Q&A with Oklahoma State University President Burns Hargis
Q: How can we inspire the next generation of innovative engineers?
A: By continuing to demostrate that engineering matters to society. Tackling problems and making a difference have always motivated engineers. Engineers will lead the way as we address some of our planet’s most critical needs, such as safe and clean water, alternative and clean energy, human health and security, sustainability, computing power and capabilities, and the list goes on. Educators must provide young engineers the environment, hands-on experience, real-world opportunities, resources, and support that will allow imagination and collaboration to flourish.
Q: How can universities ensure that the engineers entering the job market have the right skills and abilities for solving 21st– century challenges?
A: OSU is one of the many colleges of engineering that has adopted the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) Grand Challenges vision. We are looking 10 years into the future by preparing teams of multidisciplinary engineers who collaborate and communicate across a wide spectrum of technologies to develop the next generation of sustainable societal priorities.
Q: What is engineering’s role in keeping America competitive in the global economy?
A: American engineers are at the core of innovation and competitiveness, ensuring our nation is a driver for the global economy. U.S. companies have always been world leaders in improving processes and using information to advance the value of American products and services. In fact, engineering is the driving force behind more than 80 of the top 100 American companies. This ability to move society forward is the element that makes American engineering integral to our economy.
This Q&A first appeared in the January edition of the National Engineering Forum newsletter.