Re-engineering engineering education

“Young people are like wet cement. Thinking in a systems way, thinking across disciplines and across political boundaries, is something that will be easier to teach if we start with undergraduates and we do this across the globe. If the whole population doesn’t get it, they’re not going to behave differently. So, there is a global urgency to producing the next generation of leaders in every country that has an engineering understanding with systems, and that is able to cooperate with people across the globe.”  Olin College President Rick Miller

Located in Needham, USA, Olin opened its doors in 2002 with an audacious charter: provide an experimental lab for remaking engineering education. The intent was to keep it small—it only has 350 students and doesn’t plan to grow that number—and give everyone free tuition for four years and free housing for the first year.

Some things worked and some things didn’t. The school has long abandoned its free tuition and room policy, but provides each student with a scholarship for half of tuition, which is $43,500 for the current academic year. But the big goal, pointing the way to a new type of engineering education, seems well on track, with the school now a magnet for scores of visitors every year from colleges and universities around the world trying to learn its secret…

Read the full article (which also examines how the College has had so much success in attracting women to its programmes).




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