliography in the general studies that constitute the humanities. An example is provided by the bibliography cited in items D and E of the references for the appendix “A Program for the Integration of Human Understanding and Action”

The concept behind such a bibliography is rather different from such programs as the “Great Books” and “Harvard Classics”. [1] The system consists of a few thousand works and so promotes greater breadth. [2] The structure provides for depth and direction; [3] Modern and specialized works may be included. This enhances the previous items and promotes beginnings in independent scholarship: the “student” reads criticisms, is exposed to the modern “conversation”, makes searches in libraries and catalogs. [4] Scholarship and research are further developed by provision [item D of the references to the Appendix] of a system of reference and access which includes an array of reference material. [5] The system of bibliography promotes the “open” aspect of study/research/creative synthesis. [6] The system is not restricted to a single slant - the bibliographies of item E [references/Appendix] already contain two mode of organization: conceptual, and historical/individual. Electronic systems of storage significantly enhance the possibilities of bibliographic data bases with multiple systems of classification and access. [7] The system naturally encourages students to develop their own systems [or ideas for systems] and independence within the total literature

Conclusion: The system of works described [in references/Appendix, items A through F] is a base for a systematic study and synthesis in the humanities. It contains: a development of a philosophical system of general study: concept, execution, integration with social decision and action, reference/access system and bibliography for reference works in general and specialized disciplines, bibliographic systems and their development, and integration with the problems and potential of modern humanity. The work is ongoing. I have attempted to transcend personal slants by [1] remaining perceptive, and [2] approaching the developments from a number of points of view [evolutionary, philosophical-conceptual, the growth of individual awareness, realism]. The final work must contain elements of persona orientation. I encourage other developments of similar studies from alternate perspectives - to provide [evolving] foundations for human development

4.6.2        Engineering: The Core and Foundations

A. Common Modes of Thought and Practice [All Branches]

[1] Visual geometry, spatial [and temporal] thinking - intuitive and formal, graphics, engineering drawing, graphics

[2] Language, logic and mathematics [deterministic/deterministic - stochastic systems, and systems exhibiting ambiguity], digital representations and computation. Programming

[3] Scientific, experimental and field methods. [Research]

[4] Design:

The process. Problem solving: information gathering, generation of alternatives, search. Analysis and optimization [including optimal control]

[Some notions of problem solving exclude creativity. However, the phases of information gathering, generation of alternatives, and search can all involve creative activity. More fundamentally, problem identification/definition is a basic part of design which is creative in essence. Problem definition is a process which starts amid the details of a situation: it begins with an unclear awareness of a need, and proceeds toward the formulation of a concept: the problem. The bottom-up process of problem definition is in contrast to the top-down process of problem resolution. In actual design, the B-U and T-D processes are not separate but interwoven.]

Elements of design [design elements]

Management of research and development, design, creativity

[B] Common Topics

[1] Basic sciences:

Natural: Physical and biological sciences

Social: Economics [micro-, sectional and macro-] and economic optimization. Microeconomics, business organization and engineering management. Macroeconomics and industrial productivity… [Elements of sociology and political science are an intrinsic part of the humanities as considered above.]

Human: Faculty psychology: cognition, affect and conation [motivation]. Behavioral and depth psychologies. Psychoanalytical theories; personality. The nature of human symbols. Psychological states and processes

[2] Information access: Library, catalog use - [preprimary], primary, secondary and tertiary literature. [For other, informal sources see item 4 “Professional issues” below.] Computer [electronic data base] storage and retrieval. Modes of representation: data, information, knowledge and expert systems

[3] Miscellaneous: Units, dimensions, physical magnitudes, and dimensional analysis. Engineering systems analysis: concept [from science: particles, forces, fields...], principles [mass, momentum, energy, species...]. Engineering elements [unit “devices” and operations], and “methods” [free body, control system...]. [Note: the free body approach, though very useful in avoiding some types of errors, is not fundamental. The concept of the free body and its application can be derived from a correct statement of the principles - and a correct definition of the type of system: particle, rigid body, elastic body...The control volume formulations follow from the system - fundamental - formulations and appropriate subsidiary definitions.]

