"Rose-Hulman can help students develop a broadened perspective
of what all they can do with their engineer training earlier
in life," says Elizabeth Hagerman (CHE, 2000), Ph.D., Vice
President for Rose-Hulman Ventures. "We can give students a better
look into their possible future choices and help them better
see the opportunities that exist."
Young people interested in business or military
leadership, law, medicine, entrepreneurship, or academia
rarely see engineering as the best path to achieve these
objectives, and yet, our alumni routinely follow these career
paths and find their engineering degree was invaluable
training to pave their way.
In addition to providing insight into
professional choices, The "Great" Debate discussions centered
on how to maintain a focus on science, engineering, and
mathematics fundamentals while also providing success skills
such as leadership and communication.
"The 'Great' Debate started broadly looking at
our core values. Then, as we got further into it, we asked
participants what qualities our graduates need and how we can
do a better job of meeting these needs," says Sam Peffers, who
as Director of Planning had a unique vantage point in the
process since he attended all The "Great" Debate sessions
and served as the recorder and processor of all the collected
"Some common themes emerged at each site
discussion: business acumen, entrepreneurship, a global
mindset," Peffers continues. "Many individuals referenced the
complex nature of the current professional environment. This
concept really clicked with our participants. If there is one
priority, it would be how to help our graduates deal with
Trustee William Schindel (MA,1969), an
international expert on complex systems, agrees, "Our
graduates face a world filled with ever increasing complexity
and multi-disciplinary systems. This increase in complexity is
changing everything from manufacturing and business processes
to professional organizations, communities, institutions, and
even daily life."
He continues, "There is a specific framework of
competencies to organize and deal with complexity. I feel the
teaching of this framework is missing in higher education.
This presents an opportunity to competitively differentiate
our future graduates and our school. Rose-Hulman is uniquely
prepared to fill this need and to make our brand of education
even more distinctive."
Jeffrey Burgan (CHE, 1977), attorney with Leydig,
Voit & Mayer, Ltd., says a strategy that resonated with
him was to provide more international experience and
preparation. "Our graduates will deal with people from around
the world whether they go to work for a Fortune 100, or a
small company, or start their own business," says Burgan,
who just finished his term as alumni representative to the
board of trustees.