Asee peer logo

Moving Forward with the New Engineering Education Transformation (NEET) program at MIT - Building Community, Developing Projects, and Connecting with Industry

Download Paper |


2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

Multidisciplinary Engineering Programs

Tagged Division

Multidisciplinary Engineering

Tagged Topic


Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Edward F. Crawley Massachusetts Institute of Technology

visit author page

Professor Ed Crawley is the Ford Professor of Engineering at MIT, a member of the National Academy of Engineering, and a recipient of the Bernard M. Gordon Prize for engineering education of the NAE. He is the Founding President of the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Skoltech) and. the Co-Director of NEET at MIT.

visit author page


Anette Hosoi Massachusetts Institute of Technology

visit author page

Anette (Peko) Hosoi is Associate Dean of Engineering and the Neil and Jane Pappalardo Professor of Mechanical Engineering, at MIT.  She received her PhD in Physics from the University of Chicago and went on to become an NSF Postdoctoral Fellow in the MIT Department of Mathematics and at the Courant Institute, NYU. She is a leader in the study of the hydrodynamics of thin fluid films and in the nonlinear physical interaction of viscous fluids and deformable interfaces. Her work spans multiple disciplines including physics, biology and applied mathematics, and is being used, in collaboration with Schlumberger-Doll Research, Bluefin Robotics, and Boston Dynamics to guide the engineering design of robotic crawlers and other mechanisms. 

Prof. Hosoi is an exceptional, innovative teacher and an inspiring mentor for women in engineering. She was awarded the Bose Award for Excellence in Teaching, and a MacVicar Fellowship. She is a recipient of the 3M Innovation Award and has held the Doherty Chair in Ocean Utilization at MIT. She is a Radcliffe Institute Fellow and a Fellow of the American Physical Society.  Her research interests include fluid mechanics, bioinspired design and locomotion, with a focus on optimization of crawling gastropods, digging bivalves, swimming microorganisms and soft robotics. Prof. Hosoi is also an avid mountain biker and her passion for sports has led her to create MIT Sports Lab, a program that is designed to build an interconnected community of faculty, students, industry partners, alums and athletes who are dedicated to applying their technical expertise to advance the state-of-the-art in sports.

visit author page


Gregory L. Long Ph.D. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

visit author page

Gregory L. Long, PhD is currently the Lead Laboratory Instructor for NEET's Autonomous Machines thread at the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has a broad range of engineering design, prototype fabrication, woodworking, and manufacturing experience, and he has taught mechanical engineering design, robotics, control of mechanical systems, and a variety of mathematical topics for over 20 years before joining the faculty at MIT. He has published scholarly articles on robot mechanics and control, and he has a textbook titled “Fundamentals of Robot Mechanics''.

Greg received his bachelors of science degree in chemical engineering from Stanford University, his masters of science and doctorate degrees in mechanical engineering and applied mechanics from the University of Pennsylvania, and his masters of liberal arts degree in mathematics for teaching from Harvard University. ​

Address: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 77 Massachusetts Avenue, 35-316, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 02139
Phone: 617-253-5575 Email:

visit author page


Timothy Kassis Massachusetts Institute of Technology

visit author page

Dr. Timothy Kassis completed his postdoctoral training under Profs. Linda Griffith (BE) and David Trumper (MechE) at MIT. Prior to that, Dr. Kassis obtained a Ph.D. in Bioengineering and an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, GA, and a B.Eng. in Electronic and Communications Engineering from the University of Nottingham, UK. Dr. Kassis has lived for extended amounts of time in the Philippines, Canada, UK, Lebanon, Syria, and since 2008, the United States.

Dr. Kassis is currently the lead instructor for the School of Engineering's New Engineering Education Transformation (NEET) Living Machines (LM) thread and is also the instructor for 20.051, 20.052 and 20.053 which are the three classes entitled 'Living Machines' required by all students participating in the LM thread.

Dr. Kassis' research interests lie at the convergence of engineering, biology, and computation. He is particularly interested in creating engineering tools to answer difficult biological questions. Dr. Kassis has worked on a variety of interdisciplinary research projects from elucidating the role of lymphatics in lipid transport to designing organ-on-chip microfluidic models to developing deep convolutional networks for biomedical image processing.

visit author page


William Dickson General Motors

visit author page

Will graduated with a B.S. from MIT in Materials Science & Engineering in 2014, and followed that with a M.Eng. from the University of California at Berkeley in the same field. On top of the technical classes, Will gained a passion for leadership, diversity, hard work, and continuous learning in order to make an impact on the world. After roles in Michigan for General Motors as a hardware-in-the-loop simulation engineer and assistant program engineering manager for General Motors’ full-size pickup truck, Will has led GM’s embedded presence in the MIT and Boston ecosystem since late 2017. GM's open innovation strategy in the Boston area involves proactively sharing technical problems with small communities who can accelerate our solution development - namely students and startups. On top of this, Will evaluates and connects relevant businesses in the area to the many functions of General Motors. Will works with many programs directly at MIT in a mentorship & advisory capacity, including: New Engineering Education Transformation, the Sandbox Innovation Fund, the Leaders of Global Operations Dual-Degree Program, the Gordon Engineering Leadership program, the Office of Minority Education, and individual classes & professors.

visit author page


Amitava 'Babi' Mitra Massachusetts Institute of Technology

visit author page

Amitava “Babi” Mitra
+1-617-324-8131 |

Dr. Amitava ‘Babi’ Mitra is the founding executive director of the New Engineering Education Transformation (NEET) program at MIT. Together with faculty co-leads Ed Crawley, Ford Professor of Engineering at MIT and founding president of Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology, Russia and Anette "Peko" Hosoi, associate dean of the MIT School of Engineering and Neil and Jane Pappalardo Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Mitra is co-leading what is arguably one of the most impactful initiatives in higher education today, an initiative launched by MIT’s School of Engineering in 2016 to reimagine and transform MIT’s undergraduate engineering education.

