A Road Map to a Rewarding Career
by Raymond B. Landis, Dean Emeritus
College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Technology California State University, Los Angeles
Published by: Discovery Press
Los Angeles, California www.discovery-press.com
Permissions and Copyrights Cover design by Dave McNutt Chapter title illustrations by Brian Jefcoat Graphic illustrations by Kerry Lampkin Case study of University of Maryland Gamera human-powered helicopter project by permission of Inderjit Chopra, Director of the Alfred Gessow Rotorcraft Center Franklin Chang-Diaz photo in Chapter 1 courtesy of National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Studying Engineering: A Road Map to a Rewarding Career, Fourth Edition Discovery Press/2013 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 All rights reserved. Copyright © 2013 by Raymond B. Landis No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means – graphic, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise – without prior permission in writing from the author. ISBN 978-0-9793487-4-7 Inquiries and comments should be addressed to:
Raymond B. Landis, Ph.D. Dean Emeritus of Engineering, Computer Science, and Technology California State University, Los Angeles Los Angeles, California 90032 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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FOREWORD When I was a sophomore in high school, I decided that I wanted to be a chemical engineer when I
grew up. I could invent all sorts of reasons for this decision that would make me sound like an unusually wise and thoughtful 15-year-old, but they would all be lies.
The truth is at the time there was a great job market for engineers, and stories of red carpets and multiple job offers and outlandishly high starting salaries were laid on us regularly by teachers and counselors – and in my case, by my parents. Just about every boy who could get a “B” or better in math and science courses decided that he was born to be an engineer, and I saw no reason to buck the trend. Why chemical engineering? Because – sadly, this is also the truth – I had gotten a chemistry set for my birthday, and I thought pouring one liquid into another and having it turn green was seriously cool.
Like most of my engineering-bound classmates, I knew nothing about what engineers actually did for a living, and when I enrolled in chemical engineering at the City College of New York two years later, I still knew nothing. There was a freshman orientation course, but it was just the old “Sleep 101” parade of unenthusiastic professors delivering dreary 40-minute sermons about civil engineering, mechanical engineering, and so forth. It’s a wonder that this course didn’t drive more students away from engineering than it motivated. Perhaps it did.
My ignorance persisted for pretty much the next three years as I worked through the math and physics and chemistry and thermo and transport and circuits you have to know to graduate in engineering but constitute only a small fraction of what engineers actually do. It wasn’t until I got into the unit operations lab in my fourth year and then spent a summer in industry that I started to get a clue about what engineering is really about – figuring out why things aren’t working the way they’re supposed to and fixing them, and designing and building other things that work better or work just as well but cost less.
And what engineers did for a living was only the tip of the iceberg of what I didn’t know as a freshman. In high school I rarely cracked a textbook and still came out with nearly straight “A’s”, but it only took one college physics exam to let me know that the game had changed. I also left high school thinking I was a great writer, but the “D+” on my first English paper set me straight about that too. Plus, I didn’t know how to take effective notes, summarize long reading assignments, prepare for and take tests, or strike a good balance between school and the rest of my life. I could go on but you get the idea.
I eventually figured it out, of course. If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have graduated and gone on to become an engineering professor and the author of this foreword. Unfortunately, many of my classmates never did get it, and most of them were gone by the end of the second year. And I know they had the ability to succeed.
I don’t think engineering school should be an academic obstacle course designed to weed out students who have the ability to succeed but lack basic study skills. If something is important for students to know, there’s nothing wrong with giving them some guidance in figuring it out. We do that routinely with math and science and control and design. Why not do it with studying and learning?
That’s where Ray Landis and Studying Engineering come in. The book is a compendium of everything I wish someone had told me during my freshman year of college. If I could have read it then, even if I had only absorbed a fraction of the wisdom it contains, I would have been spared the major headache of having to learn it the hard way. And if the book had been used in a first-year engineering course taught by a knowledgeable and supportive instructor, the next four years of my life would have been far less stressful, and many of my talented classmates who dropped out as freshmen and sophomores would instead have graduated with me.
Virtually everything students need to know to succeed in engineering school is detailed in Studying Engineering. Using a conversational tone and numerous real-world examples and anecdotes, Professor Landis paints a vivid picture of the vast range of things engineers do, the world- changing things they have done in the past, and the challenges to problem-solving ability and creativity that engineers routinely face. He also introduces students to the learning process – how it works, when and why it goes wrong, and how to avoid the pitfalls that have ensnared generations of engineering students (including those unfortunate classmates of mine).