[4] Professional issues

Information update: Journals and trade magazines, other publications, computer networks [also see itemB.2, above]. Professional societies. Technical committees and conferences

Professional registration. Career paths

Ethics. Philosophy, engineering and business practice

4.6.3        Engineering Sciences

[A] Molecular-Biochemical-Material

Molecular systems, material and chemical sciences; engineering quantum mechanics [e.g., quantum electronics]; biosciences for engineering [genetics, biochemistry, cell function, bio-tissues and bio-structures, organs]

[B] Macroscopic-Physical

Mechanical [Structural, machines, mechanical systems, vibrations, controls; continuous media.]

Thermal [Thermodynamics of systems with a finite number of state variables, thermo-continuum mechanics - including diffusion, chemical reactions and heat transfer; power and propulsion.]

Electrical [Electrophysics: electromagnetic fields and waves, plasmas; light/x-ray/electron optics; quantum electronics and materials. Devices and systems - power and light; communications, information, and computer/data processing; consumer electronic systems.]

“Interdisciplinary” topics [E.g., electromechanics, electrochemistry.]

[C] Human-Social-Cognitive

Management, social and behavioral sciences. Social decision and actin

Communication, information and information generation and processing sciences. Digital data processing and its arithmetic, algebraic, logical, and textual interpretations

Artificial Intelligence; simulation of human/animal behavior; robotics and control

Methods, planning and implementation

4.6.4        Advanced Design and Synthesis, Research, Social Policy and Technology - The Engineering Functions

[A] Advanced Design

Concepts of design. The design process as part of the problem situation

Systems engineering: Modeling [analytic and synthetic methods]; theory and techniques; system design

Systems, processes and elements; hierarchy in design

[B] Research

Research programs and divisions [and institutes]. Management of research and development, design, and creativity. Selection of focus and problems. Program management. Initiation and termination of programs

Research design. Phases of research: information gathering and information synthesis and processing, and interactions between these phases. [Interactions of the phases.]

Methods of information gathering, synthesis and processing. [Methods have been adequately discussed above. Briefly, the methods are: information gathering: experiment, monitoring, survey; synthesis: conceptual analysis, modeling - analog, synthetic and analytic, and digital simulation of systems and models.]

[C] Technology Policy and Technology Development

[1] Preliminary: History of technology; interactions of technology and technology development with social-cultural, economic and resource factors. Technology and civilization

[2] Technology development: issues and policy; relations to social and other factors:

[3] Basic [human-culture appropriate] technologies: key areas for development:

Relation to human and cultural-social needs

oriented towards needs [vs. consumption: in human terms, consumption arises from inappropriate substitution of one value for another - e.g., material value for human relationships; in social/economic terms, consumption arises from inappropriate social organization, and is needed to maintain certain types of economics]


Relation to resources, economics and social organization

local vs. global issues and effects

sustainable systems, economies

size of systems

[4] Advanced technologies: key issues:

Technology and human potential: space, information and bio-technologies may be seen as expanding the material, intellectual and evolutionary boundaries of human life

Military technology and international policy: escalation vs. cooperation

Key technologies for development [ see discussion in Section 4.3]

[D] Systems and Technologies

Introduction: Among the elements of the curriculum, the technologies are the most rapidly changing. Therefore, it is essential that the content of the instructional materials be kept up to date. Generally, it will be superfluous to give comprehensive instruction in the technologies. A broad picture; a discussion of the fundamentals such as product realization and process technology, interchangeable/modular systems, and quality control; and elective work in some specific aspects [as an integral part of the program] will be sufficient

Detailed understanding of specific systems is often best learned in training programs. A natural interface between work-training and education is the cooperative work program. These approaches provide effective initial experience in construction, production and maintenance phases of engineering activity. It should also be noted that systems engineering approaches provide effective ways of developing schedules of construction, production sequences and programs of maintenance

The following system of technologies is organized according to: the divisions of the engineering sciences [Section 5.3.3], actual systems in existence, and the needs. The organization of actual systems is, in addition to the “logical” factors, dependent on the history of development. The first branch of modern engineering to emerge was civil engineering which grew out of civilian applications of military techniques of construction in seventeenth century France. The term “civil engineer” first came into use in the eighteenth century. Mechanical engineering grew out of the industrial revolution-related development of machines and energy of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Electrical engineering was made possible by the growth of mechanical technology and of knowledge of electrical and magnetic [and later electromagnetic] principles and motivated by applications in lighting and energy conversion in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Chemical engineering started with the late nineteenth century proliferation of chemical processes in metallurgy, food, textiles, etc. Finally, among the core branches of modern engineering, minerals and mining engineering have a long, originally independent history dating back to the eighteenth-century mining schools of Europe

