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Vol. 3, No. 2, March 2006

Welcome to Engineering Our World, the MIT School of Engineering's free bulletin for alumni and friends. Updated six times yearly, Engineering Our World describes some of the work we're doing at the leading edge of technological change, providing news and articles of the School's major initiatives.Past Issues

At the Forefront of Engineering Education:
New Degree Programs at MIT

by Dean Thomas L. Magnanti

The extent we are constantly innovating in engineering education at MIT often surprises people.

  • While 40% of all bachelor's degrees in China today are in engineering, only about 5% of those in the U.S. are. (In fact, as a nation, we graduate 50% more M.B.A.s than S.B.s in engineering.)
  • In terms of engineering bachelor's degrees per capita, we grant only 75% as many degrees as a country as we did in 1985.
  • One-half of students intending to major in science and engineering in this country drop out of those majors after their freshman year of college, according to a National Academy of Engineering study.

These sobering statistics have stimulated a national self-examination of educational programs that prepare young people for careers in engineering, science, and technology. Many people are voicing their concerns about this topic of critical importance to our future. I am privileged to have had opportunities to speak about this topic and to highlight some MIT School of Engineering successes: I testified before Congress last May and more recently before the Secretary of Education's Commission on the Future of Higher Education. I encourage you to read more about and become involved in the national discourse and planning for improving math and science education.

There are many ways MIT continues to contribute to the national dialogue. In particular, we are helping to stimulate increasing interest in engineering through our pioneering research and our ongoing development of exciting new educational programs. In this context, I would like to share with you a bit about what's happening at MIT in the educational arena. I am unabashedly proud of the enormous educational innovation we've undertaken in recent years. As I've mentioned before [see "Educational Innovation: Pioneering New Paths Then, Now and in the Future"], without a doubt, we are involved in the most exciting time in education in my 35 years as a faculty member at MIT. I think you'll understand and share my exuberance as I list here the many initiatives we've undertaken and describe several new programs we've launched recently.

MIT: An Engine of Educational Innovation . . .