Boston Grand Challenge Summit

Topic: The Educational Imperatives of the Grand Challenges 

Location: Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA  

April 21, 2010

Confirmed Speakers:

Clayton Christensen
Robert and Jane Cizik Professor of Business Administration
Harvard Business School
Clayton M. Christensen is widely regarded as one of the world’s foremost experts on innovation and growth. Christensen is the bestselling author of five books, including his seminal work The Innovator's Dilemma (1997) which received the Global Business Book Award for the best business book of the year, The Innovator’s Solution (2003), and Seeing What’s Next (2004).  Recently, Christensen has focused the lens of disruptive innovation on social issues such as education and health care. Disrupting Class (2008) looks at the root causes of why schools struggle and offers solutions, while The Innovator's Prescription (2009) examines how to fix our healthcare system. Christensen is an experienced entrepreneur, having started three successful companies.  
Paul Romer
Senior Fellow
Stanford Center for International Development
Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research
Stanford University
Paul Romer is building an “economics of ideas” that extends and brings new optimism to the traditional economics of scarce objects. He is best known as the lead developer of New Growth Theory, which shows how societies can speed up the discovery and implementation of new technologies—essentially, ideas about how objects interact. However, to address the big problems we’ll face this century—violence and insecurity, harm to the environment, and global poverty—new technologies will not be enough. His current focus is on mechanisms that can speed up the discovery and implementation of new rules, norms, and laws—ideas about how people interact. For his work on the economics of ideas, Romer was named one of America’s 25 most influential people by TIME magazine (1997), elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2000), and awarded the Horst Claus Recktenwald Prize in Economics (2002). He received his PhD in economics from the University of Chicago. In addition to his career in teaching and research, Romer founded Aplia, Inc., which develops and applies technologies to improve student learning. Aplia, which is now part of Cengage Learning, grew out of Romer’s conviction that it is possible to use our understanding of the economics of ideas to raise productivity in education.

Amy B. Smith
Senior Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Amy Smith is the founder of the International Development Initiative at the MIT Edgerton Center. After graduating from MIT in mechanical engineering, she served in the US Peace Corps in Botswana and has done field work in Senegal, South Africa, Nepal, Peru, Haiti, Honduras, Ghana and Zambia. She has taught engineering design at a variety of levels, including undergraduate courses, high school enrichment programs and graduate courses in sustainable development. She won the 1999 BF Goodrich Collegiate Inventor’s Award for a phase-change incubator that operates without electricity and also won the 2000 MIT-Lemelson Student Prize for Invention. In 2001 she co-founded of the Service Learning program at MIT; she is also one of the co-founders of the MIT IDEAS Competition. In 2003 she began teaching D-Lab, a series of courses and field trips that focus on international development, appropriate technologies, and sustainable solutions for communities in developing countries. In 2004 she was selected as a MacArthur Fellow, recognizing her efforts in creating technologies to improve lives in the developing world and inspiring students to do the same.

Aneesh Paul Chopra
Chief Technology Officer and Associate Director for Technology
White House Office of Science & Technology Policy
Aneesh Chopra is the Chief Technology Officer and Associate Director for Technology in the White House Office of   Science & Technology Policy. He was sworn in on May 22nd, 2009. Prior to his appointment, he served as Secretary of Technology for the Commonwealth of Virginia from January 2006 until April 2009. He previously served as Managing Director with the Advisory Board Company, a publicly-traded healthcare think tank. Chopra was named to Government Technology magazine's Top 25 in their Doers, Dreamers, and Drivers issue in 2008. Chopra received his B.A. from The Johns Hopkins University and his M.P.P. from Harvard's Kennedy School.


Program Description:

On Wednesday, April 21, 2010, Babson College, Olin College of Engineering and Wellesley College will co-sponsor a regional summit on the Educational Imperatives of the Grand Challenges, a critical grouping of problems that must be addressed in order to maintain our quality of life and ensure a sustainable future.

This summit will bring together educators from all fields for an interdisciplinary discussion around effecting change in educational systems to respond to the needs posed by the grand challenges. These problems are inherently interdisciplinary and global, and will require unprecedented levels of holistic, systems approaches that integrate science and technology with business, economics, political science, psychology, sociology, and even religion. As a result, new educational approaches are needed that improve the integration of these disciplines and bring them to bear on important, complex problems of our time.

The success of this event requires representation of those in engineering, science, social sciences, education, business, arts and humanities, and other fields key to preparing the next generation of leaders.

More information:

For more information, please contact Joseph Hunter, Asst. VP for External Relations and Director of Communication at the Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering at 781-292-2255 or .