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Roles of Industry, Academic and Government in Addressing Competitiveness Through Education and Technology

12/01/2006 10:30 AM Tang Center/Wong
Deborah Wince-Smith, President, Council on Competitiveness; Lawrence Bacow, '72, President, Tufts University; Vernon Ehlers, U.S. Representative, Michigan; Diane Jones, Deputy, Office of Science and Technology Policy; Richard Lampman, Sr.VP for Research, Hewlett-Packard; Rick Rashid, Sr. VP for Research, Microsoft Corporation

Description: -Are we going to tinker on the edges of a system no longer operative or talk about how to design the supersonic jet of the conceptual economy's high performance learning enterprise?,” asks Deborah Wince-Smith, throwing down the gauntlet for fellow panelists. She describes our current education system as rooted in the 19th century, and failing to provide students with the tools to participate in a global, -conceptual economy.” Learning must engender innovation -- what Wince-Smith calls -I to the 5th power: the intersection of imagination, insight, ingenuity, invention and impact.” At Tufts University, says Lawrence Bacow, -We imbed engineering in liberal arts,” generating interaction between arts and sciences students and engineering faculty and students. Among liberal arts students, this fuels both technological literacy and such an interest in engineering that there's been a trend-reversing net migration from arts and sciences to engineering. -By not isolating arts and science students in an engineering ghetto, we've created a more literate engineer,” says Bacow. Richard Lampman says Hewlett Packard looks to hire -a whole person who needs to be able to interact on a broader basiswho can be an entrepreneur, work in global cross-cultural teams.” For him, the, the principal consideration in education -is how to get students capable of doing more than just solving problems -- that's table stakes. To go beyond that, they need a lot more.” To find developers for Microsoft, Rick Rashid travels increasingly to India, China and Europe. He can't meet the demand in the U.S. -for people who are mentally agile, can solve problems under pressure and can work with other people.” He's witnessing an enormous drop off in relevant graduates nationwide, with a disproportionate loss of women and minorities. -If you step back broadly and look at engineering, you can be very concerned, but look just at my area, computer science, and it's reasonable to start thinking about panicking,” says Rashid. Vernon Ehlers says his role on the panel -is to represent the ignorant people of this country” -- not the children who know they want to be engineers, but the -passionless kids” who don't get the basic principles of math and science. As someone who grew up in a town of 800 with no early college ambitions, Ehlers understands these kids. He says, -If we're serious about meeting the manpower needs of the nation, we literally have to start with preschool.” He also advises -teaching teachers to be excited about math and science, so they can convey this to their kids. Diane Jones didn't know what a Ph.D. was until college. Getting a science education was a -pretty difficult” path for her, and she learned that her field was elitist. That's one reason she counsels -looking for talent in new places,” like the community colleges where she's taught. You'll find smart kids there, she says, and it's where to head -if you really want to go after women and minorities.” She also sees engineering, especially IT, as the way up for first generation students in this country.

About the Speaker(s): Deborah L. Wince-Smith serves as corporate chair and director of several high technology companies, as well as on boards, committees, and policy councils of numerous national nonprofit organizations, including the University of Chicago Board of Governors for Argonne National Laboratory, the Council of the Woodrow Wilson Center, the University of California Review Committees for Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories, the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, the Pilgrims of the United States, and the International Women's Forum.

Wince-Smith served as the first Assistant Secretary for Technology Policy in the Department of Commerce Technology Administration from 1989 to 1993. During the Reagan Administration, Wince-Smith served as the Assistant Director for International Affairs and Competitiveness in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. As a Program Manager at the National Science Foundation from 1976-1984, she managed U.S. research programs with Eastern European countries and U.S. universities.

Wince-Smith graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Magna cum Laude from Vassar College and received her master's degree from King's College, Cambridge University.

Host(s): Office of the Provost, iCampus

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MIT World — special events and lectures

MIT World — special events and lectures

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