Hermann_FeiseWhat engineers needs to know – An industrial view of chemical engineering education
Hermann J. Feise, Jürgen Dahlhaus, Martin Strohrmann

The Chemical Industry as one of the major industries in Europe requires well educated engineers in its work force. The – not so – recent changes in the European academic education system, which are generally subsumed under the term “Bologna Process”, have brought many changes which tend to be discussed controversially within academia, between academia and industry and within the industry.

The Bologna process has brought three cycles (bachelor, master, PhD) to engineering education. The relatively short bachelor program has found its place in the graduate landscape. In Germany Bachelor graduates tend to occupy jobs at the interface between vocational and academic training. This is well documented by the rapidly growing “dual-study-programs” at our universities. Consecutive Master degrees have replaced the “old” German engineering degrees relatively smoothly, leading to an overall extension of the engineering education by one to two semesters. The position of structured PhD – study programs is not yet clear, as these programs do not offer many of the learning opportunities provided by the research centered PhD careers.

The Bologna – Process also brought a change from curriculum based to output focused study programs. The EFCE Working Party Education and the German “Fachgruppe Aus- und Weiterbildung in der Verfahrenstechnik” have been instrumental in providing a qualification framework which describes the characteristics of Chemical Engineering in the new education environment. These frameworks show that a profound knowledge in the fundamentals of science and engineering, practiced competences in languages, teamwork and independent work as well as exposure to the “real world” will remain the cornerstones of a good engineering education.

This presentation will look into various aspects of the question “What do engineers need to know?” from the viewpoint of a large industrial company.