Engineering Education: Social Engineering Rather than Actual Engineering 

We engineers like to solve technical problems. That’s the way we think, that’s why we chose our major, that’s why we got into and stayed in engineering.

There are several other reasons why we got into engineering. One of them was the absence of what I describe here as “social engineering,” where the professor/instructor is interested not so much in solving technical problems as in setting the world right—in his or her opinion.

A second and related reason is that engineering (and the sciences generally) should be, like the scales of justice, blind. Engineering does not care about your color, sexual orientation, or your other personal and private attributes. All it takes to succeed is to do the work well.

Even as an undergraduate many years ago, my engineering classmates and I noticed that fact, and we were proud to have a major that valued only the quality of one’s work. In that sense, engineering was like athletics, or music, or the military: there were strict and impersonal standards.

Alas, the world we engineers envisioned as young students is not quite as simple and straightforward as we had wished because a phalanx of social justice warriors, ideologues, egalitarians, and opportunistic careerists has ensconced itself in America’s college and universities. The destruction they have caused in the humanities and social sciences has now reached to engineering.

One of the features of their growing power is the phenomenon of “engineering education” programs and schools. They have sought out the soft underbelly of engineering, where phrases such as “diversity” and “different perspectives” and “racial gaps” and “unfairness” and “unequal outcomes” make up the daily vocabulary. Instead of calculating engine horsepower or microchip power/size ratios or aerodynamic lift and drag, the engineering educationists focus on group representation, hurt feelings, and “microaggressions” in the profession.

An excellent example is the establishment at Purdue University (once informally called the “MIT of the Midwest”) of a whole School of Engineering Education. What is this school’s purpose? Its website tells us that it “envisions a more socially connected and scholarly engineering education. This implies that we radically rethink the boundaries of engineering and the purpose of engineering education.”

I have always thought my own education in engineering was as scholarly as possible. Once I became a professor, I never worried about how “socially connected” the education we provided at Michigan State for engineering students was. With trepidation, I read on to see if I was missing something important. I learned to my dismay that Purdue’s engineering education school rests on three bizarre pillars: “reimagining engineering and engineering education, creating field-shaping knowledge, and empowering agents of change.”

All academic fields shape knowledge and bring about change, but they don’t do that by “empowering” the agents of change. And what does “reimagining engineering” mean? The great aerodynamicist Theodore von Kármán said that “a scientist studies what is, while an engineer creates what never was.” In engineering, we apply scientific principles in the design and creation of new technologies for mankind’s use. It’s a creative process. Since engineering is basically creativity, how are we supposed to “reimagine creativity”? That makes no sense.

And, just for the record, engineers “empower” themselves and, most important, other people, by inventing things. Those things are our agents of change.

The recently appointed dean of Purdue’s school, Dr. Donna Riley, has an ambitious agenda.

In her words (italics mine): “I seek to revise engineering curricula to be relevant to a fuller range of student experiences and career destinations, integrating concerns related to public policy, professional ethics, and social responsibility; de-centering Western civilization; and uncovering contributions of women and other underrepresented groups…. We examine how technology influences and is influenced by globalization, capitalism, and colonialism…. Gender is a key…[theme]…[throughout] the course…. We…[examine]… racist and colonialist projects in science….”

That starts off innocently enough, discussing the intersection of engineering with public policy and ethics, but then veers off the rails once Riley begins disparaging the free movement of capital, the role of Western civilization, and the nature of men, specifically “colonialist” white men. How can it improve the practice of engineering to bring in such diversions and distractions?

Riley’s purpose seems not to be how best to train new engineers but to let everyone know how bad engineers have been, how they continue to “oppress” women and persons of color, how much we need “diverse perspectives,” and how the “struggle” continues to level all distinctions and differences in society.

Lest the reader believe I exaggerate, let him peruse a periodical called the Journal of Engineering Education, the Society for Engineering Education’s flagship journal. In each number, readers find at least one article with a title such as “Diversifying the Engineering Workforce” or “Understanding Student Difference” (January, 2005, Vol. 94, No. 1).

I chose this volume at random, but they are all like that. The first section of the latter article is “Three Facets of Student Diversity” in which the authors explain how to “motivate” and “retain” students in engineering, the emphasis being on minorities and women. We’re told that “diversity in education refers to the effects of gender and ethnicity on student performance.” Issues like “validation” and “learning styles” are discussed, and of course the instructor must teach “to address all three forms of diversity.”

The central philosophical premise of the article is leveling. It absolves students of responsibility and provides the non-learner with a ready excuse (“my teacher is a bigot!”). And there is no way to quantify its assertions. The “data” are little more than questionnaires or anecdotes. If only we were more fair and just, women and “minorities” (whatever that word means any more) would flock to engineering.

Engineering education’s basic assumption is that engineering will be improved if the profession is crafted to be more diverse, but that is completely untested. In the universe I live in, engineering is for those who want to and can be engineers. It’s not for everybody and there is no reason to believe that aptitude for engineering is evenly distributed.

It is one of life’s accidents that we are as we are. Perhaps it’s in our DNA. Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle (three long-dead white males) seemed to understand the role of “accidents” in human life better than we do. One thing is certain—we are not infinitely moldable clay. Contra Rousseau, the notorious “blank slate” theorist, we have proclivities and talents and gifts.

Thus, it does not seem to be a valuable use of our finite resources to try to “push” people into areas in which they show limited interest or ability. That, however, seems to be precisely the mission of “engineering education” schools and programs.

Nobody wants to see an uncoordinated doofus on the NBA basketball court simply to add “diversity.” We pay to see top-notch talent compete for victory. We should apply the same standards to engineering and stop pretending that we can “game” our wonderful profession so that anyone can succeed.

Nor should we attack engineering’s foundations, its dominantly Western character, so that non-Westerners might suffer fewer “microaggressions” and somehow feel better about studying it.

What is won without effort is surely without merit, and what is torn down and trampled will not easily be raised up again. We had better tread carefully.

  • Glen_S_McGhee_FHEAP

    So, who appointed Riley?

    As an engineer, your analysis should focus on the organizational process the resulted in Riley’s appointment, where the cultural pressures are coming from and how they are being expressed. You could probably come up with a set of sophisticated differential equations describing this momentum, and even predict where it is headed. I would be very interested in seeing that, once completed.

    • Matt_SE

      Engineers don’t complain that something failed, they find a way to fix the problem. Yours is the proper approach to this dilemma.

      • Glen_S_McGhee_FHEAP

        Exactly right — FIX the problem.
        Everything else is just whining and complaining.

      • jbwilson24

        That’s odd, because there are engineers whose entire job is failure analysis.

        Is Nancy Leveson not a real engineer because she did a lot of work on Theriac 25?

        Good lord, I’m a computer scientist (not an engineer), and I know more about your own damned field. You should be embarrassed.

        • Matt_SE

          Is their job to analyze failure (presumably for the purpose of fixing it), or to complain about it?
          You must be one of those computer scientists who scored high on math and very low on language. You should be embarrassed.

    • jbwilson24

      “As an engineer, your analysis should focus on the organizational process”

      Good lord, what a pompous statement. Not everyone has the time at their disposal to conduct that sort of analysis.

      As for differential equations, that’s complete and utter idiocy. I assume you are being sarcastic. Why would differential equations be a proper formalism to model decision making processes? Are you truly unaware of the existing models of institutional decision making, such as that of Herbert Simon?

      You sound like a 1st year student who doesn’t know much about science or organizational behaviour.

