Worcester Polytechnic Institute

A Planning Program for Worcester Polytechnic Institute: The Future of Two Towers - Part Four: A Plan


APPENDIX A: History and Philosophy of the Current Planning Program

In response to questions by some faculty as to the educational direction of WPI, President Harry P. Storke, on 12 December 1968, appointed six faculty to form the President's Planning Group. Many members of the WPI Community, including the members of the Group themselves, had mixed feelings about the appointment. First, it was known to all that the President would retire the following June, and there was little assurance that the planning effort would be continued beyond that point. Second, the faculty of the College had only the preceding year begun to accept its responsibility for the educational program at WPI, and there were many who thought the members should be elected by the faculty. Third, the appointment was made without informing the Deans and Department Heads.

In his charge to the Group, President Storke asked them to base initial efforts on a set of nine points approved by the Board of Trustees on 26 October 1968. He further emphasized that the Group should avoid getting entangled in details of needs and curricula of individual programs, but should concentrate on broad objectives of the College as a whole. However, it was the first of the nine points which really seemed most important - "Quality strength objectives herewith become our guiding principle." The remaining eight items were directed toward focusing the College's activities with a clear eye on its growing financial problems. Just what are quality objectives? For as long as any of the Group could remember, quality had been emphasized by the College administration, yet all sensed that WPI was not regarded as a quality institution in other than price by either its staff or its students. The reputation of the College was that of a good school, but not the best. Few of the faculty were known beyond the campus. While there had always been an emphasis on instruction, almost to the exclusion of anything else, examination and evaluation of instruction was virtually unknown. As far as educational innovation was concerned, it was clear that WPI was a follower rather than a leader in evolving technical education. To the members of the Group, it was apparent that too many of the students were giving less than their best efforts to their expensive education.

In spite of the negative aspects mentioned above, students continued to apply for admission, attend, and graduate; and employers of the graduates returned to the campus to recruit more employees.

Thus, the President's Planning Group was faced with a three-fold problem. First, the present status, strengths, and weaknesses of the College had to be established. Second, the faculty, administration, and student body had to be drawn into the planning operation in a constructive way, for, whatever else happened, it had to be made clear to everyone what WPI's purpose was to be. Third, a sound educational program on which the College could focus its efforts, which could be articulated to a generation demanding relevancy, and which could attract the necessary funds had to be developed.

The planning operation was blessed with two overriding factors. First, the freshman class entering in the fall of 1968 was much smaller than was expected, heightening an already difficult financial problem. Second, a wave of student insurrections passed over the colleges of the country, lending support to the notion that something was wrong with higher education. Perhaps more important, however, was the general feeling on the campus that the educational direction of the College was not well defined. Whatever the reason, cooperation with the Group on the part of faculty and students was sincere.

It was also at this point that the President's Planning Group made a fortunate major decision that governed all of the subsequent planning effort. Every suggestion received by or generated within the Group was to be considered in positive terms. This was to be done even to the extent of seeing what modifications or "twists" could be introduced to make even the most unpalatable idea seem tasty.

It was also significant that from the very start, the Group was committed to submitting a first report during March of 1969. This insured that the Group was committed to an intensive work effort in getting a planning program under way.

The first task was to assess the present status of the College. For this purpose, fifteen items were considered:

1. The Alumnus
2. The Student Applicant
3. The Undergraduate Student
4. Graduate Study
5. The Campus Resources
6. The Faculty
7. The Administrative Structure and Decision-Making
8. Research at WPI
9. WPI and The Greater Worcester Community
10. WPI and the Academic World
11. WPI and Industry
12. WPI and Society at Large
13. The Public Image of WPI
14. The Financial Status of WPI
15. The Two Tower(s) Tradition

To supply data for the checklist, and to start with a "We-must-be-doing-something-right" approach, it was decided to inquire of the "early decision" group admitted for the fall of 1969 what made them choose WPI, and to inquire of organizations who recruit personnel at WPI what their opinions of the graduates might be. Questionnaires were prepared for each group and distributed by the admissions and placement offices respectively.

In order to solicit as many ideas as possible, the Planning Group, in subsets of two, visited each academic department, the Library staff, and the Alden Research Laboratory. Individual contributions and long range departmental plans were requested.

The Office of Student Affairs contributed the results from an extensive questionnaire developed by the Educational Testing Service. Two-hundred and two students from WPI, mostly seniors and selected at random from the various living groups, responded. The questions pertained to all aspects of college life as well as to personal and family background. It provided a partial profile of the student-body.

Two "good friends of the College" prepared a critical analysis of WPI which was made available to the Group. This document turned out to be very important, for obviously these two friends had the one thing the Planning Group lacked seriously - a way of developing quantitative information for comparison of WPI with other colleges.

