With support from the United Engineering Foundation, the NAE has been working this year to find ways to better reach the engineering community about Changing the Conversation. One of the things we’re doing, with help from National Engineers Week Foundation, is develop a train-the-trainer curriculum. Engineering organizations will be able to use the training module to conduct face-to-face or virtual education sessions with employees and members. And these folks will then be equipped to take the message about messaging to broader audiences.
The training has been pilot tested twice so far, once face to face at a Future City Coordinator's retreat and a second time by webinar for members of the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE). The training reviews what is known about public understanding of engineering, summarizes the demographics of the field, and highlights the results of the 2008 Changing the Conversation report. It also provides examples of how engineering schools, professional engineering societies, and others have recast their messaging. And it provides specific tips for how organizations and individuals can help change the conversation about engineering.
This training may be more needed than we suspected. In the Future City event, 88 percent of the roughly 35 attendees said they were “very unfamiliar” with the Changing the Conversation project. Seventy-three percent of 161 participants in the NSPE webinar said so.
The train-the-trainer curriculum will be refined in two more pilot sessions this fall, and then it will be made available to everyone on this website. Please weigh in with your thoughts.