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The Bernard M. Gordon Prize for Innovation in Engineering and Technology Education recognizes new modalities and experiments in education that develop effective engineering leaders. It focuses on innovations such as curricular design, teaching methods, and technology-related learning that strengthen students’ capabilities and desire to grow into leadership roles.
This year’s Bernard M. Gordon Prize for Innovation in Engineering and Technology Education recognized Mr. Simon Pitts and Professor Michael B. Silevitch “for developing an innovative method to provide graduate engineers with the necessary personal skills to become effective engineering leaders”.
Simon Pitts is director of Northeastern University’s Gordon Institute of Engineering Leadership and Professor of Practice in Engineering Leadership. On joining the program he further developed the curriculum, introducing a focus on character development, using 14 specific leadership capabilities, taught and then mastered using leadership laboratories. A focus on product development, delivering products and processes to market “on time, on budget, and to specification,” was also added. These enhancements are included in five fundamental “pillars” of the program that integrate into a complete educational experience which was expanded to include all disciplines in the College of Engineering.
He also expanded the program faculty, adding members with military and high-technology product development experience, while scaling up the program and building new relationships with companies and adding industry-based mentors. Additionally, he has been instrumental in developing a community of practice among universities to share best practices in engineering leadership education.
Before joining Northeastern University in this role Mr. Pitts most recently directed the Ford-MIT Research Alliance. As a senior executive with Ford Motor Company, he led cross-functional teams across three continents as director of global product development operations for Ford, Jaguar, Land Rover, Mazda, and Volvo.
During his time with Ford, based in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany, he led engineering and cross-functional teams as vehicle line director, director of manufacturing operations, director of powertrain strategy and planning, and chief engineer powertrain systems engineering.
Educated at Loughborough University in England and INSEAD in France, Mr. Pitts is a fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (CEng, FIMechE).