Gordon-MIT Engineering Leadership Program
Director of Research
William A. Lucas is participating in the design, collection and analysis of data to gain a better understanding of the processes of education development of engineering leadership for the Gordon program, and the related evaluation of the Project Centered Learning freshman courses and other programs at MIT. He is also engaged in the assessment of the Kauffman Campus Initiative, studying a $25 million effort to transform university campus cultures to support entrepreneurship; and conducting evaluation research for the University of Edinburgh to inform education program design and national policies that are fostering the emergence of new, high technology companies in informatics to strengthen the Scottish economy.
Much of his current research began while he was first Deputy Director, and then Executive Director, of the Cambridge — MIT Institute, a $140 million, eight year partnership between the University of Cambridge and MIT, bringing together leading researchers at Cambridge University and MIT, and launching new educational programs. While CMI was closed in 2008, he continues his work with the Education and High Growth (EHGI) group in Britain, conducting research on the cognitive processes of nascent entrepreneurship, formal models of self-efficacy and career intention in engineering and entrepreneurship. He is also continuing his research on technology management including the identification of best practices for companies contracting for university research.
Dr. Lucas began his career as Assistant Professor of Political Science at the State University of New York at Buffalo, and then Director of the Political Science Program at the U.S. National Science Foundation. He joined The Rand Corporation to conduct research on the effectiveness of various Federal programs and applications of new communications systems, and later led a four year field experiment using two-way. interactive cable television to offer education programs.
He was then appointed Associate Administrator of the US National Telecommunications and Information Administration, serving as senior Federal official for communications applications in the public sector. His programs included the most successful minority enterprise program in the Administration, doubling the number of minority-owned broadcasting outlets, and he chaired an Inter-Agency Committee that worked with the Appalachian Regional Commission and NASA to use an experimental communications satellite to provide educational programming to that region. That initiative with further support became The Learning Channel, carrying educational programming to 50 million U.S. homes at no cost to the U.S. taxpayer.
In the private sector he has been an executive in three venture capital start-ups and a management acquisition and turn-around of a telecommunications equipment company. In his last company, he was the founder and president of a start-up firm offering e-mail directory services and products. He left industry to be Visiting Professor of Public Administration and Management at George Washington University, before he joined MIT as Executive Director of the International Center for Research on the Management of Technology in the Sloan School of Management.
He holds a B.S. in physics from N.C. State University and a Ph.D. in political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His primary teaching fields are the management of innovation and applied research methods in the social sciences.