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10-31-2011

Top MIT Administrator to Speak at Clarkson University on Engineering Challenges of Next Two Decades

[A photograph for media use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/wharris.jpg .]

Clarkson University’s Wallace H. Coulter School of Engineering has announced that the associate provost for faculty equity at MIT will speak next week about the challenges facing engineering in this decade and the next.

Wesley L. HarrisWesley L. Harris, who is also the Charles Stark Draper Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the director of the Lean Sustainment Initiative at MIT, will speak on “Grand Challenges for Engineering and Beyond” on Friday, November 11, at 3:30 p.m. in Clarkson’s Bertrand H. Snell Hall Room 213. Refreshments will precede the lecture at 3 p.m.

Harris is the fourth speaker in the New Horizons in Engineering Distinguished Lectureship Series, which is dedicated to improving the understanding of important issues facing engineering and society in the 21st century.

Harris will discuss the 14 National Academy of Engineering grand challenges for engineering within the 2010-2030 time frame. Following a review of the major accomplishments of engineering in the 20th century, he will focus on the risks and rewards of making advances toward goals of the new challenges.

In his presentation, Harris will outline the requirement for human/educational and fiscal capital in an integrative, flexible framework, given the environment of a global, knowledge-based economy and a major shift in U.S. federal support for basic research. He will also discuss a useful role for U.S. engineering schools, as an enabler in obtaining the goals of the Grand Challenges for Engineering.

Before his appointment as associate provost, Harris served as head of MIT's Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics. His research focuses on theoretical and experimental unsteady aerodynamics and aeroacoustics, computational fluid dynamics, hemodynamics, and the impact of government policy on procurement of high technology systems.

Prior to this, Harris was the associate administrator for aeronautics at NASA and the vice president and chief administrative officer of the University of Tennessee Space Institute.

He has served on committees of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), the American Helicopter Society (AHS), and the National Technical Association (NTA). He has also been an advisor to eight colleges, universities, and institutes, and has served as chair and member of various boards and committees of the National Research Council (NRC), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the U.S. Army Science Board, and several state governments.

Harris is a member of the National Academy of Engineering division of engineering and physical sciences committee, its advisory committee on grand challenges in engineering, and its committee on engineering education.

He earned a bachelor of science degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Virginia in 1964. Harris received a master of science in 1966 and a Ph.D. in 1968, both in aerospace and mechanical sciences, from Princeton University.

He is an elected Fellow of the AIAA and of the AHS for engineering achievements, engineering education, engineering management, and advancing cultural diversity.

Harris was the first African-American elected to membership in the Jefferson Literary & Debating Society at the University of Virginia. He also has been recognized by election to membership in the National Academy of Engineering, the Cosmos Club, and the Confrerie des Chavaliers du Tastevin.

Read more about the in the New Horizons in Engineering Distinguished Lectureship Series at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/2010/news-release_2010-08-20-3.html.

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and health sciences, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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