In Charlie’s Vision: The Future of Engineering at MIT

author: James A. Champy, Perot Systems Corporation
published: Jan. 6, 2014,   recorded: April 2005,   views: 6
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James Champy finds much to admire at MIT. But as a seasoned insider, and as a successful entrepreneur, business writer and consultant, he thinks the Institute could use some serious shaking up. As rationale for an MIT redesign, Champy points to increased competition from other universities, here and abroad; new fields opening up in science; the need to accomplish more and innovate with fewer resources; and the pressures of globalization. To maintain its strength, says Champy, MIT must pursue a number of “principles.” In terms of education, he suggests MIT balance teaching the practical with the unusual; regularly rethink course content with an eye to evolving science and technology; and most dramatically, consider creation of an undergraduate core engineering program, one that is five years or longer, “to produce engineers who can be fundamentally different in some way.” He envisions that MIT’s will become “the standard for the profession.” Research should “identify problems that are big and important,” which move ideas and people across schools, enabling collaboration. Says Champy, “MIT must always remain a meritocracy,” in order to promote substantive change. He also wants MIT to aim students at key decision-making jobs, teach them how to analyze flaws in smart organizations, and to give entrepreneurial students “a sense of higher purpose,” like modern-day Andrew Carnegies.

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