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Frank Huband

A Disciple of Innovative Action

G. Wayne Clough, the new head of the Smithsonian Institution, has been involved with ASEE over the years in a number of ways. A member since 1991, he’s spoken at both the ASEE’s Deans Council Public Policy Colloquium in Washington, D.C., and the 2005 ASEE annual conference in Portland, Ore., and has written a “Last Word” for Prism. I think we can all be pleased that an engineering educator of Clough’s background, knowledge, and accomplishments has been chosen to lead the world’s largest museum and research establishment.

While most Americans think of the Smithsonian as a museum that showcases our national treasures and artifacts, the institution is actually a sizable complex of 19 museums and seven research centers. Our cover story, “Raising the Roof,” describes how Clough has already taken steps to heighten the institution’s science and technology image. A disciple of innovative action and an interdisciplinary approach, he intends to make the Smithsonian’s research and its collections relevant and accessible to a rapidly expanding online audience, both at home and abroad.

Last month, President Obama made a quick trip to New Orleans. There he talked to Katrina victims, assuring them of continued support for repairs and promising better emergency preparation in the future. Prism’s article “Time and Tide” looks at the rising sea level and the threats posed to low-lying coastal areas generally. Clearly, with half the population of the United States living along or near a coast, preparations – emergency and otherwise – are needed. A few engineering schools have instituted programs promoting research into the problems of sea-level rise, but some experts feel the effort falls short.

ASEE President J. P. Mohsen is an advocate of professional development, believing that a formal training process can help engineering faculty be more effective teachers. It’s a belief that is increasingly shared. “Those Who Can, Teach” looks at the growing trend among engineering schools to take advantage of teaching and learning centers that use trained education professionals to improve teaching. Unsurprisingly, results have shown better teaching nets greater student enthusiasm and better outcomes.

As always, we are offering a variety of stories. I would welcome your thoughts and suggestions.


Frank L. Huband
Executive Director and Publisher




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