EppsNet Archive: Engineering

When is Diversity Not a Dilemma?

26 Feb 2015 /

I just read yet another brief — Solving the Diversity Dilemma — regarding lack of diversity in the STEM workforce.

If members of Group X are underrepresented in some professions, they must be overrepresented in others. For example, I used to work with a nursing organization . . . women far outnumber men in nursing but for the five years I worked there I never heard anyone talk about the shortage of men in nursing being a dilemma, crisis, etc., or suggesting that anything be done to change it.

I work in a STEM field. It’s a good job for me but not for everyone. My son (age 21) for example, never showed any interest in it and I don’t think he’ll be any less happy in life because he’s not working in STEM. There are pluses and minuses like any other profession.

Simple but possibly valid explanation for STEM demographics: Not everyone wants to work in STEM.

Engineering Humor

9 Mar 2013 /
Root beer

An engineer walks into a bar and orders 1.0E20 root beers.

Bartender: “That’s a root beer float.”

Engineer: “Make it a double.”

[HT: Scott Hanselman]

High Dropout Rates for STEM Majors is NOT a Problem

6 Mar 2013 /

The University of Colorado has a $4.3 million grant to research the “problem” of 40 to 60 percent attrition rate among STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) majors.

Someone is missing an obvious point here, which is that there should be a large dropout rate for STEM majors. Incompetent technologists and engineers create disasters.

The music department, the English department, the philosophy department, etc., etc., can graduate their incompetent students without worrying that they’re going to build a collapsing bridge, blow up a space shuttle, disintegrate a Mars orbiter — you get the idea . . .

Granville Bridge

Dilbert: Ignorance is Underrated

4 Feb 2012 /


Engineering is Serious Business, Says Engineering Major

6 Dec 2011 /
English: Campus of the UC Berkeley in Berkeley...

Image via Wikipedia

The dean of UC Berkeley’s College of Engineering expressed support today for a recommendation from a student group that the college create a recruitment and retention plan for women and underrepresented minority students.

It sounds like the dean might be up for lowering the engineering standards to meet diversity metrics. Bad idea. Engineering is serious business.

Also: Preferential treatment by a public institution based on race, sex or ethnicity is prohibited by California law.

I’ve got a better and more legal idea: How about if the women and “underrepresented” minority students suck it up and meet the same academic standards as everyone else?

Or apply to a different school? If they can’t meet the standards at Berkeley, they might do fine at a less demanding institution like Stanford or UCLA.

I’ve attended engineering school myself. We had diversity admits. After one semester, maybe two, they weren’t there anymore. Who was helped?

The Illusion of Control

11 Jun 2010 /

More paperwork does not ensure greater information reliability or accuracy — it only adds to the non-value-added cost. It only seems that adding more measurement and reporting means better control. The illusion of control may partially explain an obsession with control.