When the Institute of Engineering deans met this year (in Williamsburg, Va.) they sounded three alarm bells: * Not enough doctoral candidates.
* Industries luring away professorial material.
* Increase in foreign enrollments.
Engineering Manpower Commission data show that in 1979 some 7.2 percent of all undergraduate degrees, 25.4 percent of all masters degrees, and 33 percent of all engineering doctoral degrees went to foreign nationals, teh overwhelming percentage from Asia. Also it is estimated that 3 of every 5 foreign engineering students from developing countries will decide to stay in the US, and not return to where they are so sorely needed.
It is presumed, too, that most of these foreign students will take teaching positions and not be absorbed by US industries. And this, in turn, will force US businesses to look at American MS and PhD candidates as potential employees taking them away from the graduate schools.
Statistics for student graduates from 1971 and 1979 show a slight increase in the awarding of BS degrees from 43,167 to 52,598; and of MS degrees from 15,889 to 16,036. The number of doctorates, though, declined from 3,640 to 2,815, or nearly one-third.
The current freeze on incoming Iranian students (placed there after the engineering dean's conference by President Jimmy carter) may alter these statistics downward in the coming year.