Moreover, Studying Engineering introduces its readers to themselves and to one another, providing insights into different ways people approach learning tasks and respond to instruction. Students who take this material to heart will gain a better understanding of their own strengths and weaknesses, learning ways to capitalize on the former while overcoming the latter. Their new knowledge will also improve their ability to communicate with their classmates, teammates, and professors. These insights and skills will serve them well throughout college and their subsequent professional careers, whether or not they remain in engineering.
If you are an engineering educator who teaches first-year students, I invite you to think about the things you wish someone had told you when you were a freshman and then use Studying Engineering to help convey those messages.
If you are a student, I encourage you to pay close attention to the book because it will teach you how to get the most out of your engineering education. If you’re going to succeed and excel in engineering school and down the road as an engineering professional, you’ll need to learn these things sooner or later. My advice is to do it sooner.
Richard M. Felder Hoechst Celanese Professor Emeritus of Chemical Engineering North Carolina State University Raleigh, North Carolina
TABLE OF CONTENTS Copyright
Prologue. What This Book Has to Offer and How to Get It Potential for Making a Difference
How to Realize the Maximum Potential from this Book Additional Ways to Get the Most from this Book Student Testimonial
Chapter 1. Keys to Success in Engineering Study Introduction 1.1 You Can Do It!
Poorly Prepared Students Have Succeeded Highly Qualified Students Have Failed What Makes the Difference?
1.2 What is “Success”? Goal Setting Strengthening Your Commitment
1.3 Keys to Success in Engineering Study Effort – “Work Hard” Approach – “Work Smart” Attitude – “Think Positively” Summary of the Success Process
1.4 Models for Viewing Your Education Attributes Model Employment Model Student Involvement Model
1.5 Structure Your Life Situation Living Arrangements Part-Time Work Influence of Family and Friends
Chapter 2. The Engineering Profession Introduction 2.1 What Is Engineering?
Learning More about Engineering 2.2 The Engineering Design Process
Your Alarm Clock Is an Example The Engineering Design Process How Things Work – Reverse Engineering
2.3 Case Study: Human-Powered Helicopter Step 1 – Customer Need or Business Opportunity Step 2 – Problem Definition/Specifications and Constraints Step 3 – Data and Information Collection Step 4 – Development of Alternative Designs Step 5 – Evaluation of Designs/Selection of Optimal Design Step 6 – Implementation of Optimal Design Step 7 – Test and Evaluation of Gamera I Step 8 – Redesign The Needs for Engineering Design Are Boundless
2.4 Rewards and Opportunities of an Engineering Career Job Satisfaction – An Overarching Issues 1. Varied Opportunities 2. Challenging Work 3. Intellectual Development 4. Social Impact 5. Financial Security 6. Prestige 7. Professional Work Environment 8. Understanding How Things Work 9. Creative Thinking 10. Self-Esteem
2.5 Engineering Past – Greatest Engineering Achievements of the 20th Century 2.6 Engineering Disciplines 2.7 Engineering Job Functions
Test Development Sales Research Management Consulting Teaching Entrepreneur
2.8 Employment Opportunities Organization of Industry in the United States Manufacturing Subsectors Service Sectors
2.9 Important Fields for the Future Future Directions – Grand Challenges for Engineering Sustainability
2.10 Engineering as a Profession Professional Registration Professional Societies
Summary References Problems
Chapter 3. Understanding the Teaching/Learning Process Introduction 3.1 What is Learning?
