President Dennis Berkey Contributes Chapter to Holistic Engineering Education Book

Holistic Engineering Education: Beyond Technology presents a blueprint for restructuring engineering education to address the complex challenges of the 21st century.

The recently published book Holistic Engineering Education: Beyond Technology includes a chapter, “International Education and Holistic Thinking for Engineers,” authored by Worcester Polytechnic Institute President Dennis Berkey. The book is a collection of coordinated essays by world leaders in engineering education presenting a blueprint for restructuring engineering education to address the complex challenges of the 21st century.

President Berkey’s chapter discusses the need for engineering students to have a sensibility about the world beyond their campuses and their nation for them to realize the full potential of their abilities. The chapter describes how the WPI Plan and the WPI Global Perspective Program enable students to complete one or more intensive learning projects at WPI's 26 project centers around the world. These experiences instill in WPI students an ability to interact effectively with other peoples and in other cultures; to apply their skills and knowledge across disciplinary, geographic, and political boundaries; and to enrich their development, professional and personal, in an increasingly interconnected world.

Charles Vest, president of the National Academy of Engineering and president emeritus of MIT, commented, “Holistic Engineering Education: Beyond Technology points the way to a transformation of engineering education and practice that will be sufficiently robust, flexible, and systems-oriented to meet the grand challenges of the 21st century with their ever-increasing scale, complexity, and trans-disciplinary nature."

The book was edited by Domenic Grasso, WPI Class of 1977, who is vice president for research and dean of the Graduate College at the University of Vermont, and Melody Brown Burkins, senior director of research and strategic initiatives at the University of Vermont. Two other WPI graduates made contributions. Alfred Grasso, Class of 1993 (MS in computer science), who is currently president and CEO of The MITRE Corporation in McLean, Va., co-authored a chapter titled "Holistic Systems Integration." Gary E. Wnek, Class of 1977 (BS in chemical engineering), who is faculty director and Joseph F. Toot Jr. Professor of Engineering at the Institute for Management and Engineering at Case Western Reserve University, co-authored a chapter titled "Engineering Value Propositions: Professional and Personal Needs."

Other contributors include Wanda Austin, president and CEO of The Aerospace Corporation and adjunct faculty member at the University of Southern California; Carol T. Christ, president of Smith College; Nicholas Donofrio, executive vice president emeritus and fellow at IBM Innovation and Technology; James J. Duderstadt, president emeritus and University Professor of Science and Engineering at the University of Michigan; Charla K. Wise, corporate vice president at Lockheed Martin Corporation; and Pan Yunhe, executive vice president of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and president emeritus of Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China.


March 12, 2010

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