The Future of Engineering Education: Lessons from 20 Years of Experimentation at Olin College

Richard K. Miller NAE, President Emeritus Olin College and Co-Founder, Coalition for Life-Transformative Education to deliver New Horizons in Engineering Distinguished Lecture

The New Horizons in Engineering Distinguished Lectureship Series at Clarkson University is proud to announce that Dr. Richard Miller will speak on September 20 at 8 pm in BH Snell Hall 213 and via Zoom

In an effort to remake engineering education, starting in 1999, Olin College, with $460 million of support from the F.W. Olin Foundation, began an effort to start over in engineering education. What does it mean to be an engineer in the 21st Century? What does it mean to be “educated” today? 

With the mission to become an important and constant contributor to engineering education in America and throughout the world, Olin has now influenced more than 800 universities from more than 50 nations in the last 10 years and was identified in 2018 in the top 2 engineering program in the world (in two categories) in a global benchmark study published by MIT.  This was achieved through creating a culture of bold experimentation and collaboration: no academic departments or tenure, and a philosophy that everything has an “expiration date.”

The average Olin graduate today has completed more than 20 design-build team projects, and explored starting a business. Reflecting back after 20+ years, we now realize that the observations and insights obtained are not limited to engineering. They apply to all forms of education. This talk will reflect on lessons learned that point the way for the future of undergraduate education in every discipline.   

Richard K. Miller was appointed President and the first employee of Olin College of Engineering in 1999; in June 2020 and became President Emeritus and Professor of Mechanical Engineering; He then served as the Jerome C. Hunsaker Visiting Professor of Aerospace Systems at MIT (2020-2021). In 2017, he co-founded the Coalition for Life-Transformative Education where he continues to serve as Chair of the Steering Committee.  Previously, he served as Dean of Engineering at the University of Iowa, Associate Dean of Engineering at USC in Los Angeles, and assistant professor of engineering at UCSB in Santa Barbara. 

Miller is an elected Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences (AAAS) and the National Academy of Inventors (NAI), and a Member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE).   

He is co-recipient of the NAE Bernard M. Gordon Prize for Innovation in Engineering and Technology Education twice—in 2013 and again in 2022—the only person to win this award more than once.  He also received the 2017 Brock International Prize in Education, and the 2011 Marlowe Award from the American Society for Engineering Education.  In 2014, he received the Caltech Distinguished Alumni Award and in 2002 he received the Distinguished Engineering Alumnus Award from the University of California at Davis.

Miller has served as Chair of the Board on Higher Education and Workforce of the US National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine and as Chair of the Engineering Advisory Committee of the US National Science Foundation.  He has also served on advisory boards and committees for Harvard University, Stanford University, the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, the Lemelson Foundation, the Asian University for Women, the Milken Center for the Advancement of the American Dream, and others. In addition, he has served as a consultant to the World Bank in the establishment of new universities in developing countries. Miller earned his B.S at the University of California, Davis, his S.M. from MIT, and Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology.

Dr. Miller will be the 20th Distinguished Lecturer in Clarkson University’s New Horizons in Engineering series, which is dedicated to improving the understanding of important issues facing engineering and society in the 21 Century.

For more details, please contact Dr. Liya Regel, Distinguished Research Professor of Engineering, New Horizons in Engineering Distinguished Lectureship series founder and chair,

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