Olin College of Engineering’s Richard Miller speaks at SUSTech
Chris Edwards | 12/14/2018

Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) welcomed President Richard K. Miller of Olin College of Engineering to campus. He gave a keynote speech on “Reshaping Engineering Education for the Innovation Economy,” at the New Engineering Education symposium being held at SUSTech. SUSTech President Chen Shiyi attended his keynote speech and welcomed President Miller to SUSTech.

President Chen Shiyi spoke about his previous visit to Olin College of Engineering, which is a student-centered, project-based university. Their faculty members have no opportunity to acquire tenure status, and there are no individual academic departments. Olin College provides students with the opportunity to create their own concentrations. Students can learn anywhere on campus, and Chen Shiyi believes that the model created by Olin College provides an important reference for innovative education reform for SUSTech.

Chen Shiyi believes that SUSTech and Olin College have a lot in common. As a young university dedicated to innovation, SUSTech has a common goal with Olin College in its reform of new engineering education. With the integration of AI, IoT and interdisciplinary technology, the talent pipeline under the traditional education model no longer meets the technical requirements of the new era. This major reform to engineering education is an opportunity to reshape undergraduate education and nurture the next generation of leading innovative talents under a ground-breaking higher education model. Chen Shiyi anticipated that President Miller’s visit would be the start of a long-term relationship with Olin College and continued development of new engineering education.

Richard Miller spoke about “Reshaping Engineering Education for the Innovation Economy.” He shared the experiences worth learning, reflecting on Olin College of Engineering’s history, development, and unique characteristics. President Miller said that Olin College aimed to be different, but also to make a significant contribution to the development of engineering education in the United States and around the world.

Richard Miller expanded on a wide range of topics. He said that today’s society is moving towards an innovative economy, and ideas are becoming more and more important. As population increases and creates new pressures on society, there is also a range of global, complex and multidisciplinary challenges. We must promote the cultivation of innovative talents by changing the educational model, thus changing the way of economic development and providing a safe, sustainable and healthy life for human beings.
Richard Miller believes that traditional higher education methods have somewhat hindered the cultivation of innovative talents. 21st-century innovators need more than just professional knowledge, and innovative talents need new forms of education. Therefore, cultivating innovative talents needs to change the role of educational objects, content, and methods. A new learning culture needs to break through traditional educational barriers. Students need to create knowledge instead of transmitting knowledge, following their interests instead of obeying instructions and need to learn at any time instead of limiting classroom learning.

Richard Miller emphasized the importance of mindset, pointing out that innovation is an interdisciplinary matter, and that 21st-century education should include knowledge, skills, and conceptual models. Richard Miller concluded that it is more important to make universities and engineering colleges to be institutions of passion, creativity, adventure, rigor, demand, and empowerment than to specify the exact requirements of the curriculum.

President Richard Miller took plenty of questions from the faculty members and students in attendance, including employment opportunities for graduates of Olin College of Engineering, evaluation methods and enrolment criteria.

Ahead of his lecture, Richard Miller received a briefing about SUSTech’s overall planning and development at the 3D campus construction planning sand table.

2018, 12-14
By Chris Edwards

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Proofread ByXia Yingying

Photo ByWang Kaiqiang

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