In the forthcoming Public Policy Colloquium of the engineering deans, Monday, February 1–Tuesday, February 2. Dean Yortsos will present a Quick Take on the topic of Trustworthy Engineers.
Yannis C. Yortsos, Dean
USC Viterbi School of Engineering
In May 2020 graduated the “Engineer of 2020”. A 2004 National Academy of Engineering report anticipated their attributes more than 15 years ago (https://www.nap.edu/catalog/10999/the-engineer-of-2020-visions-of-engineering-in-the-new). But are they still applicable, and are they timely? Today’s world, where trust is increasingly absent, coupled with our exponential growing technological capabilities and their empowering nature, requires that our graduates are also driven by purpose and character, in addition to the technical competence attributes, mostly prescribed in the academy report. In this short presentation we summarize our thoughts on this important subject and argue that a significant change in the non-engineering part of the engineering curriculum is needed to enhance purpose and character, which together with outstanding technical competence, will lead to trust and trustworthiness. We then sketch the steps we are taking to implement such changes. The topic is directly relevant to public policy, as well as to the inclusion and resilience aspects of the 2021 Public Policy Colloquium, all of which require whole-person mindsets, as they address societal and humanistic issues.