Thinking Like an Engineer and Societal Challenges

Thinking like an Engineer 

 
The RIT Dubai Mechanical Engineering department was pleased to welcome Dr. Victor W. Goldschmidt as a guest lecturer. The title of his talk was “Thinking Like an Engineer and Societal Challenges” and was organized in coordination with ASHRE as part of their Student chapter initiative. 
 
Dr. Victor W. Goldschmidt has been lecturing Mechanical Engineering students for over 40 years and has evolved and reconsidered what his purpose should have been as an educator.  He stated that “It goes beyond transfer of information and mastery of a necessary set of tools. It also goes further than applying those tools in the art of problem solving.” 
 
Our students, faculty and staff were impressed with his charisma, the passion and joy of his informative and often enlightening lecture style. 
 
The talk was also about the nature of engineering thought processes, the role in problem solving, looking for alternatives, using creativity, thinking in a pragmatic manner, considering safety, and always asking questions. 
 
He also gave concrete examples of societal problems exhibiting failure in thinking like engineers.  He presented these as examples and challenge for critical thinking on the part of engineering professionals while responsibly serving society.
 
When we asked him about the value of academia he stated that institutions of learning have to do “the best they can” in order to prepare students for the “real world” in the industry after they graduate. He imagines every student that he lectures to as a future Industry leader in an executive position. 
 
RIT Dubai also shares this mission and attempts to prepare their students for successful careers after they graduate by providing them with work experience (co-op) before they graduate. 
He shared an anecdote with us about destroying all his lecture notes each year to start afresh, be innovative and always ask questions. To think like an engineer. 
 
 

About Dr. Victor W. Goldschmidt 

Victor W. Goldschmidt, Emeritus Mechanical Engineering Professor, served at Purdue University from 1964 through 2000. He is currently serving as a Leelanau County Planning Commissioner as well as a facilitator and engineering consultant.
During his 36 years at Purdue University, Mr. Goldschmidt was responsible for educating mechanical engineering students, including the direction of graduate research in the HVAC area. Most of his service with graduate students was with the Ray W. Herrick Laboratories with heavy support from the HVAC industries. During early stages of his career, he served as Director of the Engineering Purdue Fellows in Latin America; during later stages he served as department head for Freshman Engineering. Prior to his academic involvement, he worked in Applications Engineering and Development Engineering with Honeywell.
Mr. Goldschmidt has taught almost every course in thermal sciences offered at Purdue, as well as a special upper level technical course on the “Creative Process in Engineering.” He is trained as a Synectics (special brainstorming) facilitator and is currently engaged in the development of strategic plans and problem solving sessions.
A past ASHRAE Director-at-Large, he also has served as a member of Publishing and Technology Councils. He is an ASHRAE Distinguished Service Award recipient and Fellow, as well as Honorary Member of IIR, ACAIRE, ASURVAC and AAF. He resides in North Michigan, above Traverse City.