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In Charlie's Vision: The Future of Engineering at MIT

04/21/2005 4:00 PM Bartos
James A. Champy, '63, SM '65, Chairman of Consulting Perot Systems Corporation; Life Member, MIT Corporation

Description: James Champy finds much to admire at MIT. But as a seasoned insider, and as a successful entrepreneur, business writer and consultant, he thinks the Institute could use some serious shaking up. As rationale for an MIT redesign, Champy points to increased competition from other universities, here and abroad; new fields opening up in science; the need to accomplish more and innovate with fewer resources; and the pressures of globalization. To maintain its strength, says Champy, MIT must pursue a number of "principles." In terms of education, he suggests MIT balance teaching the practical with the unusual; regularly rethink course content with an eye to evolving science and technology; and most dramatically, consider creation of an undergraduate core engineering program, one that is five years or longer, "to produce engineers who can be fundamentally different in some way." He envisions that MIT's will become "the standard for the profession." Research should "identify problems that are big and important," which move ideas and people across schools, enabling collaboration. Says Champy, "MIT must always remain a meritocracy," in order to promote substantive change. He also wants MIT to aim students at key decision-making jobs, teach them how to analyze flaws in smart organizations, and to give entrepreneurial students "a sense of higher purpose," like modern-day Andrew Carnegies.

About the Speaker(s): James A. Champy is an authority on the management issues surrounding business reengineering and organizational change. Prior to joining Perot Systems, Champy was chairman and CEO of CSC Index, the management consulting arm of Computer Science Corporation. He was one of the original founders of Index, a $200-million consulting practice that was acquired by CSC in 1988. Champy has also authored such well-received books as Reengineering the Corporation: A Manifesto for Business Revolution, which sold more than 2,500,000 copies and spent more than a year on The New York Times bestseller list. His articles appear in major newspapers and magazines throughout the world. Champy earned his B.S. and his M.S. in civil engineering from MIT, and his J.D. from Boston College Law School. Champy serves on the board of Analog Devices, Inc., on MIT's Board of Trustees, and on the Board of Overseers of the Boston College Law School.

Host(s): School of Engineering, Engineering Systems Division

Tape #: T19893.

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