ASEE Public Policy Statements


Public Policy Statements

ASEE Board Statement on Instruction on Race, Gender, and Sexuality Topics in Engineering Courses

June 26, 2022

An increasing number of state legislatures within the United States are considering and passing legislation aimed at restricting the teaching of so-called “divisive concepts” at the pre-college level.  Even more worrisome, some states are now expanding these restrictions to the collegiate level[i].  We find these efforts to be concerning because they may degrade the quality of engineering and engineering technology education. 

Engineers must be concerned not with developing and using technologies, but it is our ethical[ii] imperative to also consider the social, economic, and political contexts and impacts of those technologies on the people who use them and on wider societies[iii].  This concern is embodied in the concept of “macro-ethics” as put forward by ASEE Fellow Joe Herkert and championed by William A. Wulf, former president of the National Academy of Engineering.  The concept holds that engineers must act such that not only their individual professional behavior is ethical, but also the collective work they engage in as a profession in service to society is ethical as well[iv].

Engineers increasingly question whether it is ethical to design systems that ignore or disadvantage significant portions of the population – for example, road routings that isolate or bisect economically disadvantaged neighborhoods[v], seat belts that do not consider the height and weight of the average woman[vi], automatic faucets that do not work well for persons with darker skin[vii], artificial intelligence systems designed to assume a higher degree of criminality among underserved ethnic communities[viii], or student recruitment software that allows for selecting only White students[ix].  These examples are drawn from actual past practices that reflect  ignorance and antipathy toward various segments of our population.   

In order to avoid such errors in the future, it is essential that faculty and students be able to openly discuss the context of how these errors came to be and what steps can be taken in the future to avoid their recurrence.  This necessitates discussions of the nation’s historical treatment of various populations and how engineered systems have reflected or facilitated this treatment.   Prohibiting such discussions in a misguided attempt to prevent “discomfort” among engineering students does a disservice to the students and to the public they hope to serve.

(End of Statement)



Actions ASEE is Taking in Support of Black Lives Matter

June 2, 2020

Policy statement
  • The ASEE Commission on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion calls members to action.
  • With support provided by the A. James and Alice B. Clark Foundation, ASEE will
    • Increase participation by HBCU deans in 2021 ASEE activities such as EDI, PPC, and the Annual Conference.
    • Hold 50% of the slots for faculty from Minority Institutions, including HBCUs, to participate in ASEE's new DELTA Institutes for junior faculty, new chairs/heads, and aspiring deans.
  • The live ASEE General Body Meeting to be held on Monday, June 22 from 4∶00 PM to 4∶30 PM (Eastern) will be an open forum for discussion of further actions that can be taken by ASEE as an organization by our individual and institutional members can take.
  • Via the ASEE Diversity Recognition Program, ASEE member institutions have committed to
    • Increase the recruitment, retention, and progression of URM, including African American, students.
    • Increase the recruitment, retention, and movement into leadership positions of URM, including African American, and women, including African American women, faculty.
  • Via the Engineering Deans Gender Equity (EDGE) Initiative, ASEE HQ is working directly with member institutions to enhance the retention and promotion into leadership positions of women (including African American women) faculty.
  • With support from the National Science Foundation’s Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) Directorate, ASEE HQ is working to increase the participation of URM faculty, including African Americans, as well as faculty from minority serving institutions, including HBCUs, in CISE programs. We hope to be able to engage in similar activity with a NASA directorate.
  • ASEE webinar on anti-racism. On Tuesday, June 16th we held a panel on anti-racism in engineering education, moderated by ASEE Past President Bev Watford and featuring esteemed panelists from K-12 to higher education. The panel is available on demand . We also compiled a list of resources shared by panelists and attendees here .
  • ASEE will be co-host of the third CoNECD Conference, January 24-27, 2020

(End of Statement)



ASEE Statement on White House Executive Order on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping

October 16, 2020

The Board of Directors of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) finds the September 22, 2020 Executive Order (EO) on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping inimical to the values of the ASEE and of the United States. We find the EO destructive of its stated goals of reducing divisiveness and promoting excellence and collaborative achievement in the workplace. We respectfully request its immediate rescission. Read the full statement here.


