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Roos heads new engineering division

Professor Daniel Roos of civil and environmental engineering has been named as the first head of the Engineering Systems Division (ESD), a newly formed division within the School of Engineering.

The interdisciplinary division, modeled after the recently established Division of Bioengineering and Environmental Health, was described at the October 21 faculty meeting by Professors Roos and John B. Vander Sande, acting dean of engineering. Professor Roos is also associate dean for engineering systems and the Japan Steel Industry Professor of Engineering.

"The ESD will establish engineering systems as a field of study that focuses on complex systems and products in which technology is considered in a broader context as a part of a larger whole," Professor Roos said last week. "In addition to developing academic programs in engineering systems at MIT to educate future leaders, ESD will serve as a model to broaden engineering education generally and expand the scope of the practice of engineering. ESD will also develop innovative working relationships with industry and government in educational, research and outreach activities."

Initially, the ESD will focus on five master's-level programs that now serve more than 400 students a year. These graduate programs will involve the School of Engineering, as well as the Sloan School of Management, and the Schools of Humanities and Social Science, and Architecture and Urban Planning.

In addition, the new division will focus on research oriented toward engineering systems to be carried out in current MIT departments, centers and laboratories. ESD will provide overall direction in the systems area, including review of promotion and tenure cases. It will have both so-called "two-key" faculty&emdash;those whose appointments are divided equally between ESD and some other unit&emdash;and a number of faculty with joint appointments. ESD will have "porous boundaries," interacting with other components of the School of Engineering and also outside the School.

Research centers and academic programs which are part of ESD are: the Center for Transportation Studies; the Center for Technology, Policy, and Industrial Development; Leaders for Manufacturing; the Center for Innovation in Product Development; the Industrial Performance Center; the System Design and Management Program; the Master of Science in Transportation; the Master of Engineering in Logistic; and the Technology and Policy Program.

"Since system complexity, globalization and the rate of technological change will only increase in the 21st century, we need to prepare MIT students for leadership positions in the design of engineering systems that best serve society's needs," said Professor Vander Sande. "Among the goals of ESD is to develop an engineering paradigm, in collaboration with the interested departments and Schools at MIT, that reflects the integrative aspects of engineering, complements the traditional science approach, and allows students to better understand complex engineering systems."

Professor Roos (SB 1961, SM, PhD) has headed several other programs at MIT in the past, including the Center for Technology, Policy and Industrial Development (1985-97); the International Motor Vehicle Program (1985-98); the Technology, Management and Policy Program (1992-97); and the Center for Transportation Studies (1978-85). He is currently director of the Cooperative Mobility Research Program, a post he assumed in 1995, and is co-director of the Ford/MIT Collaboration.

Professor Roos joined the faculty in 1966 as an assistant professor, obtaining promotion to associate professor in 1970 and full professor in 1976. He received the 1989 Frank M. Masters transportation Engineering Award from the American Society of Civil Engineers "for his 25-year professional career in directing a series of highly innovative research projects of great relevance in the advancement of urban transportation." He is co-author of The Machine That Changed the World (HarperCollins, 1990), which has sold more than 400,000 copies in 11 languages.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on December 16, 1998.

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