JITE v40n4 - From the Editor - Where Have All the Flowers Gone?

Volume 40, Number 4
Summer 2003


Where Have All the Flowers Gone?

If you are like me, you can remember the words to this ballad. However, by admitting that we are children of the '60s, we must also acknowledge that we are an aging profession. Future song lyrics may be, "Where have all the industrial teacher educators gone?" Many are retiring and leaving their beloved campuses, classrooms, and laboratories. The problem is that we, the doctoral-granting industrial teacher education universities, are not preparing a sufficient number of replacements. This should come as no surprise; both the National Association of Industrial and Technical Teacher Educators (NAITTE) and other organizations have been forecasting this decline for years. For those distinguished professors with retirement in sight, it places an additional burden on that decision. "If I leave, will the program I have spent my professional career nurturing be continued?"

The impetus for the profession to address these changes was highlighted by a call by NAITTE President Lewis in 2001 for a committee to examine the future of the profession. This examination and reflection on industrial teacher education was essential as more and more research-intensive universities were losing their industrial teacher education programs and hence their faculty.

In This Issue

This issue of the Journal provides a look at changes in the field of industrial teacher education and most importantly its professional association, NAITTE. The feature article for Volume 40, Number 4, of the Journal is the report by an ad hoc NAITTE committee that was charged to consider the transformation of the professional association. Stephen Petrina, Chair of the NAITTE Ad Hoc Committee, and his committee members, Paul Brachle, James Gregson, Dennis Herschbach, Marie Hoepfl, Scott Johnson, Sam Stern, Thomas Walker, and Karen Zuga, provide the Journal's readership their report. This committee's work provides an examination of the development of NAITTE and the profession's current state, and poses a future scenario. It is imperative that NAITTE members read this work and formulate their thoughts regarding NAITTE's future course. Preceding this report, the NAITTE Executive Board provides an introduction to the work and solicits input from the membership.

Next, Marie Hoepfl provides readers with an overview of the changing nature of professional associations in the technology field. Part of Hoepfl's insight was drawn from the work of the NAITTE Ad Hoc Committee. Hoepfl provides information on the trends that may affect volunteer professional associations such as NAITTE. Hoepfl also indicates some strategies that an association could use to attract and retain members.

What the future holds for secondary industrial technology education is the focus of the article by L. Scott Hansen and Carl J. Reynolds. The authors present the results of a Delphi study that examined what concepts would be important to the field 20 years in the future. Hansen and Reynolds note that problem solving, alternative energy, and information technology are all concepts that future industrial technology educators will deem important. The authors also note that the term "industrial" will no longer be utilized by the field.

One educational methodology, as noted by Hansen and Reynolds, that has moved to the forefront is problem solving. Mathias J. Sutton provides readers a theoretical concept of how technology educators can build their research on problem solving. Sutton used the work of mathematical researchers to develop a conceptual problem-solving research theory for the technology education field.

Jim Flowers has prepared an in-depth review of the Handbook of Distance Education, edited by Michael G. Moore, William Anderson, and William G. Anderson, as the first review in the "Under Review" section of the Journal. An examination of Energy and Society: An Introduction by Harold H. Schobert is the focus of Robert T. Howell's review. Following the "Under Review" pieces is the Journal's "Bits and Pieces" section, which contains information regarding submitting manuscripts to the Journal and how to become a member of NAITTE.

To close the "From the Editor" section, I must encourage the Journal's readers to answer the call of the NAITTE Executive Board, who provide an introduction to the Petrina report. We, as the industrial teacher education profession, must step up and lead the profession, because if we do not, no one else will. Education and society are rapidly changing, and NAITTE must stay abreast. As I view these changes, it looks as if we are becoming more and more like the Roman Empire, limping towards demise. Then, too, society was focused on wealth, entertainment, and the arts. As now, athletics was the controlling influence on both society and education. Without a scholarly professorate in industrial teacher education preparing a highly-skilled teacher, our fate is clear. "When will they ever learn? When will they ever learn?"


From the Executive Board

The National Association of Industrial and Technical Teacher Educators (NAITTE) has a long and rich history of service to the industrial and technical teacher education community. It has one of the longest histories of any professional education organization in existence today; it turned 66 this year. When NAITTE was 56 years old, it began encountering a number of unexpected challenges that threatened its future. Many of those challenges still exist 10 years later.

You will learn about those challenges in the following article, the report of a study commissioned by NAITTE to review NAITTE's professional situation and make recommendations for needed change. You may find that the recommended changes are pertinent and significant in today's educational climate. The Board asks that you give thoughtful consideration to this report.

Consequently, because NAITTE is a membership organization, the Executive Board will be soliciting additional input from the membership. In the spring of 2004, NAITTE will conduct a survey of the membership. Given the importance of this upcoming survey, the membership is asked to give it immediate attention when it arrives.

Tracy Gilmore