Engineering Speaker Series: Don Giddens
(College of Engineering)
Don Giddens, Dean Emeritus and Professor, Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University
"Engineering Education in a Rapidly Changing World: How Can We Stay Ahead?"
Higher education is "under fire" today, and the issues are many: falling state support; rising costs in tuition; poor retention and graduation rates; relevance of the education provided; keeping pace with technology; and diversity among students and faculty are visible examples. Only a small fraction of graduating high school students enter engineering programs, and diversity in our engineering student population and faculty ranks is poor. Many students who do enter engineering programs transfer out within the first year or two. Technology presents both opportunities for improvement and challenges for traditional paradigms of teaching and learning. How do engineering educators keep pace with changes, much less stay ahead of the curve? Because engineering education is closely connected with advancing technology and economic development, our community has special opportunities and challenges. Interestingly, there are underlying principles upon which to rely - these might even be called "axioms" - that form a basis for adapting engineering education to a rapidly changing world. The presentation will highlight several of these axioms and suggest hypotheses and experiments that can be tested, both within and outside current academic constraints.
Dean Emeritus Giddens received all his degrees (BAE 1963, MSAE 1965, and Ph.D. 1966) from Georgia Tech and joined the Tech faculty in 1968, after two years in the aerospace industry. In 1992 he left his position as the Chair of Aerospace Engineering to serve as the Dean of the Whiting School of Engineering and Professor of Mechanical Engineering at The Johns Hopkins University until 1997. In 1997, Giddens rejoined Georgia Tech to establish the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering, a joint department between Georgia Tech's College of Engineering and Emory University's School of Medicine. He served as the founding Chair until July 2002, when he became the Dean of the College of Engineering. He formally retired on July 1, 2011, but continues his research in cardiovascular biomechanics as a part time faculty member.
Dr. Giddens is a member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and currently is Immediate Past Chair of NAE Section 2, Bioengineering. He is a Past President of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) and a Fellow of ASEE, the Biomedical Engineering Society, the American Heart Association, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a founding Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. He received the H.R. Lissner Award from ASME in 1993 and was the ASME Thurston Lecturer in 1996. Giddens has served in a variety of professional activities involving engineering education and biomedical research. He is the author of over 300 publications, book chapters and presentations, and continues an active research program in biomedical engineering. Dean Giddens chaired an NAE project that developed a 2008 report, "Changing the Conversation: Messages for Improving the Public Understanding of Engineering." In his role as President of ASEE in 2011-12, Giddens continued to be active in various issues associated with engineering education and diversity in engineering.
Reception: 5 pm, Rady Room (601 NH)