(End of Statement)



ASEE Statement on Planned Change to Authorized Duration of Stay for F-1 Visa Holders

October 3, 2020

American innovation is the envy of the world in large part because American research universities, as engines of that innovation, attract the best and brightest engineering students the world has to offer. Most Engineering students in the US – regardless of country of origin – require more that 4 years to complete a Doctoral or Baccalaureate degree. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has provided notice that it intends to propose a new rule in fall 2020 establishing a maximum period of four years for authorized stay for international students and other holders of certain nonimmigrant visas. Though " intended to decrease the incidence of nonimmigrant student overstays and improve the integrity of the nonimmigrant student visa," a likely effect will be to increase uncertainty and cause disruption to the study plans of the nearly 60% of engineering doctoral students who are on such visas as well as the many international students pursuing master’s or bachelor’s degrees. Limiting the term of visas such students will likely constrict the flow of talent to our shores, reduce degree completion within our universities, and diminish the quality and quantity of work that fuels our nation’s economic growth and global competitiveness. We urge careful study and caution before implementing such a rule.


(End of Statement)



ASEE Statement on Prevention of Nonimmigrant Students from Taking Online-Only Coursework

July 7, 2020

The changes announced on July 6, 2020, by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement may have a significant negative impact on many ASEE individual and institutional members, most notably colleges of engineering and engineering technology. In the face of the on-going pandemic, colleges and universities across the U.S. are struggling with whether or how to open for classes this fall, with many choosing either blended or fully online offerings. The announced change prohibits those non-immigrants pursuing academic (F-1 visa) and vocational (M-1 visa) coursework from taking a fully online course load and remaining in the U.S. Given that a fully online course load may be the only option at many universities, and given the challenges in international travel including visa access, the net effect of this change would appear to be to force large numbers of non-immigrant students to disrupt their studies, leave the U.S., and be unable to return for the foreseeable future. Read more.

ASEE also wrote a statement for the larger community, currently signed by over 30 STEM-focused associations. Read it here.


(End of Statement)



ASEE Statement on Professional Licensure of Engineering Technology Program Graduates

February 2, 2020

ASEE strongly supports the position that baccalaureate graduates from ETAC/ABET accredited Engineering Technology programs are fully capable of protecting the health, safety, and welfare of the public and should, therefore, be eligible, without additional requirements, to become Licensed Professional Engineers. Read the full statement here.


(End of Statement)



ASEE Code of Ethics for Engineering Educators

February 2, 2020

ASEE has adopted a statement noting that our members, including educators and the industry partners who work with them, occupy positions of significant authority, and that authority is accompanied by significant ethical responsibilities. Those members who perform professional work as a representative of specific disciplines are guided by the code of ethics of their professional society, including, in engineering codes, the requirement to hold paramount the safety, health, and welfare of the public. Read the full statement here.


(End of Statement)



ASEE Testimony in Support of Fiscal Year 2020 NSF and NASA Funding

April 4, 2019

This written testimony was submitted on behalf of the American Society for Engineering Education to the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies for the official record.

Excerpt: "NSF education and research investments have truly transformed our world through engineering breakthroughs such as the internet, fiber-optics, and medical imaging technology. These investments keep our communities safe, lower healthcare costs, and spur our economy. Today, engineering research is opening possibilities through advances in areas such as artificial intelligence, biosensors, and advanced materials. We ask that you robustly fund NSF at $9 billion to support critical education and research programs. In addition, we urge you to continue both STMD and the Office of STEM Outreach at NASA in FY 2020." Read the full statement here.


