Magazine article ASEE Prism

Tribute to Change Agents

Magazine article ASEE Prism

Tribute to Change Agents

Article excerpt

Imagine reinventing undergraduate engineering education from scratch. The revolutionaries who founded the Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering in 1997 had just such an opportunity. The well-endowed Massachusetts start-up has no tenure or academic departments, and it has generous merit-based scholarships for all admitted students, near parity of males and females, and a singular, interdisciplinary mission to prepare "engineering innovators" who can "engage in creative enterprises for the good of the world."

Last month, the National Academy of Engineering awarded the $500,000 Gordon Prize to Olin's president and first employee, Richard K. Miller; founding provost and professor David V. Kerns Jr.; and former vice president and current professor Sherra E. Kerns "for guiding the creation of Olin College and its student-centered approach to developing effective engineering leaders." Students, for example, helped guide the development of the initial curriculum, which features a strong focus on the design process and team projects throughout all four years, whole-school presentations at the end of every semester, and entrepreneurial and business experiences. …

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