TJ, I have to agree with you. I am in the second round of the college search. My younger one is looking at computer science and computer or electrical engineering. My older one started in aerospace engineering and has since gone to compter science, and is now starting a first job.
One thing I have noticed is that many schools teach basically the same curriculum for the first two years and then students can choose their major without taking more than the usual four years. Of course, there are schools that do not do this, or that make it hard to change. I do agree, though, with the need for a common core background in engineering. I also think that a model based (or system engineering) approach is critical for moving forward. In the aerospace business projects were staffed by just such multidisciplinary teams as Kevin mentions. Stretching across this was a systems engineering function, with a very strong methodology in my experience. This should be taught to all students, along with the industry tools used to realize it. Using tools does not mean not learning the theory, though.
When Patents are granted -- one of the most barometric scales for indication of novelty -- the "grant" usually is "incremental" over an existing known process or method. In sharp contrast, disruptive solutions are called disruptive for a good reason. "Disruptive" burns-down those Silos you mentioned and upsets the apple-carts. "Disruptive" unseats long-standing leaders, and even topples industry giants. I attended a MAYA seminar a few years ago, and embrace most of the concepts and teachings. Unfortunately, I found them to be intuitive and obvious. The unfortunate part is that for 99% of people, they are NOT intuitive and obvious. So, one big opportunity will be to introduce Human-Factors Engineering into Curriculums. I believe this would be a great enabler of your intended long-term goal implied by the article.
Interesting article, Kevin. I think the first step if meeting the challenge to create a sustainable future is to break down needs into specific problems. The Bill and Melinda Foundation did a good job of this when they challoenged the engineering community to come up with a waterless toilet. The challenge worked -- in part because it was so specific. Here's some info: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/15/bill-and-melinda-gates-fo_n_1783013.html
California State University, Chico was the first school in California to offer an ABET-accredited degree program in mechatronic engineering. Now its California Mechatronics Center works with industry on machinery, robotics, and surveillance vehicles.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.