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FLEXO Magazine : February 2008
56 FLEXO FEBRUARY 2008 www.flexography.org Then and Now The Technical Education Journey By Dr. Richard Wagner An old saying goes, "Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn" and this has never been more applicable. Technical education has changed and continues to change, requiring faculty and administrator to learn everyday. The title of this article is taken from a paper I stumbled on a few years ago when I was searching through Dunwoody College of Technology's ar- chives. Charles Prosser, a pioneer of voca- tional education and long-time director of Dunwoody, was reflecting on the institu- tion he helped build, and through that reflection, he was discussing the future. I hope to accomplish the same. I want to start by reviewing the four forces that shaped the beginning of "mod- ern" technical education: social, economic, technical, and political. I'll then examine the context and dynamics of technical ed- ucation in the 21st century. Finally, I plan to discuss bold thinking for the future. WORKING MODEL Training people for work has always ex- isted. Over the few thousand years of our existence, there has always been the need for skilled workers: stone cutters to build the pyramids, cobblers, blacksmith, etc. For most of the time, there were three ways a person could be educated for work: Voluntary or involuntary 1. apprenticeship. Passing down of a trade from father 2. to son or mother to daughter. Learning by watching, picking up 3. and developing the skill. This model existed and seemed to de- liver the skilled workforce needed by the nation. But things started to change in the late 19th century. The economy was shift- ing to an industrial base from an agrarian base. Around that time, the U.S. began to lead the world in the production of iron and steel. The U.S. also led Britain in manufacturing and represented nearly one Dunwoody Printing Lab, circa 1928 Dunwoody Printing Lab, circa 1933 Dunwoody Printing Lab, 2008 FTA TODAY