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NEW AEROASTRO 16-ENG DEGREE ADDRESSES GLOBAL CHALLENGES, INTERDISCIPLINARY STUDIES by David L. Darmofal and Ian A. Waitz “Studying engineering at MIT can be a gateway to many things. MIT students are interested not only Our students have made it clear: while in a disciplinary engineering degree, but also in they are eager to learn the skills and addressing broad and complex problems that affect gain the abilities of world-class engi- the world, and we can help them by making an engi- neers, many of them want to apply this neering degree more appealing and more suited to knowledge to the critical global chal- this wide range of application — while preserving lenges of our age, including energy, depth and rigor that characterize an MIT education.” transportation, climate change, and SUBRA SURESH, former dean of the MIT School of Engineering, now Director of the National Science Foundation poverty. Others are interested in studying interdisciplinary fields such as computational, engineering management, and autonomous systems that can be applied in many engineering disci- plines. The AeroAstro Department, the School of Engineering, and the MIT faculty heard them. This past April, the Institute gave AeroAstro a green light to proceed with an exciting new degree program: a flexible major option that still features our traditional aerospace engineering degrees’ rigor and technical depth, but offers a more interdisciplinary engineering education. NEW VISIONS IN ENGINEERING EDUCATION In 1997, the Aeronautics and Astronautics Department developed a strategic plan that led to broadening our vision of aerospace engineering beyond the traditional aerospace disciplines New AeroAstro 16-ENG degree addresses global challenges, interdisciplinary studies 43

AeroAstro Annual 7

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