Engineering Education: Back to the Future
Friday, February 11, 2011
(reception to follow in Portico of ISTB 1)
As a discipline of study, engineering is described by both content and thought processes. While content can overlap several disciplines (for example, chemistry and chemical engineering), the thought processes of engineers, in particular the focus on creation and problem solving, continue to define engineering. The challenge of engineering education is to properly balance content with experiences in other areas (“soft skills”) that often play a large role in career success. In looking to the future, much can be learned from past studies about where engineering was headed as a profession and the associated needs to prepare students. In this presentation I use both hindsight and speculation to frame a discussion of innovation in engineering education.
John Anderson is the President of Illinois Institute of Technology. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has received the Professional Progress Award of AIChE and a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship. His technical interests are in membrane science and separations, coatings and colloidal suspensions, and polymers. He has served on the faculties of Cornell, Carnegie Mellon, Case Western Reserve and Illinois Institute of Technology. His previous leadership experience includes department chair (1983-94) and dean of engineering (1996-2004) at Carnegie Mellon, and provost (2004-07) at Case Western Reserve. He has chaired several boards and study committees for the National Research Council and has held visiting professorships at MIT, University of Melbourne (Australia) and Landbouwuniversiteit Wageningen (the Netherlands). He received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Delaware and a PhD from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, both in chemical engineering.