At WPI, the opportunity to complete significant project work off campus is an integral element of an academic program that prepares students to put the knowledge they learn in the classroom to work by developing solutions to meaningful technical and societal problems. Working in small teams, in close collaboration with faculty mentors, they gain the confidence to take on the challenges of work and life.
The university is recognized as the leader in global technological education among American colleges and universities. Whether measured in terms of experience, sheer numbers or impact on students, WPI's unique Global Perspective Program surpasses global education initiatives at other universities. For example:
- WPI's first off-campus project center was launched over 30 years ago. Since then, WPI's global network has grown to more than 25 locations on five continents. Some 5,000 students have completed off-campus projects in that time.
- WPI has sent more undergraduate engineers and scientists abroad than any other American university.
- WPI ranks in the top ten among U.S. doctoral universities in the percentage of graduates (of all majors) with an international experience.*
- Unlike most U.S. students who study abroad, WPI students become immersed in the local culture as they tackle important problems for sponsors: local organizations and agencies that receive solutions to important issues they face and also identify potential employees.
Projects completed at WPI's global project centers have made a real difference to individuals, organizations and agencies around the globe. For example, in Venice, students have helped reduce damage to canal walls and cataloged the city's endangered public art. In Thailand, they have brought solar energy to remote tribes and assessed environmental threats facing residents of the Klong Toey slum. Projects in Boston have addressed a number of critical issues-from public safety to parking-that impact the quality of life for the city's inhabitants and visitors.
Nearly half of WPI's faculty has advised a global project. The university's commitment to preparing faculty for this demanding role was recognized by TIAA-CREF, which awarded WPI a Certificate of Excellence in its 2003 Theodore M. Hesburgh Award program. (The Hesburgh Award honors academic programs that enhance undergraduate teaching and learning.)
WPI's experience with global technological education has been recognized by a number of other educational organizations. For example,
- "The Global Perspective Program was one factor cited by the Association of American Colleges and Universities when it named WPI one of 16 Greater Expectations Leadership Institutions. These universities are serving as models for the future of liberal education in the United States.
- In 2002, WPI was one of 16 colleges and universities (from among 120 nominees) recognized by NAFSA: Association of International Educators for "doing exemplary work to internationalize the campus."
*Source: Institute of International Education.
- The Value of a Global Perspective
- In today's interconnected, interdependent global marketplace a true global perspective is no longer an option. WPI has long recognized the need for its students to understand how their lives and work will benefit from an understanding of other cultures and other ways of doing business.
- WPI's Unique Approach to Global Studies
- WPI students go off campus to solve important problems for local sponsors. It's a way of learning that requires full immersion in another culture, and one that produces a remarkable transformation in the students who take part.
- Three Decades, Three Thousand Students: The History of the WPI Global Perspective Program
- WPI is the clear leader in global technological; education, whether one measures quality, impact or experience. Our global projects program is the oldest, most extensive and most effective program anywhere.
Last modified: January 04, 2010 10:47:57