TALE 2018 Keynote Address: Doing more with less…

Trevelyan, J. (Speaker)

Activity: Service and engagementPublic lecture, debate or seminar


Several indicators provide compelling evidence that engineers could perform much better than they do today. Major engineering projects fail routinely, and multifactor productivity growth is minimal across OECD countries.

Lying behind these indicators we can find some striking gaps in engineering education:

• Students find it hard to explain the value of engineering beyond vague assertions involving technical problem solving and making the world a better place.
• Engineers find it hard to explain the value of their work to employers, investors, even governments.

These gaps could easily be addressed by explaining the purpose of engineering, perhaps in these terms:

Engineers use technical knowledge and foresight to conceive, deliver, operate and sustain man-made objects and systems that enable people to do more with less effort, time, materials, energy, uncertainty, health risk and environmental disturbances.

Recent research has provided a theoretical basis to teach students how engineering creates immense economic value.

This research has come just in time because engineers face the greatest challenge imaginable in the next three decades: eliminating greenhouse emissions desirably by 2040 and definitely by 2055.

Engineers need to enable everyone on the planet to do more with less – zero nett emissions, but also less effort, time, materials, energy, uncertainty, health risk and environmental disturbances.

Companies now expect engineers to be able to do this… and fast!

It would also be helpful to make some fundamental changes in the culture of engineering education, particularly to change from a competitive culture rewarding individual effort to one that rewards collaboration.

TALE is the IEEE Education Society’s flagship Asia-Pacific (IEEE Region 10) conference, catering to researchers and practitioners with an interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education – with a particular emphasis on electrical and electronic engineering, telecommunications, computer engineering, computer science and allied disciplines – as well as those interested in the innovative use of digital technologies for learning, teaching and assessment in any discipline. The target audience of the conference is diverse and includes those working in the higher education, vocational education and training (VET), K-12, corporate, government, and healthcare sectors.
Period5 Dec 2018
Event titleIEEE International Conference on Teaching, Assessment and Learning for Engineering 2018
Event typeConference
LocationWollongong, Australia, New South Wales
Degree of RecognitionInternational