(End of Statement)



Letter Supporting Scholarly Research in Diversity and Inclusion in STEM Education

March 13, 2018

Over the past year, there has been a proliferation of targeted attacks on scholarly work addressing diversity and inclusion in STEM education, including work in engineering education specifically. Many of these attacks have appeared on conservative outlets and in broader alt-right media and social media networks. When specific faculty members are targeted, they and their colleagues are often subject to harassing and threatening calls, emails, tweets, and more.

ASEE supports our members and all academic researchers in the face of these attacks on academic freedom. Read the full statement here.


(End of Statement)



Letter from ASEE President Regarding Higher Education Act Reauthorization

February 23, 2018

Postsecondary education plays a leading role in the preparation of the engineering and engineering technology workforce, a driving force behind innovation and our economic development. ASEE is committed to advancing the development of innovative approaches and solutions to engineering and engineering technology education. We look forward to working with the committee to ensure that post-secondary education in our country is a driving force in its growth, success, and prosperity.

Read the full letter here.

(End of Statement)


Statement by ASEE Board of Directors on 2018 White House Budget Request

May 26, 2017

The American Society for Engineering Education has previously urged that bipartisan support for engineering education and research continue and, if possible, increase.

President Trump’s budget would drastically reduce funding for agencies such as the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), entities that provide funding not only for many ASEE members but that underpin the nation’s engineering and science research and development enterprise.

NSF and the Department of Health and Human Services (home to NIH) face staggering cuts of 13 and 19 percent, respectively. In addition, the Department of Energy, a major funder of research in the physical sciences, would face a 15 percent cut. The overall expenditures for non-defense R&D would be cut by nearly 10 percent. Further, proposed indirect caps of 10 percent on NIH grants would handcuff researchers and their institutions.

These spending decisions diminish the ability of the United States to invest in basic research, an investment which has been demonstrated to improve our safety and security, drive the nation’s economy, and maintain our position as the world leader in innovation.

The ASEE Board of Directors encourages members of the 115th Congress to follow the praiseworthy precedent set with the FY 2017 Omnibus legislation and sustain adequate funding for our nation’s engineering and scientific research efforts.

(End of Statement)


ASEE Engineering Technology Council Position Statement on the Modification of GS-0800 Engineering Qualification Standard Maintained by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management

Endorsed by the ASEE Board of Directors on Feb 5, 2017.

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has authority over the qualification standards that define the credentials required of applicants seeking employment with the federal government. The qualification standard governing applicants for entry-level engineering positions is GS-0800, and currently the ‘basic’ applicant requirement identified in GS-0800 is successful completion of an ABET-accredited ‘engineering’ degree. The basic requirement does not recognize as adequate preparation the successful completion of an ABET–accredited Bachelor of Science Engineering Technology degree. Instead, to be considered, applicants with that educational degree are required to provide proof of additional qualifications over and above having earned an ABET-accredited Bachelor of Science Engineering Technology degree.

Since federal agencies adhere to the GS-0800 standard, that standard often informs and influences federal (and state) contractors, thus limiting access to entry-level engineering positions for graduates from ABET-accredited Bachelor of Science Engineering Technology programs. Clearly engineering jobs, both in and outside of the federal government, are influenced by this standard.

The ASEE Engineering Technology Council (ETC) strongly recommends that the Office of Personnel Management revise the GS-0800 general classification standard such that it recognizes successful completion of either ABET-accredited Engineering or an ABET-accredited Engineering Technology Bachelor of Science degree as meeting ‘basic requirements’ for applicants to entry-level engineering positions. Such change would reflect current industry practice, increase the size of the engineering applicant pool, and thus increase the diversity of the nation’s engineering workforce.

Qualifying Statements:
This GS-0800 standard defines entry to the minimum level of federal engineering jobs, and it is supplemented by other standards that many federal agencies use to define specialized roles. As with all jobs, career progression may well require experience and/or additional training. This position statement seeks only to open the first door, with the full understanding that it is up to the individual to advance from there.

