Common Goals of the Professional Society and Education
- John C. Calhoun Jr. (Texas A And M College)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- March 1963
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 264 - 266
- 1963. Original copyright American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers, Inc. Copyright has expired.
- 6.1.5 Human Resources, Competence and Training
- 2 in the last 30 days
- 142 since 2007
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In recognizing and discharging its obligations and in developing its avenues of service, the professional society will find that many of its goals of education programs. In particular, the Society of Petroleum Engineers has parallel interests to those of petroleum engineering departments. SPE is the only professional society having a vested interest in petroleum engineering education. SPE should work closely with these departments in defining petroleum engineering, outlining the educational needs of the profession, sponsoring the development of research and promoting special courses that will serve the continuing educational needs of the profession.
There has been much discussion during the past several years on the subjects of petroleum engineering education, the accreditation of petroleum engineering curricula and the low enrollments in petroleum engineering programs. Most of these offerings have generally ignored two key factors: (1) that a primary responsibility of the Society of Petroleum Engineers is a concern for petroleum engineering education, and (2) that the problems of educating petroleum engineers cannot be resolved until the Society assumes effective leadership toward achieving solutions. The intent of this paper is to elucidate SPE's role in educational affairs. The subject is considered from general observations about the obligations of professional societies. It is particularized for the specific problems of petroleum engineering education and the responsibilities of SPE. The thesis to be presented can be stated very simply the principal objectives of a professional society are educational in nature. A professional society can achieve its goals only by advancing the knowledge, competence and understanding of its individual members and by developing a body of knowledge that is indigenous to the profession. These goals involve processes normally identified as educational processes. The professional society is actually a part of the total educational structure of our age. Its objectives parallel and complement those of the university and other formal educational institutions.
Defining Petroleum Engineering
Webster's Third International Dictionary gives the following pertinent definition for a profession: "a calling requiring specialized knowledge and often long and intensive preparation including instruction in skills and methods as well as in scientific, historical, or scholarly principles underlying such skills and methods, maintaining by force of organization or concerted opinion high standards of achievement and conduct, and committing its members to continued study and to a kind of work which has for its prime purpose the rendering of a public service". Look at the phrase, "maintaining by force of organization or concerted opinion high standards of achievement and conduct". Our system has evolved formal groups of members of professions to produce the "force of organization". These groups are called professional societies. Members of the profession are banded together for a common good for maintaining not only the interests of the profession, but also the interests of the public as they apply to the profession. It is important to note that the profession is made up of individuals, not of groups. Individuals have a calling, groups do not. The professional society, therefore, is not an association to represent groups involved in producing, manufacturing or other trade activities. Neither is it an association of industrialists, politicians, or tradesmen. The common binding force is not a product, or a material. The individuals of the group are professionals, and from Webster's definition, the common element is the "calling requiring specialized knowledge and often long and intensive preparation". For some reason the idea of a "calling" has passed from vogue. It is a word which expresses purpose, goals and dedication. It identifies the professional person as one of a particular fraternity. Every professional society bas an obligation to identify the specific calling which it represents and the particular specialized knowledge which gives identity to the calling. This obligation is fundamental, for unless the professional society can identify itself and determine those elements which characterize the profession, it has no basis from which to proceed to any other purpose or goal. Therefore, SPE has at least one aim in common with the petroleum engineering departments of America. They need a common understanding of what is meant by petroleum engineering.
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