|Imagine a typical day in the life of a current Rose-Hulman student: It’s midday, and you’ve just finished a microcontrollersbased systems class and are ready to grab some lunch. As you near the cafeteria, you hear one of Frédéric Chopin’s nocturnes emanating from a baby grand—a fellow engineering student at the piano’s keyboard, playing for the sheer joy of it. On the way to your afternoon class, you stop to admire a work of Hadley pottery or the new photo exhibit on the walls of Moench Hall. And you realize … this is not your average engineering school.
Of course, as alumni, you already knew that. But if you haven’t been back in a while, you might be surprised at the many creative outlets that flourish across campus. It’s inspiring and invigorating, and it’s absolutely no accident. We believe that delivering the most engaging instruction in engineering, mathematics, and other scientific disciplines
|is not enough. We’re committed to sending our graduates into the world infused with a creative spark that will set them apart from their peers and resonate through both their careers and their personal lives.
We believe in developing the well-rounded engineer, and it’s an approach that’s a bit unique among institutions
such as ours. That focus on creativity begins in the classroom and blossoms throughout the Rose-Hulman
experience. We’ve long aimed to provide what we view as a special brand of engineering education—that is, a solid technical foundation enriched by a healthy focus on creativity, curiosity, and the humanities and social sciences.
Creativity Can Be Learned in Many Ways
As we’ve outlined in the goals of our Strategic Plan 2013-2018, we believe that exposing Rose-Hulman students to a diverse range of information sources will nurture creative sensibilities that are vital for technological problem solving.
Creativity also thrives within the major-specific coursework all of our students take. Our instructional methods stress hands-on and project-based learning—flexing the creative muscle in our students’ minds. Our professors are among the best anywhere when it comes to imparting their knowledge in creative ways—ways that don’t simply transfer information but really help
students flip the switch of those light bulbs in their brains.
|project teams to lend their imaginations and talents to real-world client companies. Where else can an undergraduate engineering student have a chance to help develop technology used in brain surgery or mobility innovations for the disabled?
An Environment That Inspires
We place these many valuable opportunities within an environment that itself encourages creativity with beautiful spaces of architectural significance, punctuated by visual artworks. Rose-Hulman maintains an extensive art collection, and our art curator rotates works among our buildings and offices so that students, faculty, and staff are exposed to a wide variety of art
Our Students are Stars Outside the Classroom, Too
There’s no question that our curriculum is challenging. Even so, we believe extracurricular activities are just as important as the basic core, and we strive to ensure that all students have opportunities to branch out. The results are unlike what many might expect to find on an engineering campus.
For example, although we don’t have music or theater departments, our students truly shine in these creative worlds. At last spring’s drama club production of The Phantom of the Opera, I was both proud and astounded to imagine that the talented singers and performers on the stage that night are likely to be involved in tomorrow’s technological breakthroughs. If you haven’t seen these performers at work, you would be amazed by the level of talent. (Not to mention the engineering prowess showcased in the set designs!)
Sparking Creativity Through Challenges
Creativity and technological innovation intersect when our students become involved in competitive team events, such
as robotics challenges and the U.S. Department of Energy’s EcoCAR engineering challenge. That’s why we strongly support student involvement in such activities—they allow our learners to develop and gain confidence in their creativity.
Life-changing creative experiences also happen frequently at Rose-Hulman Ventures, where student interns join
|wherever they go. Why are the workspaces at many technology companies packed with thought-provoking art and imagery? Because these employers know that’s how to build an environment that nourishes creativity—and creativity is what drives innovation.
Our learning environment is more than just a pretty place, though. Our newest classrooms are designed for “teaming,” equipped to bring inquisitive minds together with one another and with their professors, to create and learn collectively. And, we’re using concepts such as the “flipped classroom” to transform learning experiences, so professors can inspire, not just lecture.
(See related article on pages 18-19.)
What Our Students Really Gain
Why do we work so hard to foster creativity at Rose-Hulman? Because in the end, the most important thing we’re teaching them is how to create. Whatever their discipline, when they leave here they’ll be called upon to problem-solve, to innovate, and to find new ways of doing things that are important to society.
Engineering? Mathematics? Chemistry? Computer science? These are simply the tools they’ll use in their creative works. You already know how great we are at teaching outstanding learners how to use these tools. But what really makes Rose-Hulman stand apart is how we inspire these brilliant minds to pick up these tools and truly create the future.