Engineers Embark on a Mission to Bring Humanity to the Field of Engineering

David E. Goldberg, President of Big Beacon and emeritus professor of engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Mark Somerville, professor of engineering and associate dean at Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering, – are two men on a daring mission. Their goal is to transform the entire world of engineering. Their objective is simple – they aim at humanizing the engineering profession.

Their new book, A Whole New Engineer: The Coming Revolution in Engineering Education, rocks the world of staid stereotypes people have toward engineers and engineering schools. In place of the Dilbert-like, technically narrow, socially inept nerd educated in a process that is a cross between a math-science death march and a fraternity hazing, Goldberg & Somerville imagine a whole new engineer, a whole new engineering education, and a practical process to achieve them both.

Their new vision of engineering is one where students and professionals are encouraged to follow their passions, work on real projects in teams, focus on solving the compelling needs of people and society (not just the technical problems), develop an entrepreneurial mindset to take risks and get things done, and work harder and have more fun than they ever thought possible – awakening their sense of purpose and intrinsic motivation to learn.

This is not just fantasy talk about engineers having feelings. Goldberg and Somerville have made it happen. This is the story about how they placed love, empathy and caring at the very foundation of education reform at two different schools, Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering, an award-winning upstart college in Needham, MA, and the University of Illinois, a research powerhouse that had every reason to resist change and preserve the status quo.

“Times have changed,” says Goldberg. “The needs of society have evolved. The obedient engineer of the 1950’s has been replaced by a quest for the next Steve Jobs. To find her or him, joy is replacing fear, trust is replacing suspicion, and courage and initiative are replacing passive obedience to authority. And these trends require that we change both how we educate and how we engineer.”

Goldberg and Somerville have created a clear, concise, easy to understand, and ready-to-deploy roadmap to change that defines how to go from the stultifying kind of engineering education currently in place to an entirely new learning environment which is inspiring to those who become, educate, or employ engineers and those who rely on great engineering work for their survival, livelihood, and quality of life.

For more information, visit

Posted by on Dec 1st, 2014 and filed under Literature & Electronic. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed