Politically Correct Engineering
The problem is THE MATH!!! Yes, engineering math is apparently too hard for most women to deal with, so something had to be done about THE MATH!!! Clever Smith College professor, Glenn Ellis, decided he would be the one to bring Engineering to women's colleges--starting with Smith. Ellis decided to do something about THE MATH!!!
The first women's college to offer an engineering degree, Smith is forging new paths in a field that's eager to swell its ranks in the United States. Women receive only 20 percent of bachelor's degrees in engineering, according to a new report by the National Science Board (NSB). Like a handful of other liberal arts colleges, Smith is producing graduates who've had a different type of engineering education – one that goes beyond technical training to focus on a broader context for finding solutions to humanity's problems; one that emphasizes ethics and communication; one so flexible that about half the students study abroad, which is rare, despite the multinational nature of many engineering jobs.
...He encouraged the diverse group to "play around" as they graphed how their distance from the sensor changed over short bursts of time. Anna Lorenz amused the class as she tried a moonwalk to keep her line as straight as possible. "That's a Smith first!" Ellis declared gleefully.___CSM
There is nothing wrong with using intuitive methods to teach the underlying concepts of calculus and mechanics. I highly recommend incorporating intuitive methods into math, engineering, and science myself. But you cannot leave out THE MATH!!!
I'm no expert, but I'm not clear on what you can engineer with "context, ethics, and communication." I hope the Chronicle is wrong in saying that this engineering curriculum emphasizes sociology and philosophy "as much as," um, engineering.
To be sure, if teaching in this way improves women's performance on actual engineering tasks, as opposed to just luring them into enrolling and sticking around, I'm all for it. But I find it hard to believe such distractions would improve on a focused curriculum, and I can't seem to find any information on (A) how these students compare to those who got into sex-integrated engineering programs and (B) how these women do when they graduate. Certainly, were the program working well, it wouldn't need affirmative-action deals like this:
Students who maintain an overall GPA of 3.5 and a GPA of 3.5 within the major are automatically admitted to graduate study in an engineering discipline at Dartmouth College, Johns Hopkins University, Tufts University, the University of Notre Dame, and the University of Michigan.___Source
We know that women and men have different aptitude curves for math and verbal ability. Test scores for males are higher in math, scores for females are higher in verbal ability.
Approximately 1.3 percent of the Medalists will be women. Since the prize is conferred quadrennially, we expect a female Fields Medalist to emerge approximately once every 103 years, that is, every 4/[3(0.013)] years. None has yet surfaced.
Rather than PC dumbing down engineering to fit more women and minorities, perhaps it would be better to invest our scarce resources in the persons who are best suited for the particular field of study. Do not select by race, gender, sexual orientation etc. Select by ability to learn and perform.