Education: New Look at M.I.T.

Today's civil engineer can build a bridge, but what else can he do? In an age when technological breakthroughs occur almost overnight, many U.S. educators fear that engineering courses have become so specialized and formula-bound that they contain the seeds of their own obsolescence. Last week Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced that it is revamping its civil engineering curriculum to roll with the future.

It is not enough, says M.I.T.'s Dean of Engineering Gordon S. Brown, to try to match technological advances by adding a new course here, another there: "This produces a hodgepodge, a Christmas tree that you keep adding lights...

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