For Immediate Release
June 19, 2017
Yvette Watson
(703) 549-2207, ext. 209

NSBE Executive Director's New Book Aims to Increase College Students' Success

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Educator, executive and engineer Karl W. Reid, Ed.D. has spent decades studying what makes students successful, or not, in academic settings. Dr. Reid, executive director of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) since 2014, has compiled his knowledge and new insights in a recently published book titled “Working Smarter, Not Just Harder: Three Sensible Strategies for Succeeding in College…and in Life.”

“ ‘Academic excellence’ comes first in our organization’s mission statement, and the information in ‘Working Smarter’ will help more of our members achieve that goal,” says NSBE National Chair Matthew C. Nelson, the Society’s top-ranking officer. “We thank Dr. Reid for the work and the love he put into this project. His book is a gift to NSBE as well as students and educators across the U.S. and beyond.”

Dr. Reid was born in the Bronx, N.Y., and raised in Roosevelt, a majority African-American town on Long Island. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in materials science and engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a doctorate from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. After graduating from MIT, Dr. Reid enjoyed a successful career in product management, sales, marketing and consulting in the computer industry, including six years with IBM Corporation. But reading Jonathan Kozol’s “Savage Inequalities,” a seminal book about educational disparities in the U.S., changed his life.

“I remember getting very angry as I read the book,” Dr. Reid said, “wondering how America could allow these obvious disparities to exist: placing some kids in large, insect-infested classrooms, while students a few miles away were getting the benefit of small classrooms and college-like facilities just based on ‘the chance’ of birth.”

Dr. Reid has dedicated his life to rectifying that situation and helping all students reach their potential, through educational policies and practices. His research as a doctoral student at Harvard explored the interrelationship of race, identity and academic achievement.

“Working Smarter, Not Just Harder” is the culmination of that research, Dr. Reid’s long experience in academia with students from all backgrounds, and his work with pre-college students and undergraduates at MIT and at student-focused organizations such as the United Negro College Fund and NSBE.

“Almost every student struggles in college….” he wrote. “College entrance scores and similar measures do little to predict who will be successful. Rather, what distinguishes success in college — and in life — is how an individual responds to challenges…. ‘Working Smarter, Not Just Harder’ introduces readers to a learning approach that helped turn things around for me as an undergraduate: an approach that I refined as a doctoral student, a freshman advisor and a college dean. It will help you get smarter, not just in content knowledge, but smarter in the way you approach your work.”

“Working Smarter, Not Just Harder” teaches students to make three critical “shifts”: The Attitude Shift focuses on developing a new mindset about one’s intellectual ability and about the importance of confidence. The Connection Shift shows how students can engage their faculty members, administrators and peers on campus, which is necessary to produce a more fulfilling, holistic campus experience. And The Behavior Shift offers practical steps for students to improve their grades and deepen their learning. It also offers lessons that can be applied more broadly to the workplace.

Copies of the book are being made available to NSBE members at discounted rates through July 2018. Dr. Reid will donate his royalties from books sold to members through NSBE’s Academic Excellence (AEx) program.

“Working Smarter, Not Just Harder: Three Sensible Strategies for Succeeding in College…and in Life” can also be purchased online through Amazon and other book retailers.

With more than 500 chapters and more than 16,000 active members in the U.S. and abroad, the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) is one of the largest student-governed organizations based in the United States. NSBE, founded in 1975, supports and promotes the aspirations of collegiate and pre-collegiate students and technical professionals in engineering and technology. NSBE’s mission is “to increase the number of culturally responsible black engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally and positively impact the community.” For more information, visit