Cognitive Learning Psychomotor Learning Affective Learning
3.2 How Do We Learn? Receiving New Knowledge Processing New Knowledge Index of Learning Styles Questionnaire
3.3 Metacognition – The Key to Improving Your Learning Process 3.4 Learning is a Reinforcement Process 3.5 Understanding the Teaching Part of the Teaching/Learning Process
Teaching Styles 3.6 Mistakes Students Make 3.7 Don’t Be Hung Up on the Idea of Seeking Help
3.8 Academic Success Skills Survey Summary References Problems Academic Success Skills Survey
Chapter 4. Making the Most of How You Are Taught Introduction 4.1 Early Course Preparation
Acquiring Textbook and Other Materials Using the Course Syllabus
4.2 Preparing for Lectures 4.3 During Your Lectures
Sit Near the Front “Be Here Now“ Listening Skills Note-Taking Asking Questions in Class
4.4 Making Effective Use of Your Professors Important Roles for Your Professors Take Responsibility for Winning Over Your Professors Understanding What Your Professors Do Communicating with Professors by E-Mail and Text Messaging
4.5 Utilizing Tutors and Other Academic Resources Tutoring Recitations/Problem Solving Sessions Other Important Academic Resources
Summary References Problems
Chapter 5. Making the Learning Process Work for You Introduction 5.1 Skills for Learning
Reading for Comprehension Problem Solving
5.2 Organizing Your Learning Process “Take It As It Comes”
Procrastination Mastering the Material Learn to Manage Your Time Priority Management
5.3 Preparing For and Taking Tests Preparing for Tests Test-taking Strategies
5.4 Making Effective Use of Your Peers Overview of Collaborative Learning Benefits of Group Study Frequently Asked Questions About Collaborative Learning New Paradigm
Summary References Problems Weekly Schedule Form
Chapter 6. Personal Growth and Student Development Introduction 6.1 Personal Development Receptiveness to Change
Total Quality Management “Personal” Total Quality Management Student Development Value Judgments Applied to Our Actions, Thoughts, and Feelings Therapy and Counseling as Change Agents Behavior Modification as a Process for Change Student Success Model
6.2 Making Behavior Modification Work for You Step 1. Knowledge “You Know What to Do” Step 2. Commitment “You Want to Do It” Step 3. Implementation “You Do It” Barriers to Implementing Productive Actions
6.3 Understanding Yourself Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Satisfying Your Need for Self-Esteem Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)
6.4 Understanding Others/Respecting Differences Differences in Learning Styles and Personality Types
Ethnic and Gender Differences Stereotyping Is Unnecessary and Unfair Your Effectiveness in Cross-Cultural Communications
6.5 Assessment of Your Strengths and Areas for Improvement Assessment Based on Attributes Model Assessment Based on Employment Model Assessment Based on Student Involvement Model How to Do a Personal Assessment Personal Development Plan
6.6 Developing Your Communication Skills The Importance of Communication Skills in Engineering The Engineering “Discourse” Employers Want More The Engineering Student as Communicator: A Profile Developing a Positive Attitude Planning to Improve Your Communication Skills Conclusion
6.7 Leadership and Teamwork Principles of Teamwork Attributes of an Effective Team Leader Characteristics of an Effective Team Member Stages of Team Development
6.8 Mental and Physical Wellness Tips for Good Health Balancing Work and Play Managing Stress
6.9 Motivating Yourself “No Deposit, No Return” Jesse Jackson “Excel” Message Inspirational and Motivational Quotations Power of Positive Thinking
Summary References Problems
Chapter 7. Broadening Your Education Introduction 7.1 Participation in Student Organizations
Engineering Student Organizations Benefits of Participation in Student Organizations Participation in Other Extracurricular Activities
7.2 Participation in Engineering Projects Student Design Competitions Technical Paper Contests Design Clinics Undergraduate Research
7.3 Pre-Professional Employment Benefits of Pre-Professional Employment Types of Pre-Professional Employment How Do You Measure Up? Preparing Yourself for a Job Search Identifying Employment Opportunities Applying for Positions Following Up on Interviews
7.4 Study Abroad Benefits of Study Abroad Can You Do It? Finding a Study Abroad Program
7.5 Putting Something Back Providing Feedback Serving as an Ambassador Helping Other Students
Summary References Problems
Chapter 8. Orientation to Engineering Education Introduction 8.1 Organization of Engineering Education
Overview of Engineering Education in the U.S. Organization of the Engineering Unit Position of the Engineering Unit in the University
8.2 The Role of Community Colleges in Engineering Education Engineering Technology Articulation and Course Selection Advantages of Starting at a Community College
Applicability of This Book to Community College Students 8.3 The Engineering Education System 8.4 Academic Advising
Quality of Advising Can Be a Problem Take Personal Responsibility for Getting Proper Advising
8.5 Academic Regulations Academic Performance Recognition for Poor Academic Performance Recognition for Good Academic Performance Enrollment Policies Student Rights
8.6 Student Conduct and Ethics Academic Dishonesty
8.7 Graduate Study in Engineering Benefits of Graduate Study in Engineering M.S. Degree in Engineering Ph.D. Degree in Engineering Full-Time or Part-Time? How Will You Support Yourself?
8.8 Engineering Study as Preparation for Other Careers Master of Business Administration (MBA) Law Medicine
Summary References Problems
Appendices Appendix A – Design Project – “Design Your Process for Becoming a World-Class First-Year
Engineering Student” Appendix B – 21 Definitions of Engineering Appendix C – Engineers Among the World’s 200 Wealthiest Individuals Appendix D – Greatest Engineering Achievements of the 20th Century Appendix E – Description of Engineering Disciplines
E.1 Electrical Engineering E.2 Mechanical Engineering E.3 Civil Engineering E.4 Computer Engineering
E.5 Chemical Engineering E.6 Bioengineering/Biomedical Engineering E.7 Industrial Engineering E.8 Aerospace Engineering E.9 Overview of Other Engineering Disciplines
PREFACE Studying Engineering has been updated and expanded. Dated material has been updated and a
wealth of relevant Internet sites has been added. Substantial new graphics have been added as well to improve readability. A new Prologue has been included to give students a clearer perspective on what this book has to offer and – more importantly – what steps they can take to get the most from it. New sections have been added on subjects such as fixed vs. growth mindset, reverse engineering, sustainability, life-long learning, study abroad, entrepreneurship, and teamwork and leadership.
