The Wire @ WPI Online
VOLUME 11, NO. 2     SEPTEMBER 1997

Strategic Planning

The first steps toward a new strategic plan for the university were realized this past academic year with the formation of a Strategic Planning Steering Committee (SPSC), chaired by Professor Stephen Weininger of the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department. (The fall 1996 issue of the WPI Journal reported on this committee¹s formation.) The last strategic plan was created in 1990.

Thirteen subcommittees were also formed to examine specific issues and to report back to the Steering Committee in March. Their inputs were reviewed and integrated into the final report, ³Realizing Our Ambitions,² submitted on May 1. All of the committees met throughout the spring, conducted interviews, and held open meetings to obtain community-wide input.

³This first phase was an important one for WPI to help guide us in planning and implementing, and in our upcoming capital campaign,² says President Edward A. Parrish. ³We¹ve accomplished a lot since last fall in these deliberations.

³These deliberations also confirm fundamental tenets that constitute our core competencies and what sets this university apart,² says Parrish. These are

³These tenets establish a firm base for us to build upon and to define WPI now and in the future,² says Parrish. ³With the submission of the Steering Committee¹s report, it went out of business and the process calls for us to enter the second phase with the formation of the new Planning and Implementation Committee that will be announced in the fall.²

Threats, challenges and opportunities were examined in detail by the Steering Committee and recommendations made that would be further examined by the new committee in the fall. ³The report of the Steering Committee addresses directions and initiatives for the future,² notes the report. ³It does not directly address areas in which WPI should reduce or cease any aspects of its activities.

³In any strategic planning process, two distinct efforts are needed: determination of a vision and plan for the future, and analysis of the costs and benefits of existing activities,² the report says. The work of the Steering Committee was to conduct the planning activity and it devoted most of its attention to this aspect.

The SPSC report noted that ³a great strength is that we have undertaken a major renewal of our community in the recent past. We have a model at hand that assures us that imaginative thinking, cooperative effort and bold action will produce decisive positive change.²

A follow-up report on the work and deliberations of the Planning and Implementation Committee and the Strategic Plan will be carried in future issues of The Wire.

Task Forces

The Strategic Planning Steering Committee named 13 task forces, each with a chair, a liaison to the Steering Committee, and a unique charge.


Robert Voss, Admissions and Financial Aid

Educational Technologies

Pennie Turgeon, Instructional Media Center

Financial Resources and Incentives

James Hanlan, Humanities and Arts

Global Opportunities

Richard Vaz, Electrical and Computer Engineering

Graduate Program

William Durgin, assoc. provost for academic affairs

Information Infrastructure

David Finkel, Computer Science

Learning Environment and Campus Culture

Jonathan Barnett, Fire Protection Engineering

New Programs

Helen Vassallo, Management

Outcome Assessment and Feedback

William Farr, Mathematical Sciences

Pre-College Outreach

Denise Nicoletti, Electrical and Computer Engineering

Project Based Education and Cooperative Learning

Nicholas Kildahl, Chemistry and Biochemistry, and Satya Shivkumar, Manufacturing Engineering (co-chairs)


Mark Richman, Mechanical Engineering

Support Services

Louis Curran, Humanities and Arts

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Last modified: Thu Oct 23 12:29:51 EDT 1997