VOLUME 13, NO. 3 June 2001
WPI has long been known for its innovative curriculum, its supportive campus environment, and its fundamental belief that the best way to learn is by doing. This visionary approach to undergraduate education was recently recognized by the Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U), which named WPI as one of 16 Leadership Institutions that will become part of the Greater Expectations Consortium on Quality Education. WPI is the only technological university in this group, which was chosen from among 73 applicants.
Leadership Institutions will form the hub of a network of colleges, universities and community colleges whose innovative practices in undergraduate education will serve as models for others across the nation. In workshops and meetings during the next 21/2 years, these institutions will work with a national panel to spread the word about what they are doing. In their applications, each of the Leadership Institutions "demonstrated strong commitment to a liberal education relevant to our contemporary world," says AAC&U Vice President Andrea Leskes, who directs the Greater Expectations program.
Richard F. Vaz, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering and associate dean of the Interdisciplinary and Global Studies Division, will serve as liaison to the consortium. "We received this award because the AAC&U sees us not only as an outstanding technological university, but as one that emphasizes a strong liberal education," says Vaz. "This is exemplified by our Interactive Qualifying Project, in which students study the impact of science and technology upon society, and by our global programs, which place our students in international locations to work on real-world problems. The AAC&U examiner remarked that the WPI experience causes a ’transformation’ and a ’striking change’ in our students between their freshman and senior years."
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