The Prologue, “What This Book Has to Offer and How to Get It,” discusses the potential of this book to make a difference in students’ lives, and provides guidance on how to realize that potential.
Chapter 1 lays the foundation for the book by introducing and overviewing the process of achieving success in engineering study. Key elements of the success process – goal identification, goal clarification, and behavioral and attitudinal change – are presented. Three models that will help students understand what is meant by a quality education and how to go about getting that education are also introduced. The chapter closes with the important topic of “Structuring Your Life Situation.”
Chapter 2 addresses the subject of professional development. A primary purpose of the chapter is to motivate students through an increased understanding of the engineering profession and an awareness of the rewards and opportunities that will come to them if they are successful in their engineering studies. The University of Maryland’s “Gamera” human-powered helicopter project is used to bring the engineering design process to life. The National Academy of Engineering’s Grand Challenges for Engineering is used to show some of the many exciting problems engineers will need to tackle in the future.
Chapter 3 provides an overview of the teaching/learning process. Various types of Learning modes – cognitive, psychomotor, and affective – are described. Preferred learning styles and teaching styles are also discussed. Students are given general guidelines to strengthen their learning process and a summary of the most common mistakes students make is presented, along with ways to avoid these mistakes.
Chapter 4 provides guidance on how to get the most out of the teaching process. The chapter emphasizes the importance of getting off to a good start and discusses strategies for taking full advantage of lectures – including listening skills, note-taking skills, and questioning skills. Approaches for making effective use of professors are described in detail.
Chapter 5 guides students in designing their learning process. Two important skills for learning – reading for comprehension and analytical problem solving – are covered. Approaches for organizing the learning process, such as time management skills, are also discussed. Study skills relevant to math/science/engineering coursework are emphasized. Finally, ways to make effective use of peers through collaborative learning and group study are also described.
Chapter 6 focuses on the important subject of personal growth and development. A Student Success Model is presented to help students understand the process of making behavioral and attitudinal changes essential to success in engineering study. Important personal development topics – understanding self, appreciating differences, personal assessment, communication skills, and health
and wellness – are included as well. Finally, a section has been added on the important topic of leadership and teamwork.
Chapter 7 addresses five extracurricular activities that can greatly enhance the quality of a student’s education: (1) student organizations, (2) engineering projects, (3) pre-professional employment, (4) study abroad, and (5) service to the university.
Chapter 8 provides an orientation to the engineering education system: faculty, curriculum, students, facilities, administration, and institutional commitment. Academic regulations, student ethics, and opportunities for graduate education in engineering are also covered in this chapter. We close with a discussion of engineering as a means of preparation for further education in business, law, and medicine.
Appendices are devoted to five important topics: 1) Design Project; 2) Definitions of Engineering; 3) Greatest Engineering Achievements of the 20th Century; 4) Engineers among the World’s 200 Wealthiest Individuals; and 5) Description of Engineering Disciplines.
The target audience for the book is first-year engineering students; therefore, it is ideally suited for use in an Introduction to Engineering course that has a “student development/student success” objective. Much of what is in the book has direct application to the community college experience, and the topics that are specific to the four-year university experience can provide community college students with a preview of what they will encounter when they transfer to a four-year institution.
High school students considering engineering as their college major will find the book useful as well. Engineering faculty can turn to it as a resource for ideas they can convey to students in formal and informal advising sessions or in the classroom. Deans of engineering have indicated that the book contains material that is helpful in preparing talks they give to high school students and first-year engineering students.
This book was the outgrowth of more than 30 years of teaching Introduction to Engineering courses. Much of the material was developed through brainstorming exercises with students. My greatest thanks go to the many students who contributed to the evolution of the ideas in this book. Thanks also go to the many engineering professors who have used the book since the First Edition was published in 1995. Those who provided valuable feedback used to improve this edition include: Dom Dal Bello, Rich Bankhead, Zahir Khan, David Gray, Jack Hopper, Sami Maalouf, Bill Latto, Nick Arnold, Zanj Avery, Ali Kujoory, Julie Zhao, Artin Davidian, Jawa Mariappan, Jeff Froyd, Anthony Donaldson, Janet Meyer, Dave Kaeli, Thalia Anagnos, Herb Schroeder, Bev Louie, Marty Wood, and Kevin McLaughlin.
