Union to host fourth national symposium on engineering and liberal arts

Publication Date

Union will continue the national conversation on integrating engineering, technology and the traditional liberal arts when it hosts its fourth annual “Symposium on Engineering & Liberal Education.”

Leaders from nearly two dozen schools will attend this year’s conference, which will be held June 3 and 4. Among the participants: Princeton, Dartmouth, Binghamton, Lafayette, Smith, Trinity and MIT.

The keynote speaker is David Ferrucci, the principal investigator behind IBM’s “Watson,” the natural language processor that beat its human competitors on “Jeopardy” earlier this year. Ferrucci heads the Semantic Analysis and Integration Department at IBM’s T.J. Watson’s Research Center, which is overseen by John E. Kelly III ’76, senior vice president and director of research at IBM.

This year’s symposium will explore the impact of integration on innovation and entrepreneurship, including an “Integrate to Innovate” Faculty Institute consisting of workshops for faculty to enhance their courses and curricula by integrating engineering and the liberal arts.

Past symposia have focused on how engineering contributes to a liberal education, the importance of a liberal education for engineers and exploration of the intellectual relationship between engineering and the liberal arts.

In 1845, Union became the first liberal arts college to offer engineering. With the addition of projects such as the recently opened $22 million Peter Irving Wold Center, with its emphasis on interdisciplinary study, the College is reshaping what it means to liberally educate students in the 21st century.