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From Inspiring STEM Education to Leading a University

Dr. Ioannis Miaoulis, President of Roger Williams University (Bristol, Rhode Island, USA), reflects on his professional journey in academia and how having an engineering mindset and an entrepreneurial mindset have served him well throughout his career.

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Ioannis Miaoulis

Dr. Miaoulis attended Athens College as a boarder before graduating in 1980. As a first-generation college student who grew up in Greece, he understands the value of an excellent education. Dr. Miaoulis holds a doctoral degree in mechanical engineering, a Master of Arts in Economics, and a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from Tufts University, as well as a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an Honorary Doctor of Science degree from the State University of New York. He has published numerous research papers and several educational textbooks and holds two engineering patents.

A visionary leader in experiential learning and champion of STEM education, Dr. Miaoulis began his distinguished career in higher education. At Tufts University, he served as Dean of the College of Engineering, Associate Provost, Interim Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and professor of mechanical engineering. During his leadership at the College of Engineering, he helped raise $100 million for the engineering school and worked closely with students and faculty to more than double its research initiatives, introduce new programs, form professional partnerships within the industry, and significantly increase the number of female students and faculty members. In 2001, he spearheaded an initiative to make Massachusetts the first state in the nation to bring engineering and technology curriculum into its K-12 public school system.

Ioannis N. Miaoulis is the 11th president of Roger Williams University. Dr. Miaoulis previously served as President and Director of the Boston Museum of Science since 2003, introducing more than 1.5 million visitors a year to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. During his tenure, he raised the museum’s profile to an internationally acclaimed STEM education institution through fundraising efforts that included a $50 million gift from Bloomberg Philanthropies, which supported the creation of world-class exhibits, outreach programs, and innovative educational initiatives. He led the development of the museum’s National Center for Technological Literacy (NCTL), advancing the knowledge of engineering and technology through K-12 curricula programs that have reached an estimated 200,000 teachers and 22 million students. He has served on the NASA Advisory Committee, NASA Education and Public Outreach Committee, National Steering Committee for the National Education Assessment Program, the Board of Wellesley College, and as Presidential Appointee to the National Board of Museum and Library Services. He currently serves on the National STEM Education Advisory Panel.

Among his many honors and accomplishments, he was inducted into the STEM Hall of Fame in 2017 and has earned the 2014 American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) President’s Award (jointly with the NCTL), the 2016 Adelson Prize of AAAS, the 2012 Science Club for Girls Catalyst Award, the 2011 ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) Ralph Coats Roe Medal, NASA’s Exceptional Public Service Medal in 2009, the 2003 Tufts University Alumni Association’s Distinguished Service Award, the William P. Desmond Award for Outstanding Contributions to Public Education, the Allan MacLeod Cormack Award for Excellence in Collaborative Research, and the Presidential Young Investigator Award. In 2018, he was named one of the 100 most influential people in Boston by Boston Magazine.

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