New Book Spotlights WPI's Revolutionary Approach

'Shaping Our World: Engineering Education for the 21st Century' is Designed to Guide Engineering Educators to New Approaches for Success
December 02, 2011

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A new book, Shaping Our World: Engineering Education for the 21st Century, examines WPI's pioneering project-based approach to engineering education. Many studies have been carried out during the last two decades about the needs in engineering education; many of these studies have focused on identifying the problem and articulating the general needs, rather than outlining specific proposals on how to educate the engineer of the 21st Century. The book was designed to serve as a teaching tool or a user’s manual for engineering educators. Written by WPI faculty and alumni, and featuring a chapter by WPI President and CEO Dennis Berkey, the book describes the university’s innovative approach to technological teaching, which has been successfully teaching students and evolving over the past 40 years.

Edited by Diran Apelian, Howmet Professor of Engineering and Director of the Metal Processing Institute at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) and Grétar Tryggvason, former Department Head of Mechanical Engineering at WPI, the book addresses the considerable number of studies, reports, and books from the past twenty years that point to the shortcomings of engineering education.

"Engineering education, in general, has not changed much in the last few decades, though the world has changed dramatically," said Apelian. "Shaping Our World: Engineering Education for the 21st Century goes beyond just identifying the problem; this book actually provides solutions for how best to educate the engineer of the 21st Century. It represents the belief that through a holistic education, we will ensure the development of the next generation of successful global leaders and engineers."

According to Wiley publishing, "Engineering education is currently on the verge of a major transformation. However, while the need has been much discussed and several proposals for change have been put forward, relatively little focus has been put on actual implementation of the proposed changes. This book seeks to fill this void, exploring revolutionary approaches to the current engineering curriculum that will bring it fully up to date and prepare the next generation would-be engineers for real and lasting professional success."

Shaping Our World: Engineering Education for the 21st Century is composed of 14 chapters and is divided into three parts: "The Need and Context," "Effective Practices" and "Outcomes and Implications." Altogether, the book addresses the need for change, provides specific innovations that have proven to work, and gives context to the implications of change.