Developments of the twentieth century include [1] Development of the electronics, computer/information processing and communications technologies, [2] An expansion of the scope of engineering into the “softer” fields of architecture, urban development and planning, environment/resource preservation, and public policy, [3] A proliferation of special disciplines and technologies deriving from activities in new environments [ocean, cold regions, space...], and specialization due to expansion of opportunity [materials, agriculture, aerospace...], and [4] Since World War II, biotechnology. [See item A, of references, Appendix “A Program for the Integration of Human Understanding and Action”]

Attention now turns to the actual technologies

[1] Molecular-Biochemical-Materials Technologies

Biotechnology: Biosciences at the genetic, biochemical, cell, tissue, organ/structure, organism levels with applications:

Genetic engineering: detection of hereditary diseases manufacture by bio-processes of enzymes and other chemicals for control of specific processes in the organism; applications of biochemistry are similar

Biomechanics: application of knowledge of mechanics of movement and the structures of the body to improved performance and reduced injury; examples are in sports medicine, detection of and correction for scoliosis, and applications in biomedical technology

Biomedical engineering: applications of other fields in medicine requiring a knowledge of the physics, chemistry an biology of the body; applications in prosthesis, artificial organs such as heart pumps and dialysis machines, medical instruments including micro-surgery, an array of diagnostic devices and systems based on methods of experiment well established in physics and chemistry [x-ray, CAT-scan, magnetic resonance, etc.], design of hospital equipment

Clinical engineering: applications of engineering approaches to improvement of heath-care systems

Bioengineering: theoretical and experimental study of structural and functional properties of all components of biological systems [organism down] as well as the integration of these components in organism. [Biomechanics is a special case.] Applications fall into two general classes: [1] Applications to the function of organisms, especially of humans, and [2] Applications of biological principles in other fields. Examples are development of photosynthesis for solar energy conversion and development of bio-computation devices [a future possibility]

Agro-bioengineering: Whereas genetic engineering may deal with genetic alteration and combination at the molecular level, agro-bioengineering deals with selection and development of hybrids at the individual-population levels

Molecular technologies: employ physical [including chemical] properties at atomic and molecular levels toward applications. Largely at the conceptual level [e.g., R. P. Feynman’s analysis of computing elements at the atomic/molecular level], applications are projected in bioengineering, information storage and processing/computation, and in materials technology

Materials technologies: the major classes of material for modern applications are: ceramics, composites, metals [including alloys and metal compounds], polymers and plastics, and textiles. There are any other naturally occurring and artificial materials of lesser importance, or not, at the front of development - these include wood, bamboo, straw, rock and stone, sand, clay, leather, bone, shell, papers and boards, and gemstones. The naturally occurring materials are often processed or finished before use

Materials science concerns the relation between structure [atomic, molecular, granular and composite] and properties, and the effect of processing upon structure and therefore on properties - or direct study of the relationships between processing and properties [use of structure as an intermediate variable is effective because it systematizes the study and reveals underlying patterns]. Material processing and materials engineering include extraction of materials from their native forms [e.g., metallurgy studies and develops processes for extraction of metals from their ores], manufacturing and production techniques for transforming materials into physical shapes and forms for application, selection of materials for applications, and materials testing

It is not possible to provide details regarding these facets of materials science and technology in this essay. The intent here is to provide an outline. However, further information is available in a number of standard references [item A, references/Appendix]

The modern significance of materials technologies is [1] Materials properties are the limiting factors of performance in almost all applications, and [2] New materials for new applications

Chemical technologies: areas of application and development in the chemical technologies and chemical engineering include: inorganic, organic chemicals - especially petrochemicals and polymers, process control and optimization, unit operations, transport phenomena and fluid behavior

Some special applications include: materials for semiconductors and biotechnology, development of non-petroleum stocks for the chemical industries, corrosion studies and corrosion-resistant materials. [This shows the intersection of the materials and chemical branches - and more generally the artificial nature of the divisions. This, of course, does not imply that the divisions are not convenient or mere bureaucratic divisions.]