  • OldJarhead03

    When a bridge collapses or an airplane crashes, I suppose “validation” and “learning styles” will be an acceptable excuse.
    God save us from the stupidity of wishful thinking.

  • Oak Rapp

    I retired from industry after 40+ years as an engineer and manager of engineers. I contend that engineering isn’t just about formulas and bright design ideas as this article implies. There is room for improvement in the education of engineers to work in groups and better cooperate with people different from themselves. Few engineering schools turn out new engineers with the interpersonal skills needed to work in projects where the success of everyone depends on the success of (practically) everyone on the team. This, however, is the norm for industry. A large percentage of my headaches as an engineering manager could have been ameliorated by engineering schools putting a bit more emphasis on how to achieve team success, especially in environments where you don’t work the same way as or even like every one of your coworkers. Today a rather frightening amount of the time of team leads, project managers, line managers, etc. is spent on keeping teams from failing due to interpersonal issues, differences in negotiating styles, differences in work/life attitudes, unrecognized personal prejudices, etc.

    • Alfred Ellis

      Maybe you missed the central theme of the author’s post.
      Read his statement and think about what he is saying here:

      “All academic fields shape knowledge and bring about change, but they don’t do that by “empowering” the agents of change. ”

      Sent from my iPhon

    • 48574

      And so you think teaching engineers about the evils of Capitalism is going to make them better workers at these for profit companies? Learning about how to have less colonialism in engineering is going to make them better group workers?

      If not, then what in the world does your comment have to do with the thrust of this article?

      If so, I would love to hear why you think so.

      • jbwilson24

        Yes, it seemed non sequitur.

    • Industrialist Machinist

      Spoken like true Boomer. Stays in his position that exta 15 years, doesn’t manage like today’s managers – but will tell them how they’re doing it wrong.

      The reason there are interpersonal problems is because you import subpar Bindi “engineers” to perform “work” for half the salary so you can have that 4th marriage, RV and Harley while ignoring your own children.

      Of course there are problems. “Unrecognized prejudices” Spoken like a holier than thou boomer who worked came up in a white American and ruined it with diversity and nonsense. I bet you have a fat pension, a reverse mortgage and social security too, right vampire?

      Your generation can’t die soon enough.

      • Klypherd

        Well said sir! And I am a boomer too.

    • gtwreck

      Your basis for the last statement please. I have functioned as a design engineer, team lead, engineering manager and project manager on projects that required team work between people of difference colors, genders (yes we had LGBT personnel on the team – assignment was based strictly on merit – “close enough” is not good enough offshore) with the project personnel scattered around the world encompassing different countries, peoples, cultures, social mores etc. and I don’t recall spending “FRIGHTENING” amounts of time to keep teams from failing. What I see is the SJW MO that hypes an assumed problem with verbiage and the SJW as the Knight on the white (racism) charger who is going to put every thing right. FWIW I am brown so this post satisfies SJW diversity needs.

      • 48574

        What I see is the SJW MO that hypes an assumed problem with verbiage
        and the SJW as the Knight on the white (racism) charger who is going to
        put every thing right.

        I am only guessing but Oak Rapp’s comment could be something I have seen many SJW do over the years. Someone exposes their radicalism and their reply is to try to frame it as reasonable. Who after all isn’t in favor of good teamwork?

        It is like when Feminists ask you, “aren’t you for treating women equally?”. Nice framing and no one is really against that but then again it is clear that isn’t 100% of what they believe. Or maybe more accurately what they think it takes to make women equal is the sticking point.

    • jbwilson24

      There is a place for SOME training of this sort, I agree. Why should it dominate, and why should it be from a left-wing cultural marxist perspective?

      Cultural marxists and economic marxists are incompetent at managing systems of any complexity, including unions, corporations or governments. They have little to teach us about organizational behaviour, for instance.

  • 48574

    Oddly with the exception of gender engineering has been rather diverse for a long time.

    My father got his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from U of MI in the early ’70s. I remember asking him if the transition to so many engineers being from the sub-Continent, Turkey and so forth had already started when he was a student.

    He said it had started. In the early 2000’s we went to a home game and visited his old stomping grounds as a student. The walls of the engineering school was covered with pictures of all the current professors and leaders of the department. I don’t think there was hardly a white guy on the wall.

    Of course it has been known for a while that diversity has never been actually about bodies but ideology. My guess this lady would be want to change things if the department was full of gay, black engineers that voted for Trump.

    • jbwilson24

      I was the only white male in my CS PhD, top ten program. (I suppose if you count Persians as whites, there were two of us. I don’t). The rest? Chinese men, Chinese women, middle eastern women, a couple of white women. No blacks, hispanics, native americans. Some diversity.

  • Hans Schantz

    When I described an attempt by social justice warriors or “SJWs” to take over the School of Engineering at Georgia Tech in my alternate history science fiction thriller, A Rambling Wreck, a reader accused me of parodying SJW views. I only had to refer them to the real-world “scholarship” of Purdue’s new head of Engineering Education to demonstrate that what i wrote was no exaggeration. Thanks for defending the integrity of engineering and engineering education.

  • Unmutual One

    Real disciplines need to be taught outside the university system. These people need to be far away from any influence on engineering, medicine, etc.

  • Industrialist Machinist

    My Posting Career sent me here. Great stuff, they really just want to displace white men.

  • Lee Cockrell

    Riley’s background is thin for an engineering professor, much less an engineering dean. Her doctorate is in Engineering and Public Policy:

    Her doctoral thesis was on chemical warning labels. Not the chemicals. The labels.

    google “Human Factors in Exposure Analysis for Consumer Paint Stripper Use”

    Her “selected publications” all have a social justice bent. “Feminisms in Engineering Education”, “Engineering and social justice”, “Using Foucault to understand thermodynamics” (I am not making that up),.

    She says exactly what she plans in the first sentence: “My scholarship currently focuses on applying liberative pedagogies in engineering education, leveraging best practices from women’s studies and ethnic studies to engage students in creating a democratic classroom that encourages all voices.”

    She used a study on archaeology field work as evidence of “gender-based violence in STEM fields”.

    Her “engineering” is weak, obviously the emphasis is on the social justice side of her academic career.

    It’s disconcerting that someone with that background is now the *dean of engineering* at a respected engineering school.

    So how do we stop the social justice wave as it eats away even at the foundations of our hard sciences and engineering?

    The only way I know how is to hit them where it hurts: in the pocketbook. Refuse to donate to social justice infected schools, refuse to send your kids there, let them know why.

    • John Beier – 2PSEN

      “It’s disconcerting that someone with that background is now the *dean of engineering* at a respected engineering school.”

      I won’t be respected for long.

    • jbwilson24

      That’s staggering. Reminds me of that idiot Kagan who became a supreme court justice. Terrible track record of publication, yet managed to land herself as Dean of Harvard Law through the ethnic gravy train. Then a Supreme Court job when she hadn’t even served ONE day as a judge in any court.

      Labels. Sad, sad sad stuff.

  • chizwoz

    You need to get this info spread as widey as possible. Once these people get a foothold, they spread like cancer.

    • jbwilson24

      actually that is an explicit goal. two feminists profs even wrote an essay to the effect that they should infiltrate other disciplines like a virus.

      • chizwoz

        They’ve been saying things like that for decades. I assumed STEM departments were smart enough to detect it until now.

  • Boston_Patriot

    This is repulsive. The universities must go down. End all funding, all legislative/tax favors, both direct and indirect, and all grants. Now.

    • Jason Powers

      Need to defund Gender Studies & related education/humanities that support Feminists.

