National Academy of Engineering president emeritus to lecture at UGA

National Academy of Engineering president emeritus to lecture at UGA

Athens, Ga. – Fifty years after Sputnik, the basic premises of engineering education are under critical review. One of the foremost national proponents for “re-engineering” engineering education, William A. Wulf, will visit the UGA campus to give the 2007 Distinguished Lecture in Engineering on Wednesday, Sept. 12 at 3 p.m. in the UGA Chapel. The event is free and open to the public.

Wulf is the immediate past-president of the National Academy of Engineering. Over an eleven-year tenure in this role, he advocated for a greater diversity of disciplines, experience and gender to strengthen overall engineering creativity. He has used a series of national leadership positions in science and engineering to draw attention to the premise that democracy, especially in a hyper-technological age, depends upon an educated citizenry.

“Every person with a ‘liberal education’ needs also to be technologically literate,” Wulf has said. “Whether the issue is storage of nuclear waste, environmental remediation or privacy of information on the Internet, an informed discussion requires a level of technological literacy that is absent today.”

Integrating technological competency with a liberal arts education is the key to this effort and the connection that brings Wulf to UGA. An expert on national science policy, Wulf sees the two as necessary components to the creative solutions for today’s most pressing issues. At UGA, these ideas have led to the establishment of comprehensive engineering and an array of new degree programs designed to integrate the fundamentals of engineering within the social, political and economic context of a globally-oriented learning environment.

“William Wulf represents some of the fundamental ideas behind what we are building at UGA,” said Dale Threadgill, director of the Faculty of Engineering. “The shift in engineering education toward lifelong learning, the influence of the full spectrum of disciplines on engineering, and the holistic, business context in which design decisions are increasingly made – these are all factors shaping our program that I connect to the original thinking and advocacy of William Wulf.”

The author of more than 100 papers and technical reports, Wulf has written three books and holds two U.S. patents. A Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he returned to his faculty position at the University of Virginia at the conclusion of his tenure as president of the NAE. Wulf’s lecture is titled “Some observations on the future of engineering and engineering education.”

The UGA Faculty of Engineering was established in 2001 to advance comprehensive engineering at the University of Georgia. With more than 100 members from twenty-four departments in nine schools and colleges across campus, the Faculty of Engineering provides an entrepreneurial setting for engineering academic programs in the unique environment of UGA. For more information, visit www.engineering.uga.edu .