U of Maine prof to speak on ‘Rethinking Engineering’

Abbie Moeller

The second lecture in a four-part series celebrating the 20th anniversary of Iowa State’s History of Technology and Science Doctoral Program will be held tonight at 8 in the Sun Room of the Memorial Union.

“Since the Ph.D. program is an intellectual enterprise, we thought we would celebrate with an intellectual event,” said Alan Marcus, professor of history.

The lecture “Rethinking Engineering and Higher Education: The Kellogg Commission in Historical Context,” will feature a speech by Howard Segal, professor of history at the University of Maine.

Segal will focus on the role of engineering education in the modern land-grant university.

Segal said issues such as research, teaching, technology and the roots of land-grant universities need to be addressed by the Kellogg Commission, a group of university presidents and other professionals who deal with how higher education changes.

“Their sense of change is technology-driven,” Segal said.

Segal said he disagreed with that philosophy because culture is as important as technology in the development of education.

“Culture shapes technology as much as technology shapes culture,” he said.

With technology came Internet classes and their undefined role in education, Segal said.

If all classes and degrees can be obtained on the Internet, the benefits of campus-based education need to be re-evaluated, Segal said. Looking at the past to see what methods have worked in developing education would be helpful for the future, he said.

“[The commission] should think about the way land-grant universities have evolved,” Segal said.

Marcus said history is important in looking at education, and this lecture will discuss the history of where ISU and other land-grant universities came from as well as where they are going.

He also said the commission has affected many universities in the past because of the power it gains from its members, who have a great interest in the welfare of their universities.

“That is why so many institutions seem to be doing the same things at the same time,” Marcus said.