Engineering the Future

Meet Glenn Gaudette, the chair of BC’s new engineering department.

This fall, Boston College’s new engineering department will welcome its very first class of students. Unlike most other engineering programs, BC’s will pursue a human-centered approach to the discipline, one that prepares students to tackle humanity’s most pressing and complex problems. It’s a philosophy that has long been championed by the department’s inaugural chair, Glenn Gaudette, who recently came to the Heights from Worcester Polytechnic Institute. "If students want to contribute to our world and make people’s lives better with engineering, Boston College is a perfect place," Gaudette said.

Gaudette, an accomplished biomedical engineer, has focused on research with the potential to improve lives. For instance, his WPI lab figured out how to use spinach leaves as scaffolds for growing human heart tissue, which could help treat millions of Americans who suffer from cardiovascular diseases. "I look forward to our department producing engineers who are technically very competent and have the depth of knowledge that’s needed to be successful," Gaudette said, "but who also realize that everything they do needs to make the world better." Here, he shares a few thoughts on the future of the field at BC and beyond.

"I’m excited to partner with other schools at BC. I hope our students will work with students at the School of Social Work to understand how we can use engineering to improve the lives of people who are socioeconomically disadvantaged. The same goes for nursing students: How can we use engineering to help people who are suffering?"

"Engineers have to get out and talk to people. They need to watch and observe. The most successful engineers are ones who are out there understanding what’s going on in the world and where the problems are."

"We need a diverse population solving problems so we can bring many different points of view together. How do we do that? We’ve got to make sure that students understand that engineering is not beyond them—I truly believe anybody can be an engineer, anybody in the world."