      I want to believe some part of higher education is salvageable. But I agree the money is where the control is.

  • John Beier – 2PSEN

    When I went to engineering school, a while back, the school openly bragged that they flunked out a quarter of the class, every year. This was their measure of success. If you got through the program, you were capable.

    Last year, touring engineering schools for my offspring, the schools bragged about their high retention rates, and the fact that they graduate 90% of the engineering students who enroll in the program. I realized, at that point, that everything had changed.

    • Jason Powers

      I snuck through in the 1990s. I failed classes, and got Ds. No shit. Passed the EIT/FE though with an 80.

      I wonder if SJWs know about this 8 hour test to show you understand thermo, statics, dynamics, Mohr’s circle, physics, EE, or all that calculus, that I forgot too.

      The circuit doesn’t care about your feelings. Electricity isn’t racist.
      Building a bridge aint about consensus and diversity. It’s about stress loads and material strength and distributive forces. (Not an CE here…)

      I went into the most touchy-feely engineering – industrial engineering. That said, I can’t stand whiners. Which is what these programs that incorporate this crap will turn out. Sad.

  • An argument could be made that, since Perdue engineering grads will enter the workforce and could invent something for public use, any dilution of their education would place the public at an increased risk of failure. Given the limited amount of classroom time, any course that doesn’t directly contribute to a greater knowledge of engineering is superfluous and a waste of student’s time and money. Altering the current curriculum to include unnecessary humanities courses is a disservice to the student as well as the public.
    So we’re presented with two problems: Dr. Riley is clearly the wrong person for that position and her goals are irrelevant to the subject.
    The solution is clear. She needs to be replaced with someone whose goal is to produce excellent engineers.

  • KenES

    The roots of Purdue’s cancer are much deeper than this clown Dean. Think: search committee.

    • FlushRyan

      Remember, a “conservative” republican is the President of Purdue. Purdue is a public school paid for by the citizens of Indiana.

      Speak up, taxpayers!

  • hoosier1234

    Riley: ““I seek to revise engineering curricula to be relevant to a fuller range of student experiences and career destinations . . .

    — Career destinations? What career destinations? Don’t think there are any, except perhaps in teaching this clap-trap to other misguided students.

  • DudeAbiding

    I weep for my children and grandchildren.
    They are destined to live in a world populated by indoctrinated fools incapable of actually performing useful work.

  • Fed Up

    Glad I’m old.

  • I’m reminded of something I ran across many years ago:

    “My best friend is a lawyer, bright, gifted, … PhD in law; bored with his job, he decided to study engineering. After his first quarter, he came to me and said that the two ‘C’s he’d achieved in Engineering Calculus 101 and Engineering Physics 101 were the first two non-A grades he’d ever gotten in college, and that he had had to study harder for them than for any other dozen classes he’d had. ‘I now understand’, he said, ‘why engineers and their like are so hard to examine, whether on the stand or in a deposition. When they say a thing is possible, they KNOW
    it is possible, and when they say a thing is not possible, they KNOW it is not. Most people don’t understand ‘know’ in that way; what they ‘know’ is what we can persuade them to believe. You engineers live in the same world as the rest of us, but you understand that world in a way we never will.’

    “I don’t think that you have to love math to be an engineer, but you are going to have to learn it. That means that you’re going to have to do the homework, correctly. Mistakes and “close enough” are the ways to build bridges that fail.”

    Obviously for the Social Justice Warriors THIS CANNOT STAND!! And, eventually, neither will buildings and bridges.

    • gtwreck

      “close enough” really does not work in engineering. Engineering by politically correct engineers with the requisite courses in gender or similar studies might give us our own “leaning statue of liberty” to counter the “Leaning tower of pisa”.

    • jbwilson24

      having said that, I have taught former engineers and engineering students in law school. We are talking about 13 or so, not a huge number. I saw no evidence of better critical thinking abilities, and markedly deficient writing abilities. They were, however, less worried about the cost of law school tuition, and they seemed to have less stress. (The best writers were from good philosophy and history programs, albeit my two best students were a graphic designer and a jazz guitarist).

  • Cromulent

    It’s just a wee bit rich for a grad of Couch Burning U to complain.

  • bobro

    In the past, I have avoided affirmative action lawyers and doctors. Now I will have to add engineers. Although, how I can avoid bridges, airplanes and skyscrapers designed by them is a puzzle but their safety or lack thereof is quite suspect. I can say, as a graduate engineer, introduction of social standards inevitably will lower the competence level of the graduates. It is distressing to see a great engineering school being reduced to incompetency.

    • Matt_SE

      Don’t complain about it, DO something. The SJWs aren’t interested in your opinion; they only thing they understand is power. This program needs to be terminated immediately and the people responsible for it fired.

  • John1838

    Like it or not, math, physics and chemistry pay no respect to political correctness. Either the engineering is correct or the structure fails.

    • Matt_SE

      This is all true, and it won’t make a bit of difference to the activists. They don’t care about the truth.

    • 48574

      Don’t tell them that. I was once told I had my biology and she (a feminist) had her biology. I am assuming that logic means she can have her own physics/math. And she wasn’t talking about my body. She seemed to think there is such a thing as patriarchal biology and feminist biology.

      Of course I doubt that lady ever flew in a plane built by people that used their own physics/math……

    • GFTW

      Donna Riley will likely see to it that even if a bridge fails, it can still self-identify as a bridge. And regardless if it did “fail” much more important to Riley would be that the bridge was designed by a non-white non-Western non-heteronomative male. Any criticism of such failing bridge would be racist, sexist, nationalist, and homophobic.

  • Chamakuzhi Subramanian

    Engineering is not only application of scientific findings and formulae. Of course management subjects designed and taught in many institutions covers topics of social engineering. A branch of engineering has 250 to 300 subjects to be taught, out of which a max. of 50 subjects only could be offered at UG level of 4 years. So any additional subject to be part of finishing school curriculum. Of course professional course of engineering is independent of Caste, creed and see.

  • Matt_SE

    “An excellent example is the establishment at Purdue University (once informally called the “MIT of the Midwest”) of a whole School of Engineering Education.”

    WHO established this school? Who thought this sounded like a good idea?
    THOSE are the people we need to attack. This will ruin Purdue’s STEM education in just a few years unless it is killed right now.

  • gtwreck

    The rot started when we put the words “social” and “science” together. “SOCIAL SCIENCE” is an oxymoron. Social studies is the correct term. The results of any Study of social mores changes with the times. Yesterday’s “Queer” is today’s “alternate life style”. What was unacceptable Yesterday is celebrated today. Engineering does not work that way. 2+2=4 was true yesterday, is true today and will be true tomorrow. The SJWs need to crawl back into the woodwork.

    • wtd

      Same with ‘social studies’ and it’s mind numbing effect on lessons regarding history and geography.

    • jbwilson24

      There are social sciences, but these people wouldn’t be able to participate. You can view the development of early urban geography, regional science and regional economics as a social science. There are quantitative approaches to social network analysis that use the same techniques as some parts of computer science.

      Regretfully, the bulk of ‘social science’ programs are really grievance mongering on the basis of ‘lived experience’ methodology.

  • FlushRyan

    It is in the best interest of my children that Purdue becomes a second rate engineering school and it appears well on its way. Seriously, has anyone bragged about the great engineers who graduated from Harvard lately? No – they went SJW

    • Jason Powers

      BSIE 96. I live very close to the campus. The SJW are coming for engineers! “Safe spaces” under compression force members in the Civil Engr building.

