In 2018, MIT’s New Engineering Education Transformation program released a study on the global state of the art in undergraduate engineering education, written by UK-based consultant Dr. Ruth Graham. For the study, 50 global thought leaders in engineering education were interviewed to identify the world’s most highly regarded undergraduate engineering programs and describe the approach taken by these top institutions. Her research named Olin, along with MIT, as the top leaders in engineering education globally.

Specifically, Olin was cited for “multidisciplinary student-centered education that extends across and beyond traditional engineering disciplines and is anchored in issues of ethics and social responsibility.”

Worldwide interest in the report inspired MIT and Olin to jointly convene a first-of-its-kind Colloquium on the Global State of the Art in Engineering Education, which took place in April, 2019. More than 70 passionate educators, thought leaders, educational entrepreneurs, directors, administrators and students came together on the MIT and Olin campuses. The participants all hailed from the 16 institutions identified in the report as either current or emerging global leaders in this area.

The intense two-day event was intentionally designed to foster relationships among key change agents, build a community, and to work towards creating sustainable global impact in engineering education. 

Over the two-day session, attendees set out to identify what needs to be done to educate and prepare engineers for the next 20 years. After welcoming remarks, participants identified areas of greatest opportunity and/or risk in engineering education, and considered about the best points of leverage for growth and transformation. Themes emerged, and the participants self-formed groups to create programs designed to address those themes. That afternoon, participants made posters to illustrate those programs. The following morning teams shared their designs, and other participants offered feedback. Finally, each team created a written abstract which will serve as the basis of an upcoming Special Issue on Emerging Programs from Advances in Engineering Education (AEE)/American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). The topics include Experiential Learning, Principles for Individualized Learning, Enjoyment of Engineering, Institutional Structural Change, Documenting Individualized Learning Experiences, Holistic Views of Students, Faculty & Institutions, Socially Responsible Engineering, The Competences of Future Engineers, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, Socially Responsible Data Science and AI, Faculty Development, and Access, Equity, and Justice.

This event marked a first step in a series of activities, meetings and projects planned to not only advance engineering education in each of these institutions, but also to build a community that can positively influence the global state of engineering education.

The Colloquium is a time to come together to learn from each other, forge new relationships and strengthen old ones, and consider how we might together design the global future of engineering education.”

–Jessica Townsend