Knowledge Building: Engineering Lessons from a Big Tornado

In the aftermath of a devastating tornado that touched down in Springfield, Massachusetts, in June 2011 and affected an estimated 40 percent of the population, a class of Smith engineering students this fall used this extreme of nature as a springboard for their study of engineering mechanics.

Smith College is one of the first institutions of higher education to apply innovative teaching methods known as knowledge building to the liberal arts, establishing it as a leader in teaching and learning pedagogy. Now instead of putting the primary focus on lectures, some professors are rewriting the old syllabi and trying a new approach—one that emphasizes higher-level thinking and values the processes of innovation, collaboration and creativity. Read the full story in Insight.


Designing a New Solar Energy System at a Closing Landfill Site

Smith engineering seniors Lindsay Holle and Darcy Dwyer devoted two semesters and the professional equivalent of some 1,000 hours for the research, analysis and design of a feasible renewable energy system to generate electricity at the city of Northampton’s landfill site after it closes in 2013.

Related story: Designing a New Solar Energy System at a Landfill Site