Perhaps we do not need to include the exit surveys into the ABET report, just have to mention them… However, the feedback is interesting. It looks like American students want to be taught more by engineers with practical experience at a factory, less by scientists like us, more community college style practical skills, rather than mathematics. This is consistent with what I hear from those students whom I know.
In my opinion, the problem for US scientists is that in the USA there almost are no research institutes like Max Plank in Germany or CNRS in France. Except for a handful of national labs (say, zero in Wisconsin) with a very limited number of non-postdoc vacancies. All science is done in universities, so scientists have to work at universities and teach…
When I am saying “scientist” I mean any person affiliated with the NS division, and when I am saying “American” I mean any US citizen.
The level of experimental science in American universities is very poor (although XXXXXXX does not agree with me on this): all equipment in university labs is old and random, no personnel (lab technicians), no infrastructure, the experiments are conducted by random students or postdocs who are always in the job search mode. Most experimental results are irreproducible. After 5 years nobody remembers or can reproduce anything, nobody even remembers names of students or postdocs. For example, Prof. XXXXXXX keeps saying that best results in his project were obtained by some high school students during a summer practice. He is also saying that labs in India are much stronger than ours (and I think this is true). But this is not a problem of one lab or one university: the same I saw at the OSU, Stevens, Northeastern. American universities lack the culture of experimental research.
Contrary to that, there is excellent experimental research in American national labs (such as the NIST, where I worked as a postdoc)! Newest equipment, facilities, infrastructure, lab technicians, interested scientists, the high culture of experimental research! For myself, I find it much more feasible to collaborate with experimental groups either overseas or at national labs, than trying to be involved into experimental research myself. This is why I am trying to expand my collaboration with several groups in Russia and in Israel. Other countries (like China) understand the importance of scientific research, for example, while the NSF has shut down the tribology and surface engineering program in recent 15 years, in Europe and Asia it is growing.
American universities, however, can do excellent world class theoretical research! In my opinion, theoretical research is our strength!
However, theoretical research does not bring external money, of course. The problem with having research at universities (instead of having institutions like CNRS or Max Plank) is that tuition-paying students and parents do not want their tuition money to fund professors’ time for research, as we see from the Senior Exit Surveys (and I understand them being a tuition-paying parent myself). They want things like Mechanical Design to be taught by engineers with experience at local factories who will tell them about their industrial experience, and not by mechanicians who will tell them about ideas of Euler, Galileo, Lagrange, and Timoshenko.
These are my thoughts after reading carefully the surveys.
Ну а как все это решить, я не знаю. Напрашивается, что нужно больше сотрудничасть с иностранцами (Китаем и Россией, если есть возможность - Европой) и меньше зависить от американцев, которые попросту не хотят науки ни через гос. программы, ни через гранты, ни через плату за обучение студентов. Но они еще и сажают за сотрудничесво с Китаем, как в случае Чарльза Либера.