While the work of gathering data was going on, the Group also began to develop a series of "possible" objectives for the College. This proved to be difficult in terms of fundamentals of educational philosophy, so initial efforts were framed at a slightly different level. The number of "possibles" was reduced to the following:

1. To provide high-quality pre-graduate education in engineering and science.

2. To educate for leadership and decision-making in a technological society.

3. To provide a classical education in engineering and science in the Oxford-Cambridge manner.

4. To become a research-oriented graduate center in engineering and science.

5. To become a middle college.

6. To train students for a Bachelor of Science degree in Technology.

7. To specialize in educating the underprivileged.

8. To promote invention and entrepreneurship.

9. To transform ourselves into a general university.

10, To join the State University.

11. To maintain the status quo.

12. An appropriate combination of the above

Summary descriptions of each of these objectives were prepared for the initial report with completed essays on four of them. Completed essays on the remaining "possibles" were prepared for the second report.

In March 1969 the Group submitted its first report containing a preliminary schedule of the planning operation, a partial analysis of the present status of the College, the twelve objectives with summary discussions of all, essays of four, and summaries of the results of the questionnaires and interviews. The report emphasized that WPI should commit itself to a single objective and establish effective quality control procedures by June 1970. President Storke distributed the report to the faculty, staff, Board of Trustees, and selected members of the student body and alumni. At the same time, the Planning Group prepared additional questionnaires for the faculty, staff, alumni, and trustees on the one hand, and for the student body on the other. The Group also recommended that the College cancel classes for one day during April 1969, during which the College community could talk together about the future of the College with the report as a basis,

About 150 students (10%) and 130 faculty (80%) joined in the Planning Day discussions. Eight groups of about 35 members each carried on day-long discussions. Each group had a moderator and a recorder, and complete records of each recorder's minutes were collected and placed in the library's reference section for further study by those interested. While there was considerable apprehension that some of the sessions might turn into "gripe" sessions, fears were unfounded. The constructive inputs from the students was particularly impressive.

Just after the publication of the first report of the Planning Group, the Board of Trustees named Dr. George W. Hazzard to succeed General Storke as president of the Worcester Polytechnic Institute. President elect Hazzard immediately made it clear that he wanted the work of the Group to continue. 83

During the month of May 1969, the-Planning Group asked the faculty to replace them. The faculty approved the request unanimously and elected a Planning Committee of six.

Also during the month of May 1969, the Planning Group in subsets of two visited all the fraternities and dormitories of the College to talk with the students about their reactions to the planning effort, to the College's programs, and their feelings about WPI in general.

President-elect Hazzard asked that the planning work continue through the summer, with the objective of narrowing the possible goals of the College to one or two.

On 30 June the Planning Group and the Faculty-elected Planning Committee, working jointly, and joined by an executive secretary, completed a second report. This second report contained essays on five of the possible objectives described only in summaries in the first report, a summary of responses to the questionnaires to students, and faculty, trustees, and alumni, a summary of the conclusions drawn from the April 1969 Planning Day (Planning Day I), summaries of the discussions with the various student living groups, and a completion of the study of the present status of the College through an additional discussion of the financial status.

Beginning with the month of July 1969, the planning task was assumed by the faculty-elected Planning Committee. It might be noted that to this point, the planning work was done without any allocated funds, necessary expenses being handled by the President's office. One of President Hazzard's first acts was to approve a budget estimate for the work of the Planning Committee.

It was during the first weeks of July that the wisdom of the decision to evaluate all objectives positively became clear. Even a cursory glance at the list of possible objectives shows that some were tactics rather than objectives, No member of the original Planning Group or of the Planning Committee believed that any of the twelve objectives described in the first two reports was, by itself, a valid statement of educational philosophy, or an exclusive description of the kind of graduate the College should produce. The essays on the positive aspects of the possible objectives did show a common thread of educational philosophy.

At least two weeks of hard discussion was required before the Committee were ready to discuss specific program proposals. The Committee recognized that the result of the summer's work would be a commitment to a particular program, or programs, which would have a lasting effect on the College and on themselves. Ultimately, each member was asked to produce a brief statement of goal, educational program, and thoughts on organization. When these statements were presented, there was remarkable unanimity among them. From this point on, the work of developing the goal statement and educational program proceeded rapidly.

It is important to note that during this period, and indeed during the entire planning process from the beginning to the current report, the administration made no attempt to control the discussion except to offer encouragement and cooperation in terms of supplying information, The President and the Dean of Faculty were kept informed of the Committee activities, as were the original members of the President's Planning Group, through minutes of the meetings. Suggestions were occasionally solicited from the administration and were received, but such instances were few, and the suggestions were not always incorporated.

The remainder of the summer of 1969 was used to put the plan into writing in skeletal form for a third progress report. The objective in doing this was to place the model before the WPI community in such form as to encourage the participation of everyone concerned in developing the final version. Such items as sample curricula, faculty teaching loads, and student living accommodations were excluded in favor of emphasis on philosophical and educational advantages of the program. Thus, the third report contained: (1) a preliminary statement of goal, (2) a summary of considerations involved in developing the program, 85 (3) a description of the proposed program in terms of educational tools and degree requirements, (4) a suggested organization of the College, (5) an essay of the coordination of the College community life with the academic purpose, (6) a discussion of the logistics of executing the proposed program, and (7) a proposal for involvement of the entire community in development of a final program. The third report was released in mid-September of 1969, and a second Planning Day was scheduled for early October.