Food engineering may be considered to be a special division or application of chemical engineering. Food technologies concern: production and storage, small- and large-scale processing and preserving, quality control, distribution and use

Resources engineering and resource technologies: issues concern development and extraction, conservation and allocation among geopolitical divisions and application areas [materials, energy, and food]

Minerals and petroleum: exploration, extraction, and preliminary processing for materials, chemicals, and energy needs

Land, water and atmospheric resources: dimensions are quality and space [that is, use of space - land, marine, atmospheric and beyond-terrestrial spaces]. Issues concern: conservation, quality and pollution [prevention; and improvement of quality],m development of untapped resources [example: polar ice] or new aspects [ocean thermal energy, salinity gradients...], allocation, sovereignty..

Biotic resources: agriculture and farming; mariculture and “farming” marine biotic resources

Subfields include: energy, farm machinery, food processing, irrigation and fertilizers, forest engineering, aqua-cultural engineering, international agriculture-development

[2] Macroscopic-Physical Technologies

Military science and technology

World order, peace, arms control

[The question arise whether these issues are technological issues. To the extent that fabrication of order and peace is possible, and consistent with an expanding view of engineering in which engineering merges with other disciplines with similar methods despite dissimilar subject matter, the issues may be considered technological. Certainly, the issue have features of uniqueness which prevent any reduction to method or precedent - but the same is true of the field of technology as conventionally understood. Granted this much, it would seem appropriate to discuss the issues of peace and arms control as an aspect of human-social technologies and to discuss military systems at this point. However, the separate discussion of military systems and of the issues of peace and control seems to dehumanize the issues of military conflict and lead to escalation as a result of a narrow focus on the material issues of war

A second question now occurs: Is it appropriate to include military technology in a work concerned with the civil dimensions of technology? I believe so. Relegating the destructive aspects of technology to the control of special interests will lead to a global escalation of militarist values. I now turn to listing the issues.]

Applied philosophy of needs [Addressing the full spectrum of human and material needs - including dignity, self-esteem, cultural values - must be a part of any approach to world order and peace.]

Meeting needs

Social-political-economic-strategic dimensions of peace; resolution of conflict

[The issues of the growing world population and depleting resources obviously require immediate and continuing attention. Equally importantly, but perhaps less obviously, the quality of the attention is a concern. The pressing nature of the problems does not mean that every attempt at resolution should be temporary and specific. The human meaning of scarcity is an important issue. Who is responsible for population control? Is “control” an issue? Is the human race a unity or shall the nations be self-preserving? What are the human issues and what are the relations between the material and the human issues? Shall some nations proper while others have starvation? What are the responsibilities of those who have [relative] abundance? Can these questions be answered? What are the natures and significance of answers? Should these questions be answered - should we human beings face these issues - or might it be better to leave resolutions to fate or other powers? What is the full range of proper human-global issues?


Economic and social


Military information systems

Military systems

Military science

Systems approach to offense, defense

Weapons, delivery, protection and defense, detection and communication

Military industry

Civil engineering and related technologies:

The origins of civil engineering were in the civil applications of military technology. Civil engineering remains concerned with the civil domain. However, since the actual situations do not recognize the disciplinary boundaries, the distinctions between the fields are not clear and are often defined by historical and local circumstances. Civil and mechanical engineering have a number of common topics; however, civil engineering is usually concerned with structures and structural materials while mechanical engineering is concerned with machines for movement and power

Highway and transportation technologies: geotechnical engineering; surveying

Construction technologies: buildings, bridges, dams and hydroplants; structures; architectural engineering

Waterways, irrigation, rivers, estuaries, coastal regions, water resources: uses, development, control, management

Environment: assessment of impacts, conservation, use, pollution/waste control, whole-cycle/sustainable technologies: water, land and air

Mechanical, Energy and Industrial Engineering and Related Technologies

Machines and mechanical systems: manufacturing systems, hydraulic-fluids systems, automotive systems; systems and controls

[The major manufacturing industries are aerospace, automotive, clothing and footwear, furniture.]