  • Michiel Helvensteijn

    The second half of that quote was lifted out of context. That’s about two specific courses she is/was teaching; not the whole curriculum. And it all came from her university webpage, from before she was appointed dean.

    Has she even made a public statement about her intentions for her new role? Maybe she has, and if the fears and speculations presented in the article and in the comments below turn out to be justified, I’ll be worried right alongside you. But no such statement was cited in this article.

    For now, the evidence is being presented in a rather unprincipled and misleading way, to make it sound worse than is justified from the original source.

    • Robert M. Snyder

      He belief in “gender-based violence in STEM fields” does not exactly give me confidence that she is in touch with objective reality.

      • Michiel Helvensteijn

        Granted. Hell, the only study that’s cited in that article is about academic fieldwork (as in archaeology, geology, etc. at best tangential to STEM). So yeah, that’s greatly misleading.

        Which leads neatly to my main point, which is misquoting sources. Mr. Wichman could have been more forthright about his quote, and it wouldn’t have detracted from his point one bit. (And he could’ve used your Cavalier Daily link to strengthen it.)

        It’s good that he did in fact provided a link to the source of the quote, but I don’t think that’s good enough. Too many people don’t click through and rely purely on the way the quote appears in the article.

        • jbwilson24

          This is like witnessing a beating and remarking that the victim was not wearing shoes of a sufficiently reputable brand. It is incidental to the point being made, which can be established quite easily from the evidence presented. The Dean is a left wing lunatic who wouldn’t survive a day as a real engineer in the field.

          • Michiel Helvensteijn

            That’s a bullshit metaphor, but you’re right. My comment was not about the main point of the article (with which I probably agree, all things considered).

            I’m here to criticize dishonest quotation used to hype up a story. Good people should be scrupulously honest about sources, especially in the era or ‘alternative facts’. And readers should learn to click through and call authors out on this sort of thing.

    • Jason Powers

      Her CV tells you plenty. Postmodernists are Marxists. And have no good intent.

      • Michiel Helvensteijn

        See, now you’ve gone too far. How do you know she’s not just well intentioned and wrong?

        • Jason Powers

          How many Marxists were well-intentioned? Oh…and then, well, wrong for many millions – the starving in Ukraine 1920s, 1930s, or China in the 1950s. Or Venezuela: today!

          I can’t plausibly draw any conclusions on the papers or statements included in the articles. Yes, it is a bit of inference. There is no mathematical equation to solve on her. I can’t be 100% conclusive.

          But correlation? I find some there. And the repeated abuses in academia in the humanities, in particular, to the point where 1,100 professors are concern about the drift to the left in university discussions, means at least 1,100 PhDs feel something is amiss:

          Infusing postmodernism (Foucault, Derrida) in engineering —just…plain…wrong. They were known Marxists. Get the idea?

          Those that propagate such dogmas, guising them as enlightening to impressionable young adults, and should very well know that Marxist ideology caused suffering and death, still poisons our society.

          And her titles are rife with Feminist crap to push an agenda.

          Engineering has but one agenda: solve a problem with inspiration/motivation, scientific knowledge, and often, originality of method from using in the laws and theories of physical sciences.

          Defend her as you will. You are white knighting for what end? You’ve been quite open about that too.


          • jbwilson24

            Derrida, Foucault, Gramsci, Adorno, Reich, Marcuse and all the rest are worse than classical economic marxists. Their aim is to undermine western society from within by corrupting its culture. You can add Freud, the Da-Da movement in art (etc) to that tally. It is worthwhile to read their works. Derrida in particular is the most underwhelming ‘philosopher’ I have encountered, and I have an honours degree in the subject (among other degrees).

        • We have enough track record when it comes to post-modernism to declare that anyone mired in that radical philosophy must, by default, be considered actively destructive.

    • jbwilson24

      Give me a break. Do you really think she is going to jettison years of ‘work’ (e.g., the postmodernist claptrap that forms the basis of her ‘scholarship’) as she steps into her new role?

      Do you really think that her background in cultural marxist ‘thought’ will not influence her in her role as Dean?

  • GFTW

    Good article. Donna Riley’s specialty appears to be Radical Libtardism. In the future, engineering failures will be a-okay, because hurt feelings.

  • Jason Powers

    Postmodernism is rife in her CV. I would find a way to replace her Feminist agenda. This is a path to destruction of a great university, that was going south as is.

    • Jason Powers
      • GFTW

        Radical Liberalism seems to be a good example of entropy!

      • jbwilson24

        That’s what we need, to ground our understanding in our experiences. Good luck studying algebraic topology or computabliity theory on that basis.

      • Tony Lowe

        Actually Neuroscience tells us all learning is grounded in our experiences.. why do you thing engineering and science classes hold labs? It binds together theoretical and mathematical representations with what we see when we conduct a lab. Post modernism couches a fundamental truth, we believe what we see, into some fancy lingo, but what it comes down to is the mind creates its own reality and looks for evidence to support it. Experience matters in labs as much as it does in politics.

  • An_A_C

    “Engineering does not care about your color, sexual orientation, or your
    other personal and private attributes. All it takes to succeed is to do
    the work well.”

    “Do the work well” is a highly deceptive simplification of engineering. But it is working with things, and with physical laws that are independent of, and indifferent to, human legislation. And most of the time it involves finding the right solution among many to best meet conflicting requirements. This is where it runs afoul of human politics.

    • DaninMichigan

      Put even more simply, “Gravity doesn’t do feelz.”

  • Tony Lowe

    I read this piece earlier in the day but it stuck with me. I think it a reflection of our times, but am sad to think it a characteristic of a research professor to have a publication with some basic factual flaws, and lack of exposure to literature without providing feedback. The main detail that really must be corrected first and foremost is that Dr. Riley is not the Dean, but the Head of the School of Engineering Education within the College of Engineering. The entire argument shifts a bit when you consider that a department head’s influence is much less than a Dean, as most department heads are basically peers with an extra workload much more so than policy makers.
    Also to be fair I want to qualify my personal bias. I am a 40something white cis male from Indiana (away for 20 years) recently returned to work on my PhD at Purdue in Engineering Education. I am sure my last 2 years there have exposed me to literature not typical of engineering students, so my goal is to perhaps share some of my perspectives and the associated literature. I have worked my entire career in industry, and have taught as an adjunct, so I feel I have some perspective on both roles. My goal is not to “argue it out” but to address a few statements I feel are either unsupported or even in conflict with data or studies.
    Mostly I think it fair to have someone who is a peer to Dr. Wichman in many socio-economic ways provide an alternative perspective and not leave it to the groups he is perhaps singling out in this opinion piece to be the only voices in disagreement with some of the points.

    “solving technical problems as in setting the world right”
    This presumes that technical problems have no bend to society. The simple choice of whether to use a gas or electric motor has societal issues. The choice of materials can benefit one part of the globe that produces raw materials or has established manufacturing skills over another. Any experienced industry engineer knows that the “best” technical solutions are socially acceptable ones as well. Engineering is not science, and thus not deterministic to optimal solutions. We are the master of tradeoffs, and how do you make choices without considering society, economics, technology and when it comes down to it preference?
    “Engineering does not care about your color, sexual orientation, or your other personal and private attributes.”
    Does the choice to engineer vehicles to the ‘average person’ not have in impact on what gender may be more comfortable in driving? Again, there is a presumption that engineering solutions are devoid of people and their needs it seems, but merely byproducts of technical needs. This is at best a low level engineer, and not one who understand the marketplace at a level of savvy demanded by entrepreneurs.
    “that valued only the quality of one’s work” . It is interesting as for 100 years+ industry has lamented the quality of graduating engineers work saying they cannot work with people, and are not ready for the job. Sure they can crank formulas, but even most working engineers will say they learned 90% of what they needed to know on the job. You are possibly romanticizing the past and discounting the critics of engineering education over many studies.
    “growing power is the phenomenon of “engineering education” programs and schools”. I am excited to know you think our departments have such influence! Considering there are still less than 10 in the country, and I think 20 in the world, I would love to think of how much pull we have! Sadly, I have yet to see this, but it would seem you are still thinking the Head of the Department is equivalent to a Dean (
    “how are we supposed to “reimagine creativity””
    For a start, we can stop demeaning ideas we do not understand and have not researched. I would ask who you talked to about our mission statement (I did not write, but have bought into). The country seems to believe we need more engineers, yet are not producing them fast enough. We know the interest level is low and retention is less than ideal, particularly moving away from top tier schools and students. One way to expand is to have participation rates which are equal across gender and socio-economic backgrounds. If you believe as you do (despite a lot of research) that engineering is just technical knowledge, then I will ask, do you a.) teach the same way you were taught as a student and b.) pass every single student using this technique or c.) simply think all failing students do so because they suck? Again, not all employers are satisfied with graduates. This is what we do, constantly use empirical research to see what is working and what may not be. You see, as educators and particularly ones who conduct research, I would think more of us would want to follow the evidence or at least seek it in our teaching as well as our field of study. This has not been the case in Engineering for a long time, but not without many folks who have worked for decades to attempt to learn how we learn.
    “Riley’s purpose seems “
    This is why you are not publishing this in a peer reviewed journal? From a single source you are taking context and establishing your own bias? Do you have any peers who also have this conclusion? What coding scheme did you establish this from? What other sources can you corroborate this single point of evidence with to back up the point? It may entirely be true, but even if so, this is one academic’s opinion (hers) in a department which does not have any individual that can personally change the entire organization (again she is not the Dean). I presume Michigan State is much the same way? My main concern here is making a point cherry picking a data point, rather than seeking information through data.
    “ let him peruse a periodical called the Journal of Engineering Education”
    First let me point out you said “let HIM” (emphasis mine). That is all I think I need say on that. But please do read the journal. This I the best advice I have heard. Please read all the back issues. There is some good stuff there, particularly the last decade. Sure some of it is “fluffy diversity” but much is hard hitting. And it is high quality review and demands proper sourcing and methods and theoretical frameworks and all the stuff that we want in our research, most of all letting us determine if we believe it ourselves.
    “there is no way to quantify its assertion”
    The purpose is not to validate if this is true (even if it were in one school, it does not say it is in all). The purpose is to understand what the perception of the student is. If you want to know why folks are dropping out, one way to do so is to ask them, and perhaps believe in their reasoning. As an institute you can choose if that is a student you wish to retain (if they said “I hate Math” perhaps they have chosen the wrong field), but the point of this research is to gain perspectives on our customers as engineers who are seeking out the product we are creating (if one feels they can translate their professional training as an engineer to their vocation as a teacher).
    “engineering will be improved if the profession is crafted to be more diverse, but that is completely untested”
    “A diverse mix of voices leads to better discussions, decisions, and outcomes for everyone.”
    “Our culture embraces people’s diverse perspectives and creates a positive environment where everyone belongs.”
    “Diversity and inclusion are part of Boeing’s values at the highest level.”
    That was all I could come up with in 90 seconds..
    “use of our finite resources to try to “push” people into areas in which they show limited interest or ability.”
    Two problems here… you have most of the government and industry desperately pulling to get people to want to participate in STEM. It is this fixed mental ability viewpoint that is keeping individuals from considering if they can or cannot participate or continue. To top it off, Neuroscience clearly shows that the brain is not fixed from birth, but can certainly grow given the proper circumstances. I would agree that the COST of getting some people to the place they would need to be to be an engineer may be extreme compared to others, but it is different than to say if we give the proper foundation to all students they cannot make an informed choice.

  • Sandra

    I thought John Locke was the notorious “blank slate ” theorist, not Rousseau.

  • John in Brisbane

    I understand the thrust of this article but it’s ultimately misguided. Engineering is only one of the STEM areas of study that are facing an historic drop in students from school into higher education. The author doesnt like it but change is essential. Something pure may be diluted, but he’s beating that possibility right up. He obviously found his niche in life and that’s great. He probably learned everything the hard way. But the good old days weren’t always good and tomorrow ain’t as bad as it seems. Billy Joel, 1983, the same year this guy got his PhD. We all need to change mate. That doesn’t mean giving up quality, just adapting things to for a changing world in which women are actually free to do anything and the economic and cultural dominance of the West is now fading.

    • Martin Knight

      Ridiculous argument – if what you just spewed can be termed an argument.

      Engineering is engineering. A well designed bridge is a well designed bridge. The race, ethnicity, gender, political philosophy, etc. of the engineer is irrelevant. The fact that this woman wants to introduce her issues with race, gender, capitalism, etc. is a direct attack on quality.

      PS: I’m Black, so if you’re thinking of accusing me of racism, or lecturing me about how this deleterious change in curriculum is necessary for non-whites and women to learn engineering, save it.

      • John in Brisbane

        Your ancestry is immaterial, Captain Social Skills. Your inability to consider a differing opinion is however.

        • Martin Knight

          My failure to agree with your opinion – or even respect it – does not mean I lack the ability to “consider” it.

          So I actually did consider your opinion; it is ridiculous.

          • John in Brisbane

            Right. Disappointing stuff. Rude, dismissive. You’re clearly polarised to a significant degree and I’m sorry to hear that. Polarization is the intellectual disability you give yourself. The certainty you experience must be comforting but it reflects mental deficits and personality traits that mean you’re going to find a lot of future events quite distressing. I don’t want that for you or anyone else but the world is heading in a direction you clearly won’t like. It would be easy to write you off as one of many hopelessly polarised, prototypical American right wingers but I am sure there is more to you than that. That post of mine was not ridiculous. For you to think that and then speak to me as you did suggests you’re a long way down a path from which it will get harder as harder to return. Good luck either way. I mean it.

          • Martin Knight

            Again, your post was ridiculous. Everything else is just fluff.

          • BigJimSlade

            “For you to think that and then speak to me as you did suggests you’re a
            long way down a path from which it will get harder as harder to return.”

            This has to be the most adorably pathetic thing I’ve ever read on the internet. Kiddo, Johnny Boy – don’t take everything to heart. Keep acting like a sensitive child, people are going to keep treating you like one.

            Grow a backbone.

    • ronchris

      “STEM areas of study that are facing an historic drop in students from school into higher education”
      That wouldn’t have anything to do with the catastrophic decline in the quality of secondary education as precious time is wasted on ‘diversity’ garbage, would it?

    • dginga

      I have four female cousins who are successful engineers from top schools, having graduated in the past 40 years. They only needed to have the brains and the desire to pursue their chosen field of study in order to succeed. They all said that engineering education was a meritocracy of the first order. You could either do the work or you couldn’t. And nobody wants the engineers of tomorrow to be people who can’t really do the work, but they feel really good about themselves.

      • John in Brisbane

        That’s great, but why even mention that? The facts and rules of the sciences are essentially set, as are many of the pathways required to understand and then apply them. Obviously. Those four cousins faced many issues related to attaining their qualifications that were not reasonable however. Perhaps they didn’t notice, but they’d be in a tiny minority if so. In the last 40 years, we’ve been trying to deal with those issues. This sounds like a continuation of that. So what is the issue? Doing nothing different is not an option. Do you not understand that?

