Bruce Wollenberg shares his views on the power engineering, which is gradually disappearing from many college curriculums in the US. He reveals that University of Minnesota and many other US universities does not have a basic power engineering course. The universities are funding students for research work and engineering fields such as power engineering without sufficient outside funding have disappeared from the graduate curriculum. Bruce shares that power engineering program in Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) has also been affected. Industry input and support is required for a viable electric power education system in US universities. Bruce reveals that electrical utilities, manufacturers, and consulting companies must advertise and implement effective program to maintain ideal ration of Ph.D to M.S. graduates.
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mathematical background to design advanced controls needed for mili tary systems. As a result, courses in electrical engineering were rapidly infused with advanced mathemat ics to meet this need. In addition, the government, through agencies like the National Science Foundation (NSF), began to offer research grants to top EE students to conduct research and receive Ph.D. degrees. The idea of out side research monies driving universi ties toward more and more research and Ph.D. degrees has been one of the major factors in Ameri- can engineering educa- tion ever since. Today we constantly hear university deans talk of becoming a “top 25” (or top something) school as listed in a ranking of engineering schools. This drive to- ward a research orienta- tion is both good and bad. It is good in that students are taught by professors who are themselves doing research and therefore can bring new concepts into their classes everyday. Yet, the downside is that engineering fields without sufficient outside funding will disappear not only from the graduate curriculum but from the undergraduate curriculum as well. Are we really ready to concede that undergraduate engineering should be mainly a presentation of engineering topics of current research interest, for which there is money available for professors? Or
At the University of Minnesota we have a Center for Electric Energy ( UMCEE). This center was founded in the early 1980s and is supported by seven electric utility companies in the area: Great River Energy, Dairyland Power Cooperative, Otter Tail Power Company, Minnesota Power, Xcel Energy, Alliant Energy, and Southern Minnesota Municipal Power District. We meet with a board of directors with representatives from each company twice a year and plan a set of activities that include student research projects and a summer lecture given in the sponsors’ offices. Having these sponsors has allowed us to give assistantships to both master’s and Ph.D. students, and it has the flexibility to allow us to use some of the support funds as matching monies to gain larger research grants. Most importantly, it has given us a group of interested engineers to advise us in our curriculum and research projects.
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