Thermal-fluids systems: propulsion, power [conventional and renewable], energy and management; heating, ventilation and cooling; hydraulic-fluids systems [see also machines and mechanical systems above], solar engineering

Industrial and management engineering

Specialized disciplines with origins in/related to mechanical engineering and related technologies:

Ocean, marine [and naval architecture], aerospace, nuclear engineering/technologies

Electrical Engineering, Information Science and Related Technologies

[Information science is often associated with electrical engineering because of the hardware connection. Information science is, however, a cognitive science and the related technologies may be considered part of the social-human-cognitive technologies - item 3, below.]

Electrophysical devices

Power and lighting

Electromechanical, electrochemical and other “mixed” technologies

Communications systems technologies

Computer/data processing systems technologies

[3] Social-Human-Cognitive Technologies

Social sciences/analysis and related technologies

Applied sociology, economics; philosophy of needs; welfare

Architecture, urban and regional planning

Technology of the urban community

Cognitive technologies

Information systems: processing and communication

Information and communication theories

Artificial intelligence [AI]: perceptual [task specific - this rough identification ignores perceptual-conceptual interaction] and conceptual [generic] systems

[The cognitive technologies could be placed in electrical engineering or, for robotics and control applications, in mechanical or industrial engineering. Thee placements are based on the nature of the hardware or on the field of application. Based on the theoretical-conceptual background, a separate placement in “cognitive technologies” is appropriate. From the conceptual standpoint, cognition may be considered to be a part of iconic and symbolic information systems/theory, and is thus classed with language, logic and mathematics. It is important to note that both the formal and the heuristic dimensions of these disciplines are important

[Additionally, for certain applications the specifics of human cognition and/or of the other dimensions of human psychology may be important. Hence, I have placed robotics and control in the next category of “human technologies”. This does not imply that the specifically human aspects are essential in all applications, but that they are important in some applications and they may be significant even in applications where their relevance has not yet been recognized.]

Human sciences, psychology and related technologies


Human-machine integration and interface

Physical and motor systems

Cognitive-human systems

[4] Elements and Systems of Technology

In the previous three items the concept of technology has not been restricted to specific techniques, but has included systems of technology, development and the interface with science. Here, I list the elements of technology - out of which actual technological systems may be constituted. This permits a modular approach to the development and design of technological systems. The process of reduction to the elements of technology involves retaining the essentials as derived from experience; this is an evolutionary process

A catalog of the major systems of technology follows the list of the elements

Elements of productivity

Organization of work

Human-machine systems: machines as elements of production systems; human-machine integration and interface

Mass production systems

Scientific management: industrial/labor psychology and sociology “the emerging concepts of employee ownership and participation in management and profit as productivity tools”, operations research and systems engineering

Process design

[Scientific management - continued]

Systems-design: techniques, tools and procedures

Techniques: problem definition/precise formulation of objectives [and review of objectives], flow charts and other symbolic models

Tools: theories of: optimization/optimal controls, communication, queues, games

Procedures: exploratory planning, development planning

Elements of technology

Technology of energy conversion and utilization

Technology of tools and machines

Technology of measurement, observation and control

Extraction and conversion of industrial raw materials

Technology of industrial production processes

[Details for this and the next item “systems/major fields of technology” are in the reference cited above

[It will be of interest to review the whole field of technology and to introduce a conceptual system which will be reasonably complete and which will permit derivation of a system of elements

[The details of the elements provide a catalog for the development and design of technological systems.]

Systems/major fields of technology

Agriculture and food production

Technology of the major industries

Construction technology

Transportation technology

Technology of information processing and of communications systems

Military technology

Technology of the urban community

Technology of earth and space exploration

Except the technology of the major industries the other major fields have found a place in the foregoing conceptual system of technology. For this reason, and also to provide a complement to the “elements of productivity”, it will be useful to provide some details:

Technology of the major industries

Manufacturing industries [see also “Machines and mechanical systems” above]

Fabrication industries

Process industries

Construction industries

Utilities industries

Related activities:

Principles of organization of work and production

Merchandising and marketing of consumer goods

Industrial research and development

Technology of industrial safety

4.6.5        Bibliographic and Information Systems for the Curriculum

Item E of Section 5.3.1 discusses “A Systematic bibliography for the Humanities”. A similar bibliography is possible for the remaining portion of the engineering curriculum. The need is less, since standard bibliographic and reference systems meet the specific needs reasonably well and since a larger proportion of reference in science and engineering is to the current literature. Further, information systems specifically oriented towards the needs of research and development in technology and engineering exist. [See item D, references, Appendix.]

