Dartmouth Part of National Engineering Education Initiative Announced at White House Today

March 23, 2015

Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth is among more than 120 US engineering schools leading a transformative movement in engineering education announced at the White House today. In a letter presented to President Barack Obama, Dartmouth and peer institutions committed to expand their educational offerings to prepare undergraduates to solve "Grand Challenges"—complex yet achievable goals to improve national and international health, security, sustainability and quality of life in the 21st century. Together, the schools plan to graduate more than 20,000 formally recognized "Grand Challenge Engineers" over the next decade.

Dartmouth plans to build on its long history of project-based learning to produce graduates prepared to be engineering leaders developing solutions to Grand Challenge problems. Specifically, Dartmouth will ensure that students in the Grand Challenges program have expertise in at least one of the key program elements, and exposure or experience in all five:

  1. Creative learning experience connected to Grand Challenges
  2. Authentic interdisciplinary experiential learning with clients and mentors
  3. Entrepreneurship and innovation experience
  4. Global and cross-cultural perspective
  5. Social consciousness through service learning

For details about the initiative, see National Academy of Engineering release, "US Engineering Schools to Educate 20,000 Students to Meet Grand Challenges."

Joseph Helble, Dean and Professor of Engineering, is available for interviews regarding Dartmouth's role in the initiative:

"The Grand Challenges initiative builds on long-standing strengths of engineering at Dartmouth: project-based learning, engineering as part of a liberal arts education—what we sometimes call "liberal engineering," and an emphasis on innovation and entrepreneurship, for which we are among the national per capita leaders," says Helble. "It is exactly this combination that resulted in Thayer being recognized with the Gordon Prize for educational innovation by the National Academy of Engineering in 2014. As a next step, we are committed to this national initiative to produce more engineering leaders able to address some of the world's most challenging problems in energy, healthcare, and other areas of need."