most of the work in student teams.
They since expanded to five degrees
(computer science, software and game
development, information systems,
technology management, and Web design and development) all based in the
same set of principles and methods.
The students say the experience is intense and the connection to industry
mentors extremely worthwhile.
These three examples demonstrate
that “new engineer” principles can
flourish in protected settings. The students have been enthusiastic about
The New Engineer Principles
A Whole New Engineer gathers the New
Engineer principles in use at iFoundry
and Olin into one place. It gives solid
justification based on education history about the pedigree of each principle.
The principles are:
˲ Become competent at engineering
practices and technologies.
˲Demonstrate competent performance in solving engineering problems, not in taking tests and quizzes.
˲ Become competent at using language for effective coordination and
acts, disclosing, and listening deeply
for concerns in individuals and their
˲ Learn to be a designer—someone
who can propose combinations of existing components and technologies to
take care of real concerns.
˲Learn to be an entrepreneur—
someone who can help a community
transform their practices to generate a
better life for them.
˲ Learn how innovation works and
how to detect and navigate the waves of
˲ Appeal to each student’s intrinsic
motivation, the sense that they can “in-
vent it for themselves.”
Goldberg and Somerville character-
ize the skill set of the new whole engi-
neer as six minds:
˲ Analytical. Ability to rigorously
analyze problems and apply scientific
and mathematical principles to their
˲ Design. Ability to imagine what does
not exist, make unexpected connections, and propose new combinations
of components that solve problems.
˲ Linguistic. Ability to use language
enormously appealing to students and
In 1999, a small team founded the
Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering (see http://www.olin.edu) and designed it from the ground up. They
wanted to graduate engineering innovators who would be leaders in solving
pressing global challenges. They wanted their engineers to be client-centered
and capable of developing systems that
make people’s lives better. They wanted students to learn through hands-on projects, find their own voices, and
work on teams in partnership with the
faculty. Olin’s students absolutely love
their school. In just a dozen years, Olin
has achieved numerous high rankings
in various education surveys and is
now much sought-after by other engineering schools trying to rethink their
In 2007, a small team at the University of Illinois decided to transform
their experiments, begun a decade earlier, into an incubator for new educational approaches in engineering. They
called their project iFoundry or the Illinois Foundry for Innovation in Engineering Education (see http://www.
ifoundry.illinois.edu). Their earlier
classroom experiments demonstrated
the effectiveness of student-led teams
in promoting student engagement.
Five departments joined the incubator.
Drawing on reports about “Engineers
of 2020” and their own experiences
with students, they formed a vision of
a new engineer. In 2008, they signed a
partnership with Olin College to share
educational methods and insights. As
at Olin, their students became wildly
enthusiastic about learning engineering in the new way.
In 2003, a group from Northface
University (now called Neumont University, neumont.edu) in Salt Lake City,
UT, asked me to help them with an idea
they had been working on for several
years. They were designing a software
engineering degree from the ground
up and were convinced the principles
of “Educating a New Engineer” would
attract students and industry and
would be accreditable. I helped them
design a three-year project-based software engineering curriculum that used
methods like the modern “flipped
classroom,” minimized lecture classes, involved industry mentors, and did
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