• Olin College President Richard K. Miller presents the 2011 Brunel Lecture for Complex Systems in Bartos Theater on Nov. 1.

    Olin College President Richard K. Miller presents the 2011 Brunel Lecture for Complex Systems in Bartos Theater on Nov. 1.

    Photo: Stefanie Koperniak

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Olin College president discusses engineering education

Richard Miller discusses innovation in undergraduate teaching, learning.


Richard K. Miller, president of the Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering, presented this year’s Brunel Lecture on Complex Systems, sponsored by MIT Engineering Systems Division. His talk was titled, “From the Ground Up: A Comprehensive Systems Approach to the Redesign of Engineering Education.”

Miller acknowledged that although he does not consider himself an “education scholar,” he is in many ways an “education engineer.” His talk focused primarily on what he has learned in building the education system of Olin College — which was established with a very large gift from the F.W. Olin Foundation in 1997 for the specific purpose of creating a new paradigm for engineering education.

Miller provided some context by describing the traditional categories of most undergraduate studies, including engineering and science; business and management; and arts and humanities. He provided an overview of the different perspectives of and requirements involved for each, explaining that innovation occurs at the nexus of all three of these categories. He said that Olin seeks to provide a well-balanced education through its partnerships with nearby Babson College and Wellesley College.

Olin’s approach is more “student-centered” than “faculty-centered," Miller explained. Olin has neither tenure nor departments, and the school offers tuition at a low cost.

The entire lecture is now available for online viewing on TechTV.


Topics: Education, teaching, academics, Engineering Systems

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