Mitra has led and grown entrepreneurial educational ventures both in the corporate world as well as in academia. He transformed a small e-learning R&D group into the profitable Knowledge Solutions Business at NIIT, Inc. as its senior vice-president and was the first chief, Distance Learning Programs Unit, Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS), Pilani, India. He was a founding member, board of governors of one of India’s leading NGOs, the Pan-Himalayan Grassroots Development Foundation, Kumaon.

What he enjoys doing most is setting up and running innovative ‘start-up’ educational initiatives within established universities (as in his current role at MIT) or as new institutions (as the founding Dean of Engineering, BML Munjal University, India where he launched ‘Joy of Engineering’, a first-year hands-on course designed to get students excited about engineering).

Mitra earned his undergraduate, graduate, and Ph.D. (chemical engineering) degrees from BITS, Pilani and undertook his doctoral research at the department of chemical engineering, MIT. He studied at St. Columba’s School, New Delhi and was a National Science Talent Scholar. His wife is an English teacher and former chair, MIT Women’s League Board; they reside in Massachusetts, USA. Their older child (MIT '14, varsity squash captain) is a Consultant at Altman Vilandrie, Boston. Their younger child (Colby College ‘21, Maine, varsity squash) is majoring in computer science and economics. Mitra loves food, music, the intersects across people and technology, growing up with his children and playing squash.

visit author page

Download Paper |


In Fall 2016, the MIT Dean of Engineering chartered the New Engineering Education Transformation (NEET) initiative, a new cross-departmental effort to rethink engineering education (what students learn and how students learn) in a fundamental way across the school of engineering. NEET aims to educate young engineers to build the “new machines and systems” that will address societal challenges of the 21st century. NEET alumnus will be prepared to work as entrepreneurs/innovators, makers and discoverers, and future leaders through learning and practicing the NEET Ways of Thinking: cognitive approaches such as creative thinking, critical thinking, systems thinking and humanistic thinking that can help individuals think and learn more effectively and efficiently on their own initiative, throughout their lifetime.

In Fall 2017, NEET launched two pilot cross-departmental “threads” for sophomores in engineering; Autonomous Machines (covering traditional departments of aeronautics and astronautics, mechanical engineering and electrical engineering and computer science) and Living Machines (covering biological engineering, mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, electrical engineering and computer science and other technical degrees). These threads are cross-departmental pathways of classes and projects in areas that address the “new machines and systems” of the future and that are likely to play a major part in impacting the world when the students graduate. By participating in the pilot, students will earn an SB degree from the department they are majoring in and a NEET Certificate naming the thread, within the usual four-year duration. NEET has launched two additional pilot threads in Fall 2018: Advanced Materials Machines (covering materials science and engineering and mechanical engineering) and Clean Energy Systems (covering nuclear science and engineering, civil and environmental engineering, and mechanical engineering).

The NEET approach and curriculum developed over more than nine months of discussion that was informed by evidence gathered from students, faculty and alumni; input from thought leaders; a NEET-commissioned global engineering education benchmarking study, and; inputs from industry. Senior managers from over forty companies were interviewed and surveyed on the NEET Ways of Thinking, in terms of how proficient(scale of 0-5) they would expect a graduating MIT engineer to be on each of those cognitive approaches. Many managers said, for example, that it was no longer a question of training students on “communication skills” or “soft skills”. The ability to sell an idea properly --- marshal technical and other resources within the company and from outside (experts from MIT, other experts, conferences, online, etc.) and cogently present to senior managers and team members --- was a differentiating skill even for entry-level engineers.

Feedback was sought from sophomores in the first cohort both through anonymous online surveys and through face-to-face discussions. They responded that what they liked most about NEET was that they were becoming part of a professional community; this feedback though welcome, was somewhat unexpected as NEET had not been designed with that goal in mind. Sophomores appreciated the project-centric approach and the interactions NEET was starting to develop with industry.

Though it is far too early to come to meaningful conclusions for the medium to longer term, the initial response is encouraging. Over 5% of the Class of 2020 engineering population voluntarily opted for NEET in Fall 2017, and that has grown in Fall 2018 to over 12% of the Class of 2021 engineering students. These are significantly larger numbers than the number of students that have typically tended to opt for many new academic programs in the past and larger than the enrollment in most majors.

This paper will describe how NEET and the students in NEET are going about building community, how projects are being designed and implemented (including how the NEET Ways of Thinking are being incorporated), and how NEET and a specific company, General Motors, are prototyping an integrated collaboration, as a harbinger of more such industry connects in the future. We will share our key learnings and outline what we see as the next steps for the future, both strategic and tactical.

Crawley, E. F., & Hosoi, A., & Long, G. L., & Kassis, T., & Dickson, W., & Mitra, A. B. (2019, June), Moving Forward with the New Engineering Education Transformation (NEET) program at MIT - Building Community, Developing Projects, and Connecting with Industry Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--33124

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2019 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015