(End of Statement)


Statement by ASEE Board of Directors on Trump Administration’s Order on U.S. Immigration by Nationals of Seven Countries

February 1, 2017

The U.S. Presidential Executive Order on immigration enforcement, issued on Friday January 27, may have a significant potential impact on many ASEE institutional members, most notably colleges of engineering and engineering technology.

The majority of engineering graduate students are foreign born, as are a significant number of undergraduates and faculty. An executive order banning visa and green card* holders from seven countries may impact thousands of engineering and engineering technology students and faculty members from continuing their education and/or research in a timely and reasonable manner. And this does not address, of course, the personal hardship and anxiety they are facing.

A talented engineering workforce is needed to tackle the grand challenges of tomorrow. ASEE member institutions are greatly enriched by the talent, intelligence, work ethic, and diversity of thought that international faculty and students bring to their campuses. Many of these students stay in the U.S. after graduation and contribute to the economy, sometimes starting tech-based businesses or impacting entire industries.

Beyond any immediate negative impact, the creation of an atmosphere of uncertainty for international faculty and students may have a dampening impact on our nation’s ability to attract the best talent to engineering.

While ASEE supports every effort to ensure security within our borders, we hope that such efforts will be carried out in such a way as to minimize disruption to those who teach, practice, and study engineering and engineering technology in the U.S.

*As of this writing, on February 1, it appears as though green card holders will be allowed to return to the United States.

(End of Statement)


ASEE Statement on Federal Investment in Engineering Education

January 17, 2017

The American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), with a membership of over 400 academic institutions, 50 corporations, and 12,000 individuals, is the pre-eminent authority on the education of engineering professionals. ASEE’s mission is to advance innovation, excellence, and access at all levels of education for the engineering profession.

As a new administration and Congress assume office, ASEE urges that bipartisan support for engineering education and research continue and, if possible, increase. Policymakers have long recognized the contribution of engineering to national security and to advances in healthcare, energy independence, and efficient infrastructure.

Engineering drives economic growth, international competitiveness, and national security. Restoring national infrastructure and improving cybersecurity will depend on engineers. As educators, we are now training the next generation of designers, builders, and inventors. Robust support for engineering education at all levels and investment in research and development is essential to ensure an entrepreneurial, innovative, secure, and economically vibrant United States for years to come.

Engineering education enables socio-economic progress for all people and is a job multiplier; engineers launch and grow businesses (and entire new industries) that drive employment. ASEE thus encourages policy makers to support investment in those entities and individuals who practice engineering education at all age levels.

(End of Statement)


Many pieces of national legislation important to ASEE members are introduced and voted on each year. Several of these bills address STEM education funding at the K-16 levels, but can incorporate any of a number of issues dealing with engineering education, including research dollars, student preparation, and more.
ASEE represents its members in these efforts in a variety of ways:

  • ASEE staff visit members of congress and their staffers to discuss the importance of engineering education and associated legislation
  • ASEE is part of a number of coalitions that seek to influence legislation
  • ASEE signs on in support of relevant pieces of legislation and takes public stances on these bills
  • ASEE participates in several “congressional visit days” around the issue of STEM education

Each year ASEE hosts a Public Policy Colloquium which brings together the nation’s deans with the goal of strengthening the discussion of engineering education and research issues between the engineering deans and key public policy makers, and to enable the deans to refine their public policy agenda. Part of this event includes participants visiting their representatives on Capitol Hill.

ASEE produces the weekly “Capitol Shorts” newsletter keeping members abreast of important developments in Congress and federal agencies. Visit the link to subscribe and read back issues.

Read statements from the ASEE Board of Directors on various public policy topics.

Watch the video, Close the Innovation Deficit.

Letters to the Editor

Read letters to the editor in major publications from ASEE presidents on classroom instruction and best techniques for teaching STEM students.