Saturday, May 29, 2004

Ivy League human league

Congratulations to the Princeton University School of Engineering and Applied Science. Sounds like you're helping to engineer a better world for my kids. (They'll be eligible for any scholarships you might have to offer in five, eight and 18 years, respectively.)

    princeton The Princeton University School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS) today announced its new strategic plan, describing a bold agenda for reshaping engineering teaching and research to better address the needs of society.

    Recognizing the profound effect that technology has on nearly every aspect of life, the Princeton vision for engineering calls for greater integration between the traditional pursuit of technological innovation and broader considerations of public policy and social, economic and environmental concerns. The plan builds on the core strengths of the engineering school while fostering a greater interplay between scientific disciplines and a closer connection with the rest of the University and its strengths in the humanities and social sciences.

    "Our vision is to create a school of engineering that will meet the needs of the world today and for the coming decades in a way that would be hard for any other school of engineering to achieve," said Maria Klawe, dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science. Klawe gave the first public presentation of the plan, titled "Engineering for a Better World: The Princeton Vision," (PDF, 1.2MB) to Princeton alumni on May 28.

    "We have much to be proud of at SEAS," said President Shirley M. Tilghman. "Now is the time to build on our past success to lead engineering research and teaching for the 21st century. This is one of the top priorities for Princeton."

    The vision statement, available online at, grew out of a year-long strategic planning process that involved more than 750 faculty members, students and staff as well as alumni and leaders from other institutions and industry. The school held 11 workshops on topics ranging from issues of graduate and undergraduate education to specific research areas such as nanotechnology and information technology. The resulting plan was presented to Tilghman, the Board of Trustees and the faculty earlier this year.

    A common theme of the strategic planning process was the need for a multidisciplinary approach to solving problems. The most challenging problems demand not only a variety of technical expertise, but also a range of non-technical perspectives, said Klawe. "If you want to have an impact on the world, you have to understand policy and commerce and economic implications," she said. "You have to understand human beings." Read the rest here.

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