Names - NAS & ASA?

Joseph Carson (
15 Apr 96 20:42:02 EDT

I'm an engineer (BSME, licensed Professional Engineer) and I too often feel
the existence of a "caste" between ASA's PhD Scientists in academe and all the
other potential members of ASA.

I've shared my vision for ASA with the mailing list before, so I won't
repeat it here. Something did come in the mail today that may be of
interest though, as I think it is also applicable to ASA's name. Comments?


Contact: April 10, 1996
Bob Reeg (703) 684-2873; LAR 96-2



ISSUE: NSPE has asked Congress to rename the National Science
Foundation NSF) the "National Science and Engineering Foundation"
and the National Science Board (NSF's governing body), the
"National Science and Engineering Board" so that their titles more
clearly establish the Foundation's commitment to both science and

Members of Congress, President Clinton, and Foundation Director
Neal Lane need to hear that engineers support the name changes.
All engineers, regardless of their area of practice, will benefit
from the name changes. New names will raise Congressional and
public awareness of the important contributions of the Foundation
to our nation's engineering education and research enterprise. The
new names will also redress the "invisibility" of engineering in
the public eye, demonstrated even by the lack of the word
"engineering" in the name of the government agency specifically
charged with advancing engineering inquiry and practice.

BACKGROUND: The name changes are consistent with statutory
modifications made to the Foundation's governing statute in 1985.
The 1985 amendments expanded NSF's mission in regard to engineering
education and research and also incorporated explicit references to
"engineering" in the body of the statute wherever "science" was
referenced. The name changes are the next logical step in the
evolutionary process of engineering within the Foundation.

STATUS: In late April or early May, possibly as soon as April 24,
the House Science Committee is expected to consider legislation to
authorize FY 1997 appropriations for the National Science
Foundation and to make other changes to the Foundation's statute.
At the committee's markup of the authorization bill, Representative
Joe Barton, P.E. TX), is expected to offer an amendment to change
the names of the Foundation and the Board to "National Science and
Engineering Foundation" and "National Science and Engineering

During the Science Committee's June 1995 markup of an FY 1996 NSF
reauthorization measure, Rep. Barton offered a name change
amendment. The amendment was defeated by a 16-22 vote (twelve
Committee members did not vote). This vote was surprisingly high,
considering that the Committee had not considered the issue in ten
years and given that NSF Director Neal Lane and Science Committee
Chairman Robert S. Walker (R-PA) oppose the name changes.

The Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee and Senate Commerce,
Science, and Transportation Committee, which share jurisdiction
over NSF, may also consider an NSF reauthorization measure in 1996.
If they move legislation, NSPE will seek to have the name changes
included in the Senate bill.

ACTION REQUESTED: Engineer Ambassadors from states with a member(s)
of the congressional delegation on the House Science Committee,
Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee, and/or Senate Commerce,
Science, and Transportation Committee (see List next pages), are
urged to contact that member(s) and request him or her to support
a change in the names of the National Science Foundation and the
National Science Board.

It is particularly important that you contact House Science
Committee members as a vote is imminent in that committee. If the
representative supported the 1995 Barton amendment (indicated by a
"yes" in parentheses following their name) please thank them for
their past vote and ask for their continued support. If the
representative opposed the 1995 Barton amendment indicated by a
"no" in parentheses following their name), please ask them to
reconsider their position.

All Engineer Ambassadors are requested to contact President Clinton
and request him to support a change in the names of the National
Science Foundation and the National Science Board. Ambassadors are
a]so requested to contact NSF Director Neal Lane and request him to
reconsider his position. (Dr. Lane currently is opposed to the
name change.)

Among the points you may wish to highlight in your communication
are the following:

o An expansion of the Foundation's and the Board's names to
include explicit references to engineering would foster
recognition of the co-equal role that engineering plays with
science in the research enterprise.

o A name change would reflect the growth in Foundation support
for engineering research and education since the agency's
inception. A name change is the next logical step in this
evolutionary process.

o A name change would enhance public awareness of the
Foundation's contributions to engineering research and

o A name change is entirely consistent with the statutory
mission of the Foundation, which distinguishes "research
fundamental to the engineering process and programs to
strengthen engineering research potential and engineering
education" from "basic scientific research potential and
science education at all levels in the mathematical, physical,
medical, biological, social, and other sciences." This
distinction between "the sciences" and "engineering" should be
carried over in the Foundation's name.