It may be useful to define a core within mathematics, science, engineering and technology and to provide a bibliographic introduction to this core. The core would include [1] Material that changes slowly, [2] Items that indicate essences - from various points of view, [3] Classics, [4] Historical material to provide an appreciative/imaginative/critical background for modern activity, [5] Understanding of trends and sources of change in the fields, [6] Sources of up-to-date and updated information

4.7         An Example: Curriculum in Mechanical Engineering

[1] Humanities/General Education: see Sections 5.1 and 5.3.1

[2] Engineering: the Core and Foundations: see Sections 5.1 and 5.3.2

[3] Engineering Sciences: see Section 5.3.3

Mechanical and Thermal Sciences

Requirements: mechanics through mechanics of solids and vibrations and thermal studies through two semesters of thermodynamics and heat transfer

Optional: advanced work in mechanical or thermal-fluid systems [see Section 5.3.3]

Areas related to the mechanical and thermal sciences:




Electro-mechanics and electrical power and transmission

Management sciences

Robotics and control

[From these topics some shall be required. Examples are materials and electronic instrumentation. The remaining may contribute as major and minor electives.]

[4] Design, Research, Policy, Technology [See Section 5.3.4]

Elements of advanced design, research, and technology policy

Design elements and design/research project

Electives in design, policy

Research electives

Emphasis in: mechanical systems, or thermal-fluids systems, or in industrial engineering

[5] B.S., M.S., and Ph. D. Programs

B.S. programs: a typical bachelor’s program will contain items 1 through 3 above and the first two parts of item 4 combined with an emphasis in one of the mechanical/thermal-fluids/industrial systems

The objective of the B.S. program is to provide a foundation in the field and entry at the professional level

M.S. programs: provide greater breadth and depth in the foundations, the engineering sciences, advanced knowledge of professional work - in design/policy/technology, and an opportunity for independent study requiring a minimum level of performance compatible with the successful management or introduction of technical systems in work situations

Although the bachelor’s degree is generally regarded as the minimum for entry-level professional work, there are some areas in which a master’s degree is the minimum

Ph. D. programs: comprehensive and rigorous work in the foundations and in the engineering sciences. Many institutions have a common set of courses for the master’s and doctoral programs, while others which emphasize excellence in their research programs may have separate courses for master’s and doctoral students [with different levels of treatment]

Also essential to completion of doctoral programs is an independent contribution to the field in the areas of design, or research or policy analysis. It is common for programs focusing on research to be designated as Ph. D. programs; some institutions reserve the label D. Sc. for programs focusing on design. However, usage is not uniform

The objectives of the course of studies and of the independent work are for the student to acquire and demonstrate background and capabilities for ongoing contributions towards furthering knowledge or the state-of-the-art in some specific field, and to demonstrate ability to independently acquire general background and the specific capabilities

Examples of the Modular Approach Used in the Mechanical-Thermal Sciences and Engineering Curriculum

The following outline provides an illustrative example of the modular approach [see section 5.2] in curriculum and [integrated] text system materials - for the field of mechanical engineering

For completeness, I will include considerations on the four parts of the curriculum: humanities/general education; core/foundations of engineering; the engineering sciences; the advanced/professional/research functions of engineering. It may be noted that the structure of the curriculum is appropriate for other disciplines

The Humanities

General philosophy; philosophy of humanities and learning

Approaches to awareness

The structure [including an outline of knowledge [as known and as evolving] of existence-as-known [and as evolving]; natural, social, psychological and universal realms - and the dimensions of process

Integration of social action with human nature

Appreciation [as defined in Section 5.1] and experience in art; integration with research/design

