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Letters to the Editor
Standards Education Today

I read the fine editiorial in the May 2003 issue, with Donald Purcell’s thought provoking “Standards Education Snapshot.” Standards education, for the past three to four decades, has never wanted for enthusiasm, attention and interest, but we should be asking, “What can the standards developing organizations (SDOs), ASTM International, the American National Standards Institute and all of the many professional and technical societies do to support standards education in higher education?” Put another way, “Ask not what faculty, the standards educators and universities can do for you; ask what you and your SDO or association, business or industry group can do for them.” During times of financial crisis in states and public education, it can be thus more crudely put: “Money for academe oft speaks louder than intelligent words and wishes.”

I believe Donald Purcell concludes (and I agree) that what must occur first, or simultaneously, are much enhanced educational activities within association or society domains. As well there must be commitments of significant, ongoing financial support to foster student interest, standards scholarships and fellowships, faculty research grants, and related educational initiatives for those in academia. Sadly but assuredly, not much new captures deans or department chairs’ attention, grows or matures in established universities without financial incentives and rewards. These must include concomitant financial support, i.e., real dollars, to foster the standards educational outcomes that we all desire.

Thanks for initiating this important dialogue.

Steven Spivak
Professor Emeritus, Department of Fire Protection Engineering
A. James Clark School of Engineering
The University of Maryland

Water Quality Standards

As a long-time ASTM member and past chairman of ASTM Committee D19 on Water, I was quite surprised and disappointed when I read the article “How Safe Is Your Drinking Water Supply?” [May 2003] and noted absolutely no mention of ASTM’s standards for the analysis of those contaminants that determine water quality. I appreciate that the purpose of the article was to discuss the importance of methods for sampling, however, it should have included at least in a figure, or in a paragraph, the equally important companion role played in the entire monitoring process by ASTM standard methods for analysis of water.

Jim Rice
Olney, Md.

Response from Gillian and David Nielson
Our not addressing related standards was not intended to ignore the work of other committees (including D19, D34 on Waste Management, E50 on Environmental Assessment, and others) that have prepared equally important standards that address water supply protection and monitoring from different perspectives. We are indeed aware of them and it was primarily space limitations in the magazine that required us to limit our citings of relevant standards. The Nielsen Environmental Field School regularly teaches the use of many of those standards in our work, and we certainly recognize their importance.

Gillian L. Nielsen
and David M. Nielsen
Nielsen Environmental Field School

Copyright 2003, ASTM