        • Anmol Biswas

          Why do you assume “Those four cousins faced many issues related to attaining their qualifications that were not reasonable however” ? Why do you think everyone is a victim ?

    • jbwilson24

      “I understand the thrust of this article but it’s ultimately misguided”

      You failed to establish this.

      ” The author doesnt like it but change is essential. ”

      Change is essential, so we shouldn’t criticize anything, ever. If a man comes to your house and demands that you let him live there, just let him.

      “But the good old days weren’t always good and tomorrow ain’t as bad as it seems.”

      What does that have to do with the arguments he is making? Platitudes are not arguments.

      “just adapting things to for a changing world in which women are actually free to do anything”

      Women are free to enter traditional engineering programs that don’t spend half their time discussing ‘interesctionality’, ‘racial gaps’, etc.

      ” the economic and cultural dominance of the West is now fading”

      Thanks largely to cultural marxist nitwits like the ones in charge of Purdue.

      • John in Brisbane

        Ah, someone who disagrees, civilly. You’ve used the straw man right off the bat though. Who is saying we shouldn’t criticize anything, ever? Not I. Who is saying all change is good? Not I.

        WRT Billy Joel, it precisely relates to the author who is making arguments about essential aspects of engineering training and how the apprehended changes will have deleterious effects. I was implying that his recollections and attitudes about that education are unreasonably positive, given the state of the field now, and his concerns about the future are unreasonably negative, given what I believe are his unrealistic predictions about the effects of a change in leadership.

        I believe that within the confines of a quick comment I actually made a fair stab at establishing my point. There are clear issues that must be addressed. Doing the same thing as previously won’t address those issues. I made the observation that the author was being unreasonably negative, but that can only ever be established via the passage of time. Engineering has a problem with levels of enrollments and completions. Presuming they’re not maniacs, that’s probably why university management went with someone with a different approach. Women are not entering those courses in anything like a sustainable rate and perhaps never will. There are well understood differences in preferences based on gender after all. It is clear that engineering must adapt but I was clear that this did not mean a loss of quality.

        I responded to the author by disagreeing in a polite, somewhat playful manner. You response contained illogical argument and suggested a lack of understanding of quite obvious short-hand in aid of brevity. This is an important issue that can not be solved in short comments on a web page. On reflection I believe my comments remain valid and pertinent.

        • Anmol Biswas

          You have said nothing. A whole lot of words that contain no meaning whatsoever

        • DookerT

          I don’t think you’ve really been paying attention friend, as to what the current perverted state of social justice has done. It is actively pushing it’s way and more importantly it’s rigid and orthodox ideology, into every facet of the University. There is change for necessities sake, a la bringing in more Indian and east Asian immigrants who have shown to perform excellently in engineering and letting them become US citizens, but that’s not what social justice ideology is pushing for. It’s pushing to dilute the field to the point where it’s meaningless and math has been stripped from it because it is a “white, Western, patriarchal, capitalist, and colonialist” discipline. This isn’t hyperbole from me, these zealots truly believe that. They truly believe that all of the sciences need to be torn down and remade in the image of social justice. A degree is worthless if anyone can get it without any effort because we don’t want to “exclude” anyone.

  • I Love Libertarians

    “We examine how technology influences and is influenced by globalization, capitalism, and colonialism…”

    Engineers DO need data on not only how these 3 liberated humanity, but how opposites as provincialism, coerced communism, and religious tribalism made engineering advances impossible by killing the bright engineering minds and imposing a non-objective philosophy where -A=A.

    Have no doubt: that’s what this anti-libertarian administrator intends.

    • jbwilson24

      Religious tribalism of what kind? The most openly tribal religion in the west (Judaism) has made significant contributions to humanity in the last 100 years. Islam, on the other hand….

  • Macrodex

    When deciding how to design a bridge, it is MOST IMPORTANT to consider the gender of the bridge.

  • “Sorry Ma’am your husband is dead, but rest assured that the people who designed the building that collapsed upon him are the wokest structural engineers I’ve ever met.”

  • Kristopher Fisk

    Great article-it was well thought out and well written, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

    Now, I’ve got share my favorite engineering joke: What do engineers use as birth control? Their personalities!

  • “Feelz” provide good mortar in laying bricks…
    “Feelz” also ensure structural integrity in high-rise buildings and suspension bridges…

    “Feelz” is also a useful compound use in many industrial operation, and even used for military purposes as well.

    It was “Feelz” that melted those steel beams in the World Trade Center. Top engineers and scientists tasked in the 9/11 investigation found trace amounts of “Feelz” in the jet fuel which acted as a catalyst in changing the molecular property of the steel beam, making it easier to melt.

  • Joseph P. Martino

    I got my MSEE from Purdue in 1955. I respected the school, since I got a good education there. I have donated to the school ever since. If this is the kind of politically correct nonsense that is now being promulgated, they can do without my donations.

    • dginga

      Be sure to let them know why you won’t be contributing when they call. I made it very clear when my alma mater sent a letter to contributing alumni letting us know that the new “revised” admission requirements (meaning lower grades and SAT scores) were implemented in an effort to “increase diversity” and be “more inclusive,” and to raise their ranking with the US News college report. Apparently my school, which always had very high admission standards and was very focused on math and science – great pre-med program, was considered “too white” by US News. I sent a letter to the Director of Alumni Giving and the President of the college that dumbing down the curriculum and the student body was unacceptable.

    • Oak66

      Huh? Why would anybody ever …ever contribute to modern govt, leftist indoctrination factories? You should have stopped 40 yrs. ago . Anti-white racism is systemic in our ‘educational’ system…and everything must bow to it.

    • Tony Lowe

      The representation in this article is full of inaccuracies to tell the story. If you like the story, then it is yours to do with what you want. If you want the facts then you will have to reach out elsewhere as they are deleting posts that point out the wrong statements rather than making corrections. The most glaring is the target, Dr. Riley is a department head, the new dean is from Princeton and a man, so hard to mix those up.

      • DookerT

        Who cares? The ideology has clearly pushed it’s way into an engineering department at a prestigious school. That’s all the evidence he needs to make his points. The mission statement or whatever you want to call it smells of social justice orthodoxy and thinking, absolutely stinks of the faith of social justice. That was his point, if he got names wrong, well then shame on him for being lazy, the point has been made and that mission statement is damning no matter who authored it, man or woman.

      • StanUlam

        You are wrong, the author was correct. At Purdue, Riley is a woman, abd the Dean of the School of Engineering Education. Kung Chiang is Dean of the School of Engineering.

        They are discrete departments st Purdue.

        • Tony Lowe

          “The recently appointed dean of Purdue’s school, Dr. Donna Riley, has an ambitious agenda”.. directly from above. I did not make it up.

          • StanUlam

            Yes, it is a reference to the first mention of the School of Engineering Education a few paragraphs above that quote.

          • Tony Lowe

            Yes and Department heads are called department heads and they work to (and are hired by) the Dean. I am not sure where calling her “the recently appointed dean” is any where appropriate or accurate. I know this is not a scholarly paper, but even op-ed pieces need to be factually correct and this is not. I pointed out at least 10 different issues of debatable facts including pointing to alternate sources and my post was removed. This means this source and perhaps author seems to care more about feelings than facts, which is exactly counter to the point being made against post-modernism and the issues of diversity and inclusion?

  • GradHack

    Worth noting, the ACTUAL dean of engineering at Purdue got their PhD from Princeton…the same place as the author. Still an idiot.