The Core/Foundations of Engineering

I will consider the examples of mathematics and of design


Foundations: Geometry [and, as appropriate, elements of advanced geometry and topology], arithmetic, algebra and analysis; and their syntheses: analytic geometry, vector/tensor analysis, etc. Algebraic systems for physical and engineering sciences. Probability theory and statistics

Population and material systems: description: discrete and continuous systems; continuous and discrete time evolution; ambiguity and uncertainty. Expressions of the fundamental laws [mass, momentum, energy...], and of various classes of constitution. [Synthesis of space-time-matter.] Difference and differential equations as expressions of the structure and evolution of systems [automata and continuous evolution]. Problems: the standard classes of problems and solutions; classification of behavior

Complex systems and complex behavior [of complex or of simple systems]: linear systems with complex domains, coefficients, etc.: special and approximate methods [examples: slowly varying coefficients, periodic coefficients, radial and other special geometries - series, perturbation and other recursive methods; complex domains by transformation of the problem and domain by complex variables methods and other, more general, transformation methods]. Nonlinearity in population and material systems and behaviors [e.g., distributed population dynamics, elasticity, diffusion, wave propagation and instability]. Approximate [series, regular and singular perturbation, other recursive] and transformation methods. Singularity theory; chaos and attractor theory - and significance for modeling. Systems with large numbers of degrees of freedom; statistics

Systems with Choice: foundations in mathematics of uncertainty [non-deterministic evolution of system-description] and, perhaps, of ambiguity’ and in models of psychology [philosophical psychology: cognition [percept " concept], affect, drive and choice]. Applications: the language, logic and mathematics of design; optimization and control; knowledge, information; intelligence and AI; systems engineering. [Note: applications may be formal/heuristic; “language” may be generalized to symbolic and iconic “imaging”.]

Computation: finite [and therefore discrete] representation of symbolic/iconic modes of expression and imaging, of linguistic/logical/mathematical models and problems; effective algorithms [stable, faithful, and efficient] for solution; computer implementation and methods of computer implementation

Design: the Example of Mechanical Systems

The process: ideal; actual: small- and large-design teams

Elements of design: an example - machines: a standard system of design elements or machine components is: connectors -screws, rivets, welds; gears, belt and chain drives; linkages and other mechanisms such as screw drives, couplings; cams; flywheels, clutches, brakes; bearings, shafts and shaft accessories - flanges, key, spline and shrink fits, and screws

Material selection: classes of material; property-structure-treatment relations and selection of processing [for both pre-fabricated and in-house processing]; sources of information: journals, standards, and catalogs - and materials selection for applications

Systems elements: structural, dynamic, vibration, control elements. Standard structural elements, instrumentation, hydraulic, pneumatic and electro-magneto-mechanical devices… analysis, synthesis/design, selection

Methods of synthesis: modifications of successful designs; conceptual design; analysis and optimization; testing and evaluation. Quality of complex systems: principles of modularity/interchangeability and quality control - and relations to product and process design

Mechanical Sciences

Unit 1a: Statics-Mechanics of Solids-Materials

Unit 1b: Dynamics -Vibrations-Controls/systems


Unit 1a: Dynamics-Statics

Unit 1b: Materials-Mechanics of Solids

Unit 1c: Vibrations-Controls/systems


Unit 2: Mechanical system design practice/experience

Thermal-Fluid Sciences [or Thermo-Mechanical Sciences]

Unit 1a: Thermodynamics of finite macroscopic state systems [reversible, irreversible, statistical/kinetic.]

Unit 1b: Energy - fossil fuel, nuclear fission and fusion, renewable

Unit 1c: Thermo-continuum mechanics - fluids, solids, mixtures, [for possible treatment: statistical theory, electromagnetism in continuous media]. [Heat transfer as an important special case.]


Unit 1a: Thermomechanics [Items 1a and 1c, above.]

Unit 1b: Energy [Item 1b, above.]


Unit 2: Thermal and thermomechanical design - fuel/source to mechanical or electrical and other conversions including direct conversion; energy storage, conversion and transmission; heat transfer systems; and propulsions systems and design proposed in the curriculum of this essay go towards resolution of the problem

Document Status Tuesday, August 10, 2004


May update and rewrite if I return to engineering education

No current action for Journey in Being


ANIL MITRA PHD, COPYRIGHT © Tuesday, August 10, 2004