ISA Education Division Director's Message
Welcome everyone to the Education Division (EDD). I am happy to serve as your Director.
Education encompasses so much of our lives, and through this division, we hope to attract and engage those who have interests in all the different aspects of education. Everyone is invited to participate in this division, including students, instructors, professors, administrators, corporate trainers, and anyone who has an interest in education.
The Education Division is concerned with promoting and advancing educational initiatives including automation engineering, automation related courses and programs, and activities related to the mission of the Society. The Division will function as a resource and technical information exchange for students, faculty, education professionals, and others with an interest in education. Members will have the opportunity to share experiences and learn from their peers. The division will work with other groups within ISA to recruit student members and support their retention.
One of the challenges we face as automation professionals is to train the next generation to replace us. Unfortunately, there appears to be a general lack of automation-related courses in 4-year universities and thus it becomes harder to recruit new graduates into the pipeline. This problem was not as significant thirty years ago when corporations had large automation departments and had the resources to train the typical university graduate that had only one course in linear control systems. Now, most automation is being handled by consulting engineering firms that expect the new college graduate to have at least some exposure to automation (whether PLC or DCS) so they are ready to contribute to an automation project with minimal training. There are a few institutions that have seen this shift and have added to their curricula to meet this demand. The recent retrenchment in state support of higher education adds to this challenge.
It is up to those of us in this division, whether we work for a corporation or for an educational institution, to find ways to promote and encourage other educational institutions to start offering a course or two that apply to automation engineering. Hopefully, these courses will lead down the path to at least an automation engineering minor, if not a full-fledged automation engineering degree.
Let’s work together to make the Education Division a value for us all.