  • Bora Bosna

    This is why the US will collapse and be surpassed by China. Because they can’t say no to women and their insanity.

  • Oak66

    The new leftist Nazis again…..pushing their new society of anti white racism…black racism…and to a lesser degree other minority racism.. They wish to build a whole society on racist hierarchy…All the terms this wacked, evil , woman pushes are code words…meaning destroy and demote the evil white ..especially , white , Christian , straight men…Whites are the new Jews to these new ‘re-engineered’ Nazis.

    • Smoky Dogbert

      These new neo-fascists don’t really promote or stand for anything or anyone other than themselves. Their movement is deconstruction, the eroding of western culture. If one watches carefully, it it not difficult to see that minorities and women are easily thrown under the bus the moment they are not considered useful to the cause.

  • StukaPilot

    lezzie bulldyke campus network now spreading to hard sciences. I’m only surprised this one’s not Jewish. Anyway, when the debt blows up…there’s going to be a purge to end all purges. Who-whom remains to be seen.

    • DookerT

      Surprised she’s not Jewish? Most of the ideological zealots that push this crap are BDSM. They hate Jews, they just won’t come out and say it. What are you alt-right?

  • So, pleading with the people doing this to stop a path they’ve been on for decades, and to forfeit the salaries and power involved, is going to get you… where, exactly?

    • DookerT

      It’s better than saying nothing. People notice when someone speaks up. One thing is for sure though, the witch Hunt is now on for this guy. Its always amazing that when someone parrots the opposite of this essay, they are bold and brave, but this guy will be hunted, shamed, and ostracized. And social justice doesn’t think it’s the establishment!

      • If someone is trying to hurt you, speaking up is better than not speaking up, but the goal is to force them to quit. The item you engineer may be beautiful, and you can talk about what it means all day. Does it work?

        The signal must be connected to a successful response, which means it must either have an impact on your opponent, or get the attention and response from someone who will. This essay will have no impact on the author’s opponents, and lacking concrete suggestions it must also fail the signal test.

      • Re: your confusion, it’s quite common and I may be able to help some. What if you thought of it instead as social signaling language, in which the informational content of the specific words chosen is nonexistent?

        That would seem crazy in a policy discussion, but in status/outgrouping fights it makes perfect sense. The behavior is information about what kind of fight you’re in. It also changes the response.

        You can write statistical policy papers re: media bias and “speak up” about a problem (policy fight, dialectic, no remedy). Or you can destroy an opponent’s legitimacy with the widely distributed words “Fake News” (status/outgrouping fight, rhetoric, taking away media’s ability to influence is the goal and means are connected to ends). Both approaches have been tried re: the media. Regardless of what you think of the issue, which approach had more observed impact?

        I suspect that many more things will begin to make sense once you apply this filter. Aristotle wrote about dialectic vs. rhetoric a long time ago, and his book Rhetoric would save endless amounts of pain if it was mandatory reading within engineering degrees.

        • Bill Ross

          “which approach had more observed impact?”

          Don’t engage ’em (legitimizes them), shun ’em. See my link above.

    • Bill Ross

      I have a “Plan B”:

      nothing is free. Pay the price

      • “Note that should the prey go on strike and refuse to produce more than they consume ( P = 1 ), no matter how greedy the rulers get, there is nothing left over for them, meaning that zero percent of rulers can exist, no matter how greedy they may wish to be.”

        History disagrees, strongly. The rulers simply reduce their stock of prey humans until some new equilibrium is found. Venezuela says hi. Also North Korea, North Vietnam, Ethiopia, the Ukraine, etc….

        • Bill Ross

          Rulers cannot reduce their prey (food source) without a balancing reduction in rulers. Check the math.

          As to “history” disagreeing: History is bunk, written / approved by rulers to rationalize their past predations on civilization.

          You should read the founding documents of the US, where past knowledge regarding civilization (social / economic organization) was analyzed, failure causes identified and a system with the sole purpose of “predator control” against government and other powerful / coercive interests was devised and encoded into law (if YOU can keep it). This is where American “distrust of government” historically came from.

  • StanUlam

    I hope you’re hunkered in your bunker, Dr. Wichman. And also looking for a new job.

    The academy is no place for patriarchal concepts like truth and logic.

    • Tony Lowe

      Keep checking.. they will probably delete your comment. I simply pointed out the facts, such as the fact that the Dean is not the same as a department head, but seemingly accuracy is not important in this forum, even over small things that are easily corrected

      • StanUlam

        The department head hires and fires. Dean removes department head if she feels he has not managed dept goals/ budget effectively.

        • Tony Lowe

          No.. a committee hires and fires. The department head does not do this alone in most Universities, and I can state this unequivocally for Purdue. The head site in the P&T committee, but all decisions go through the committee.

  • D Ramon

    Take a look at the USNWR Engineering rankings. All of the top 20 are very actively engaged in what you call ‘social engineering.’ Purdue is there. And climbing. You know what’s not: Michigan State. Michigan is, but they do that annoying social engineering thing. Hmm. Maybe, perhaps, they know something you don’t. It doesn’t take a ‘beautiful mind’ to be an engineer. It requires training, hard work and exposure to the field. If your parent is an engineer, you are more likely to have the latter. If your parents never went to college, it’s not likely you know much about engineering. That doesn’t mean you can’t do it, though. You are not elite because you completed an engineering degree. Open your mind, and open the doors to engineering. The more people who are trained to solve problems and willing to do hard work, the better. Why would anyone not want there to be more engineers?

    • DookerT

      Wow. Talk about straw manning. Where did he once say he’s doesn’t want more engineers. And do you understand that pointing to schools that have ALWAYS been in the top 20/ upper echelons in engineering and stating that they are there because of diversity programs in no way follows? They could just be there in spite of it. Your mere assertion almost certainly commits 3 or more logical fallacies. His point is that merit should be the determinant, are you competent and can you be, and that you do not completely subvert a scientific discipline to social justice zealotry. Did you read that Purdue mission statement? It drips with the ideological orthodoxy of the humanities and social sciences, except they are being forced into places where they have no place.

    • 48574

      So you think by talking about colonialism in engineering is going to improve their ability reach out to high schoolers whose parents didn’t go to college? Do you really believe talking about the evils of capitalism is going to allow them to reach previously unreached populations of students?

      If so, exactly how do you theorize that works?

      If not, what exactly is your point in relationship to this article?

      By the way how do we know all of the top 20 are engaged in the type of social engineering talked about here?

  • Ann Marie Banfield

    Thank you.

  • Bill Ross

    As an electrical systems design engineer, I take serious offense to the shoddiness, collateral damage and outright fraud of the bogus social “engineering” “profession” who pretend to be “of us” (objective) by misrepresenting engineering and scientific objectivity.

    They demand “control” (of everybody but themselves) and are too dishonest / incompetent to “be the best” and earn “respect”. They consider rejection and refusal to associate by the objective to be abuse, ignorance and stupidly by refusing to consider anything without factual evidence (AKA: their OPINIONS).

    If you are REALLY concerned (enough to do something about it), you need to comprehend that we are in a civilization spanning WAR against intelligence and critical thinking, initiated long ago by subverting education and media.

    The engineering / scientific professions will either be the “last to fall” or form the kernel of “Renaissance II”, depending on what WE do.

    The antidote, of course, is to THINK, then ACT:

    And, of course, the antidote to “political correctness” is “political incorrectness”, hence the pugnacious (but totally accurate) website name.

