VOLUME 11, NO. 2 SEPTEMBER 1997
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
- a commitment to learning by doing, exemplified by the central role of projects in our curriculum.
- a commitment to aiding and encouraging the development of the entire person exemplified by the importance of the arts, social sciences and humanities on our campus.
- a commitment to the equal importance of teaching and scholarship, exemplified by our faculty awards in both areas.
- a commitment to science and technology and their use toward humane ends, exemplified by much of our scholarship and our three project degree requirements.
- a commitment to fostering an awareness of the world beyond the campus, exemplified by our Global Programs.
- a commitment to constituting ourselves as a true learning community with close working relationships among students, staff and faculty, whose realization is dependent on all the preceding commitments.
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.
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
Pennie Turgeon, Instructional Media Center
Financial Resources and Incentives
James Hanlan, Humanities and Arts
Richard Vaz, Electrical and Computer Engineering
William Durgin, assoc. provost for academic affairs
David Finkel, Computer Science
Learning Environment and Campus Culture
Jonathan Barnett, Fire Protection Engineering
Helen Vassallo, Management
Outcome Assessment and Feedback
William Farr, Mathematical Sciences
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
Louis Curran, Humanities and Arts
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