Many people contributed directly or indirectly to the creation of the book – both its original and its revised form. Much credit goes to my partner Martin Roden for encouraging me to self-publish the book and for his constant help and support. Great thanks to Dave McNutt for putting his extraordinary artistic talent into creating the cover design. My appreciation also to my graphic artist Kerry Lampkin who did the many line drawings that have been included to improve the visual presentation of the book. I also want to express my appreciation to Linda Dundas, President of Legal Books Distributing, and to her outstanding staff – Ted Rogers and Mike O’Mahony – for handling the distribution of the book so capably and with so much care and concern.
Finally, I would like to particularly acknowledge my wife Kathy Landis, who wrote the excellent
section on Communication Skills in Chapter 6 and who did major editing on this edition of the book. Her gifts as a writer and editor have made the book much easier to read and understand.
Raymond B. Landis February, 2013
PROLOGUE What This Book Has to Offer and How to Get It
It isn’t what the book costs. It’s what it will cost you if you don’t read it. — Jim Rohn
About two years ago, I was speaking to an Introduction to Engineering class at a local university that was using my book. At one point, I asked the students whether they had any questions for me, and one student raised his hand. He asked, “Does the material at the beginning of Chapter 5 on ‘Reading for Comprehension’ apply to the reading of your book?”
“Yes. Of course!” I replied. The student then asked, “So why did I have to wait until I got to Chapter 5 to learn about it?” I thought this was such a well-taken point that I decided to write this “Prologue” to achieve two objectives:
Convince you of the potential of this book (and a course that uses it) to make a difference in your life Give you guidance on how to realize that potential
POTENTIAL FOR MAKING A DIFFERENCE You may be reading this book on your own or as a course requirement. Regardless of the context,
it promises to make a significant difference in your life, as both an engineering student and an engineering professional.
Most likely, you have never read a book like this or taken a course like this, and you probably won’t again. Most of the courses you take will be about content and the application of that content to solving problems. Studying Engineering and a course that uses it are about you.
I contend that the maximum potential of this book and a course that uses it to make a difference in your life is far greater than that of any single content-based course you will take. The graph to the right illustrates this contention.
As the graph shows, in most content-based courses you will realize something close to the maximum available potential. If you get an “A” grade you probably got 90 percent or more of what was there for you. If you get a “B” grade, you probably got 80-90 percent of what was there. And so on.
Unless you are proactive, in spite of the best efforts of your course instructor, you are likely to realize far less than the maximum potential available from this book and much less even than you will get from a single content-based course. Getting that maximum potential is to a great extent up to you. And the payoff will be enormous. Not only will you develop academic skills that will enhance your success in engineering study, those skills will correlate closely with the skills you will need to be a successful engineering professional.
I often compare Studying Engineering to a mirror. When you get up in the morning, you clean, groom, and dress yourself. And perhaps the last thing you do before going out and confronting the world is to glance into a mirror. Why? It’s because you have standards about your appearance, and you are checking to see that these standards are met.
Studying Engineering is like a mirror you look into to access other kinds of personal standards – those beneath your surface appearance. It helps you stand back and reflect and work on characteristics of your deepest self: What kind of person are you? What values do you hold? Do you know what you want out of life, and are you on track to get it? Are you getting the most out of your education? What is your learning process, and how well is it working for you? Based on the insights you derive from the book, you will be prompted to make changes to move closer to the standards you set for yourself.
I hope that you have already committed to a personal goal of receiving your Bachelor of Science degree in engineering. You may not have thought about this explicitly, but achieving a challenging goal like getting your degree in engineering cries out to most students to change.
Change what? The way you think about things (your attitudes, values, mindsets, world views) The way you go about doing things (your actions, behaviors) Indeed, this book and a course that uses it have no value except that they bring about significant
changes in you – changes you are aware of and can articulate. Another way to look at this book is to imagine you are on a merry-go-round and trying to grab a
brass ring as you go around. You reach for it, but you miss it. Since the carousel goes around and around, you have more than one chance to grab that ring. This book (and accompanying course) may only “go around once.” It may be your one chance to grab the brass ring of growth and development. Don’t miss it!
There is some possibility that you are not ready for what this book offers you. How could that be? How could you pass up the opportunity to become a more effective learner and a more successful student? Here’s how. You may not pay attention to much of anything, so why would you pay attention to what this book (or class) teaches you? You may not believe that you can change. Or you may not want to change, assuming the way you approached your studies in high school will work in university-level engineering study. Or you may not know what or how to change.
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