Recent reports show a continued decline in international students choosing to study in the United States. According to the 2018 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange, the number of students enrolling for the first time at American colleges dropped nearly 7 percent from 2016 to 2017. While our student body is diverse, Temple Engineering has seen a similar trend emerge.
This is particularly concerning to me, both as a first-generation immigrant and an engineer, but also as an educator for more than three decades. In order for this country to remain competitive, we must welcome students from around the world.
Engineers shape global progress on nearly every level — from manipulating the smallest cellular organisms, to the development of 3-D printing and drone technology, to researching the next frontier of data protection and usage. Engineers build not just buildings and bridges, but businesses, with a significant number of Fortune 500 CEOs studying engineering as undergraduates.
Recent years have shown a significant concern in the U.S. regarding a shortage of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics workers for the marketplace. While Temple Engineering has taken steps toward broadening STEM participation in Philadelphia with the creation of the Center for Inclusive Competitiveness, the holistic solution is a global one.