Nebraska Engineering Fall, 2006
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From the Dean
Nebraska Engineering: Rising Above a Gathering Storm

Dean Allen
Dean David Allen

You may have noticed in President Bush’s State of the Union speech that he referred to a report issued by the National Academies, “Rising Above the Gathering Storm.” That report essentially outlined a disturbing trend developing in the world today that comes down to one essential fact: The rest of the world is no longer content with 5 percent of the population holding 25 percent of the wealth on this planet. We hear of our competitors—chiefly China, India, Germany, Japan, Brazil, and yes, even Russia—attacking with increasing zeal the economic engine created by the United States after World War II. It is a fact of life that we Americans are no more intelligent as a society than any other segment of population on the planet. Therefore, if we intend to maintain our preeminent place in the world, our only recourse is to be the best educated.

Classroom education the way my generation experienced is no longer sufficient to maintain our competitive advantage. If we are to continue being the technological engine that produces the majority of the intellectual property in the world, we must refine the U.S.’s institutions of education to a level never seen before.

This brings me to the subject of international studies. Engineering colleges have long abhorred the notion of taking students out of the classroom. Recently, we in academia have begun to recognize that we were shortsighted in this approach to higher education. Recent studies indicate those innovative educational opportunities such as international internships, study abroad and international dual degree programs stretch the minds of America’s youth far beyond the level at which we were challenged 35 years ago.

It is with great excitement and pride that I announce that the College of Engineering at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln has cracked the Top 20 list of U.S. colleges and universities that offer international engineering education. Just four short years ago, we were only starting down this path. This year we will send more than 100 of our students to another country for part of their engineering education. This represents approximately 25 percent of the graduating students in engineering at UNL.

We are certain these new educational opportunities for our students will fuel the minds of the leaders of tomorrow for the state of Nebraska, thus ensuring that we will remain competitive with those who fuel the gathering storm.