In a world where cultures collide in the global marketplace and information reaches the far ends of the globe in seconds, the demand for professionals who appreciate and understand how their work affects all the people it touches is increasingly urgent.
The Stonecipher Symposium on Technology, Communication and Culture: Humanities in Engineering Education to be held March 2 and 3 at Tennessee Technological University will provide answers for professionals seeking how to prepare for the 21st century. The speakers will focus on technology as a cultural force and the role of humanities studies in an increasingly technological and global workplace.
"Dialogue between engineers and humanists is absolutely essential to the well being of the country and the world," said Marvin Barker, Tennessee Tech's provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. "An engineer who hasn't been exposed to the humanities is incomplete, just as a humanist who hasn't been exposed to engineering principles in incomplete."
The Stonecipher Symposium, sponsored jointly by Tennessee Tech's College of Engineering, College of Arts and Sciences and the General Education Fund, will emphasize preparing engineers and humanists to appreciate the intricacies of how different cultures communicate and how each work decision may have an impact socially and globally.
"I've know plenty of people with lots of brain power who never advanced in their careers because they didn't have people skills," says Barker, who wants the Stonecipher Symposium to be an annual event. "The bottom line is that relationships with people are absolutely critical to success in an field. Relationships broaden people's experiential base."
The symposium will feature three keynote addresses: "The 21st Century Engineer -- A New Model for a New Era," by Wallace Read, the 1996 president of the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers; "The New Liberal Education: Designing Lives and Careers Anew" by Lance Schachterle, assistant provost and professor of English at Worcester Polytechnic Institute; and "Engineering Criteria 2000" by Dayne Aldridge, chair of the Engineering Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering Technology.
David Boocker and Kurt Eisen, Tennessee Tech associate English professors, conceived the idea of holding the symposium at the university. After approaching the administration about holding an event to address the importance of humanities in engineering education, they teamed with university mechanical engineering professor Robert Smoak and Dennis George, director of Tennessee Tech's Center of Excellence for the Management, Utilization and Protection of Water Resources Center.
The symposium is named for and partially funded by Harry Stonecipher, chief operating officer of the Boeing Corporation and a 1960 Tennessee Tech graduate, through the Terry Martin Stonecipher Fund for Arts and Sciences he established in honor of his son.
Other presentations include talks on communication, technology and classroom and workplace cultures. The public is welcome to hear each speaker with no charge for admission.For more information or a complete list of speakers, call Melissa Goldsipe at 372-3046.