Charles Vest

Charles Vest

Some exciting news – Charles M. Vest will be giving the Rustum Roy Lecture at the ACerS annual meeting. His talk is tentatively titled, “Engineering Education and the Challenges of the 21st Century”and is scheduled for Oct. 25, 2009 in Pittsburgh. (The ACerS annual meeting is held in conjunction with MS&T’09.)

The president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1990 through 2004, Vest is known for having placed special emphasis on enhancing undergraduate education, exploring new organizational forms to meet emerging directions in research and education, building a stronger international dimension into education and research programs, developing stronger relations with industry and enhancing racial and cultural diversity at MIT. He chaired the President’s Advisory Committee on the Redesign of the Space Station and serves on the President’s Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology. He chaired the Department of Energy Task force on the Future of DOE Science Programs, was vice chair of the Council on Competitiveness for eight years. He has been nominated to serve as president of the National Academy of Engineering for the period of 2006-2012.

His viewpoint on education extends beyond MIT. Vest is a past chair of the Association of American Universities and a member of the Secretary of Education’s Commission on the Future of Higher Education.

Vest says this about his lecture topic (from the abstract):

This is the most exciting time for engineering and science in human history. A new generation of engineers will be inspired by the great human challenges of this century. Globalization and the changing nature of science and technology are driving change and opportunity in higher education, R&D, and innovation. R&D spending is smeared nearly uniformly around the world, and new players are rapidly emerging. Higher Education is globalizing in both planned and unplanned ways, enabled by information technology and driven by economic and social change. Our innovation system may be due for another major transformation. Do our universities have new responsibilities? Can we pull it off?

Vest’s talk is an honorary annual lecture organized by ACerS. The lecture’s namesake, Rustum Roy, is a professor at Pennsylvania State University, and the Society established the lecture series to recognize Roy’s contributions to science and technology, and their interrelationship to society-at-large. The lecture is given annually by an internationally or nationally recognized individual in the area of science, industry or government whom is selected by a special ACerS committee. The lecture is open to the public and no meeting registration is required to attend.