Submitted to: Resource Engineering and Technology for a Sustainable World
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/23/2006
Publication Date: 1/1/2007
Citation: Rosentrater, K.A., Howell, T., Mallikarjunan, K. 2007. The Current State of Food Engineering Education - Departmental and Student Perceptions. Resource Engineering and Technology for a Sustainable World. 14(1):29.
Technical Abstract: Food engineering is a vibrant field which encompasses a broad array of career possibilities for new graduates entering the profession. Engineers are vital for the design of handling, storage, processing, and distribution systems for agricultural, food, fiber, fuel, and biological products. There are currently approximately 30,000 food and bioprocess manufacturing facilities in this country, and they all need engineers. There are thus many opportunities for graduates in this field. FPE-80 – Food Engineering Education Priorities Committee focuses on understanding and disseminating current educational needs for food engineering. And it is seeking ways that ASABE can meet the needs of students, educators, and industry. With the aid of the ASABE staff and the Zoomerang system, we have developed and distributed two surveys: one targeted at engineering department faculty (circulated during 2005); the other for undergraduate engineering students within these departments who are enrolled in the food and/or biological engineering options (circulated during 2006). Even though we had limited responses, this information provides a good basis to plan future efforts for ASABE in terms of improving and augmenting food engineering curricula and programs. It is clear that ASABE should focus on increasing student interest in the fields of food and biological engineering, and should showcase career opportunities that are available. Many of these issues are actually part of a larger movement in engineering education: how best to educate future engineers. In fact, the topics we have discussed dovetail with the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) year of dialog on this subject. More information can be found at their website (www.asee.org).