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Laboratory oriented instruction for engineering students continues to be a difficult aspect of engineering education. The decreased amount of laboratory instruction in the curriculum, the decreased presence of professorial rank faculty in laboratory instruction, the dwindling level of student interest, and the inadequate resources applied to laboratory oriented instruction are some of the symptoms of the broader, deeper malaise found with this segment of engineering education. The roles the undergraduate engineering laboratory are expected to play are important in determining the future of the engineering laboratory. These roles are usually stated in terms of how the laboratory experience serves the student. To these roles another is added: the continuing professional development of the faculty. This added role gives great emphasis to laboratories concerned with new and developing topics in the discipline. One possible scenario for the engineering instructional laboratory of the future may require a lower level of resources than a more traditional approach, but demands even more in terms of new, properly maintained equipment, competent support staff, and direct involvement of faculty.