New Programs Broaden WPI's Educational Horizons

In 1997-98, WPI became the first university in the world to offer a bachelor's degree program in system dynamics, a method of studying and modeling complex systems on the computer. The program, which requires course work in engineering, the social sciences, mathematics and computer science, was established in response to the need to understand and control socioeconomic systems. "Our graduates will be able to use system dynamics computer-simulation modeling to solve problems in a wide range of policy areas relevant to engineering, economic and societal systems," said Khalid Saeed, head of the Social Science and Policy Studies Department. "WPI is leading the way into a new frontier," noted Jay W. Forrester, Germeshausen Professor Emeritus at MIT, a pioneer in system dynamics and the keynote speaker at a reception at which the new major was announced.

Civil and Environmental Engineering joined with four other departments to establish a new Management, Environmental, International (MEI) option within WPI's traditional doctoral programs. A five-year, $562,000 grant from the National Science Foundation supports the program, which is designed to educate students in the management of technology, environmental responsibility, and problems associated with international competitiveness.

Last winter, WPI and the Escuela Superior Politecnica del Literal (ESPOL) in Guayaquil, Ecuador, signed an agreement to enable as many as 25 ESPOL students to come to WPI. Up to 15 will be allowed to complete their last two years of college here; 10 more could complete M.B.A.s or master of science degrees in operations and information technology or in marketing and technological innovation. The new partnership is the second for the two universities. In 1992 WPI was part of a five-year, $500,000 U.S. Agency for International Development program that promoted linkages between institutions of higher learning in the U.S. and developing countries. That program was extended in the fall of 1997.

-Bonnie Gelbwasser
Last Updated: 4/8/99 20:13:41 EDT

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