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The Annual Charles L. Miller Lecture

The Research University in the Digital Age

By Lawrence S. Bacow
President Emeritus of Tufts University
Former MIT Chancellor

Online learning threatens to revolutionize undergraduate education. Many predict that the lecture will cease to exist as faculty "flip their classrooms." As online education improves, colleges and universities will be under increasing pressure to justify the value added by the residential experience. What are the consequences of all of this for the research university? Undergraduate and graduate education are, after all, joint products. How will graduate education and the research function change in response to developments in online undergraduate education?

About Lawrence S. Bacow:
Lawrence BacowPresident Emeritus Lawrence S. Bacow served as the twelfth president of Tufts University from September 2001 through July 2011. During his ten years as president, he advanced the university's role as a leader in teaching, research, and public service. Within Tufts, he championed academic excellence and placed a premium on open communication and close engagement with students, faculty, staff, and alumni. Nationally, he became well known as an advocate of broader access to higher education and the importance of need-based financial aid. Internationally, he played an important role in efforts to strengthen universities' commitment to civic engagement.

Under Dr. Bacow's leadership, Tufts built on its historic strengths to enhance the undergraduate experience, deepen graduate and professional education and research in critical fields, broaden international engagement, and foster active citizenship among members of the university community. He emphasized increased collaboration among Tufts' eight schools and generated creativity and enthusiasm for interdisciplinary study.

Initiatives in undergraduate education and student life during Dr. Bacow's tenure built on the recommendations of a comprehensive review completed in 2003, and he himself served as an advisor to first- and second-year undergraduates throughout his time at Tufts. He has long advocated for broadening access to higher education and the importance of need-based financial aid.

As president, Dr. Bacow was also committed to strengthening Tufts through effective outreach to alumni, parents, and friends, speaking to them with welcome candor about pressing priorities. During his tenure, Tufts benefited from unprecedented donor generosity and completed its historic Beyond Boundaries campaign, which raised $1.2 billion to support the university's highest academic priorities. He strengthened relations between Tufts and its host communities, and the annual President's Marathon Challenge he established in 2003 brought members of the Tufts community together to run and volunteer at the Boston Marathon.

A lawyer and economist whose research focuses on environmental policy, Dr. Bacow is an internationally recognized expert on non-adjudicatory approaches to the resolution of environmental disputes. Prior to coming to Tufts, he spent 24 years on the faculty at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he held the Lee and Geraldine Martin Professorship of Environmental Studies. He served as the elected chair of the MIT Faculty and subsequently as chancellor, one of the Institute's two most senior academic officers. He has also held visiting professorships and research appointments at five universities abroad.

Dr. Bacow received his S.B. in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, his J.D. from Harvard Law School, and his M.P.P. and Ph.D. from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. A Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he is the recipient of five honorary degrees.

After stepping down as President of Tufts after ten years of service, Dr. Bacow became president-in-residence in the Higher Education Program at Harvard's Graduate School of Education; he is serving in this role for a second year during 2012-13. He is also a senior advisor to Ithaka S+R and was one of the authors of its major 2012 study of the barriers to the adoption of online learning systems in U.S. higher education.

Dr. Bacow is a member of the Harvard Corporation and of the President's Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. He also serves on the boards of directors of Liquidnet and Loews Corporation.

About the Series:
This lecture series is named for Charles L. Miller, who joined the Civil Engineering faculty in 1955, and served as head of the department from 1962-1969. Miller conceived a problem-oriented computer language to support surveying and highway design (COGO - Coordinate Geometry). He generalized this new tool into ICES (Integrated Civil Engineering Systems) with applications in structural engineering, highway design, project management and many other fields. Remarkably, this software concept, developed in the 1960s, is still in active use around the world and has been a success as a change agent for both the academic field of civil and environmental engineering and its commercial applications.

Miller's tenure as department head in CEE is notable for the renewal of that department through strategic faculty appointments, expanded research funding and a host of new ideas. In addition to ICES, Miller founded the Civil Engineering Systems Lab (CESL) which, in many ways, was a precursor to the Engineering Systems Division.


Event Details:

Monday, April 22, 2013

Time: 4-5:30pm
(Refreshments available at 3:30pm)

Location: MIT Faculty Club
Dining Room 5

Open to: Entire MIT Community

Co-sponsored by: MIT Engineering Systems Division and MIT Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering


MIT Sloan
MIT School of Science
MIT School of Humanities