    Bill Ross
    System Design (and Rube Goldberg sabotage) Engineer

    University of Waterloo

    • Bill, you aren’t in default if this is Fake Engineering producing Fake Engineers.

      These people wish to hollow out your discipline and wear it like a skinsuit, in order to strip-mine its social credibility and influence. They are, in effect, embezzlers on a social scale. Eject and reject them from your discipline, or they will win.

      It starts with “an impostor is not my brother.” Say it proud. And remember the 3 Rules of SJW…

      • Bill Ross

        You’re talking to the guy who was offended by the pretentiousness and assumed superiority of many engineers and, refused to wear his ring for 10 years until my new, improved wife talked me into it.

        • So, seeing this threat to the profession… you now have one more reason to appreciate her.

      • Bill Ross

        You may be able (you hinted at their methodology) to comprehend the true scope of the “problem” (anarchist response to the ascendancy of fact and reason during the Renaissance).

        So, here’s a FACT. It was NOT philosophers such as Nietzsche who “killed God” (disproved mystical “forces” have any force and effect in reality).

        It was scientists and engineers studying physical reality and PROVING that the equations of reality (natural law rules governing relationship between action and consequence under dominant environmental conditions) DO NOT ALLOW MYSTICAL FORCES. (all forces accounted for, process of elimination).

        NOTHING can be proven with words or any language tolerant of misinterpretation and LIES. So, our work in improving the lot of mankind has been stolen and misrepresented by the “chattering classes”. Only the language of mathematics / logic acting on proven FACT can prove ANYTHING.

        Our “work” is cut out for us. Many will be “burned at the stake”.

    • mlmontagne

      OK, I’m interested in what you are saying but this:
      “They consider rejection and refusal to associate by the objective to be abuse, ignorance and stupidly by refusing to consider anything without factual evidence (AKA: their OPINIONS).”
      is not a coherent sentence. Can you please correct the grammar and punctuation or tell me what you are trying to say there?

      • Bill Ross

        “They” consider their “subjective reality” (unsubstantiated OPINION) to trump fact and objective reason and claim the “right” to force their opinions on “heretcs” (unbelievers). The consider the objective to be abuseive, ignorant and stupid (ad-hominem attacks).

        Sorry, my “first language” has become mathematics and logic.

  • Tom Richardson

    Tech bro got tenure but never grew up. Boo hoo.

    • AlecJ

      Ironic considering the whole piece is a warning that cultural Marxists crying about their feelings is weakening the field of engineering….

      But hey what do people like you care if bridges or buildings collapse as long as the quotas for each race, gender, and sexual preference are filled.

      You are a disgrace.

      • Tom Richardson

        Sorry, not a disgrace. The hostility of people in certain technical fields to women and minorities is well documented. It does not make engineering better to exclude large groups of people.

        • groovamos

          I met a very friendly and attractive female of Taiwanese background a couple of years ago, who was working as a civil engineer at the Houston division of the Texas Dept. of Transportation. As I am a long time electrical engineer, I was interested in her opinion of her job as it might relate to my experience with female engineers. Her answer was not vague – she did not like her job and was considering leaving engineering and gave one scenario: It was very wearing on her to be in meetings with engineers who she described as being hyper-aggressive (read: can-do, energetic, dedicated). The personality style of the males in engineering did not suit her and she was not bitter. Deal with it dude. You didn’t invent Nature so being pissed at it is a dead end.

        • 48574

          Did you even bother to read the article you linked to?

          That isn’t a we documented discussion of hostility to women and minorities. It is the same tired assertions. it says the guy from Google is wrong. It gives links to things he used to back his point. It claims there is science behind the other side but one can’t hope but note there are no links to that science.

          The simple fact is Evolutionary Psychology and plain old fashion Psychology what they guy was saying is the conventional thinking. Men and women are different and those differences are one factor (no one including the guy at Google claimed it was the only factor) in why we see the differences.

          But the supporters of Google’s official policy aren’t interested in a science debate as we see in this article becasue if they need to show peer reviewed articles to back their ideology they will come up blank. See they do what you do. Make assertions that facts exist and make insulting remarks like your opining comment.

  • JackBolly1

    The Professor is not seeing the possible ‘hand writing on the wall’ with the issue of ‘Diversity’ as it relates to engineering or IT. Just as colleges have been giving preference in admissions based on sex, race and ethnicity, and just as many public companies have been giving hiring, and promotion preference based on sex, race, and ethnicity all in an attempt to reach the opaque Diversity objective is it possible that colleges will now use sex, race, and ethnicity preference in DEGREE granting as it comes to engineering and IT? Many public companies such as Facebook claim they can’t meet their stated Diversity goals due to the technical pipeline being inadequate, i.e., for years now a maximum of 20% of engineering grads have been women and try as colleges might it hasn’t changed. So how to stuff that pipeline? Ah hah – inflate the degrees granted!!! Laugh you may, but my dept in a Fortune 50 company renamed jobs to include the word ‘engineer’ (akin to calling a garbage man a ‘sanitary engineer’) to meet Diversity goals!!! And it worked!!! I could see Purdue cranking out all sorts of mysterious ‘engineering majors’ to stuff the ‘engineering pipeline’ – And yes, these folks will be hired quickly!!!

  • EMW

    Let the SJW’s build their own bridges and design their own planes. Then we can watch them rust, fall, and crash as we praise diversity while using the creations of real engineers.

  • RalphF

    For a field which is dominantly of Western character, there are certainly a lot of Asian engineers who perform at the highest levels.

    • CharlieSeattle


      …there are certainly a lot of Asian engineers who …are hired at a much lower wage, not because that are better!

  • RalphF

    Sad to see a school with Purdue’s reputation sign onto this “engineering education” nonsense. But here’s the thing: if you can design circuits, bridges, machines, or computer programs that work and can be implemented at reasonable cost, you will succeed as an engineer. If not, you will not succeed as an engineer, despite all of the social justice warriors’ protestations.

    Still, this is dangerous stuff. What will happen is that a whole new class of “engineer” will be produced that cannot do the work, but will still need to be hired. (Rest assured that companies will be forced by government to hire them.) Of course, real engineers will need to be hired to actually do the engineering work, basically costing companies twice as much as it should. It will be a huge overhead lug and consumers will end up paying for it.

    • Arsene Lupin

      …and apparently those real engineers will be hired from India where they probably don’t have any courses about microaggressions.

  • Alec Rawls

    Employers will shun engineers who they suspect may have been indoctrinated with social justice ideas. Such people do not sign on to the goals of their employer but work for morally perverted radical leftist political goals destructive to their employer.

    In short, SJW ideology is a highly destructive virus, and as employers learn to identify the sources of infection they will block them. This will soon be the fate of the Perdue engineering degree: it will soon come to have an extreme negative market value, at which point any student would have to be insane to invest time + money to get one, and Perdue will cease to exist.

    Recognize that you now have a fatal infection. If you don’t manage to get rid of it then it will kill you.

  • john martin

    The outcome as this diversity transformation happens in engineering is that America will be forced to bring in engineers and scientists from other countries to do what our graduates are unable to do. This trend has already started with H1B visas, it will have to be greatly enhanced as our so-called engineers fail to make the grade in real world technical problem solving. Look for orientals from China, Japan, and Korea to fill this void and for their Universities to become dominant in the world of change, instead of minorities and woman moving ahead, oriental men will be the winners in this crazy game of diversity that is now playing out. At least white males will lose, which is the most important thing to the progressive mindset.

  • SpongeboB Sinewave

    I see some of this same kind of thing in K-12 schools