In retrospect, perhaps it would have been better to release the report simultaneously with an oral presentation and a series of faculty discussion meetings before Planning Day II. The skeletal outline was simply not enough to make the faculty feel comfortable with the plan. In addition, because the final model was developed during the summer when there was a minimum of conversation between the Planning Committee and the rest of the faculty, the plan came as a surprise to many. The very nature of the report, its skeletal form, required that a maximum of space be devoted to explanation of the things that were new and different and a minimum of space be devoted to things that were usual or well-understood.

In spite of strong negative reactions on the part of many of the faculty and students, there were many others who were enthusiastic.

In the third report it was proposed to set up nine subcommittees to investigate the specifics of the model: (1) Environment, (2) Courses, (3) Examinations, (4) Financing and Cost Estimation, (5) The Graduate Program, (6) Advising, (7) Organization of the College, (8) Implementation, and (9) Development of Program Support. Volunteers were solicited for staffing these subcommittees from the staff and student body. Ultimately 90 students and 74 faculty served. The subcommittee work consumed most of the months of November and December 1969, and the reports of six of the subcommittees were distributed, unedited and without comment, to the WPI community during January and February of 1970.

Early in December of 1969 the Planning Committee sought the help of a psychological counselor to review the model and meet with the subcommittees on the environment and advising. His report was released to the College Student Newspaper.

Aided by comments of several of the faculty, the Committee prepared a final version of the statement of goal for the College. This statement was submitted to the faculty at its December 1969 meeting and was endorsed by them as the ultimate goal of the College.

While the subcommittee work was proceeding, the Committee developed such details as sample student programs, allotment of time for both students and faculty, and revised statements of degree requirements and definitions of educational tools.

The final report was then prepared, based on all the information supplied.

APPENDIX B.: The Present Status of the College

The "present status" of the College was summarized in the first two reports of the President's Planning Group, The Future of Two Towers (TT,I), and The Future of Two Towers, Part II (TT,II) published in March and July of 1969, respectively. Since the publishing of those reports, there have been several changes. Some curricula have been relaxed, and some departments have framed more definite goals. The information on which the analysis was based is, as of Spring 1970, one year older. Most of the information, however, is still valid in the opinion of the Planning Committee and furnishes much of the background in which the proposed Plan was framed.

The relevant parts of the previous reports are as follows

1. The Student
TT,I: pp. 10-14, pp. 83-90; TT,II: pp. 50-63, pp. 64-66

2. The Alumnus
TT,I: pp. 9-10; TT,II: pp. 50-63

3. Graduate Study and Research
TT,I: pp. 14-15, pp. 20-23

4. The Faculty
TT,I: pp. 16-19, pp. 91-96; TT,II: pp. 50-63

5. Administrative Structure and Decision-Making
TT,I: pp. 19-20

6, WPI and Its Relations with Society
TT,I: pp. 24-29

7. The Financial Status of WPI
TT,I: pp. 30-31; TT,II: pp. 67-69

APPENDIX C: A Sampling of Program Developments in Other Colleges and Universities

In the course of its work, the Planning Committee have been deluged with literature on the educational reforms in the United States. Much of the material has been placed at the Reference Desk in Gordon Library. Yet, one question which has been raised continuously since the publication of The Future of Two Towers Part III has been, "What are other colleges doing?" In this Appendix a small sampling of some of this material is presented.

From: John C. Wilson, chairman of the Xerox Corporation, reported in the New York Times, November 9, 1969

"...businessmen and scientists have a moral imperative to extend their technology to society...All of us must accept the fact that our technology has not lived up to its obligations to society...Technology has widened the gap in society more dangerously in the past 20 years.... Technological companies are at the center of social change and therefore have a responsibility. Those in the inner city have derived little benefit from technology." From: The Philadelphia Inquirer, November 27, 1969

Hiram College Professor...sums up today's student "He doesn't want to be an IBM card."

The student wants to study things that interest and concern him. He seeks a close relationship with his professors. He wants to plan his own course of study, not have it imposed on him.

Toward these goals, Hiram College this year introduced a new curriculum in which freshmen study such problems as alienation and the generation gap, professors meet their students in conversation groups of 10 to 12 and contemporary films and drama supplement lectures and the classic books,

Students, freed from many rigid requirements and arid survey courses may devise unique study programs that cut across departmental lines. They can get credit for extracurricular endeavors such as social work or tutoring disadvantaged youngsters.

From: UPI on Hiram College Program (undated)

Aspects of the new curriculum applicable to Hiram's upperclassmen, as well as freshmen, are the replacement of "majors" by areas of concentration and establishment of interdisciplinary courses taught by at least two professors from at least two departments.

The areas of concentration in which the students study in depth for two years may involve a single academic department or cut across departmental lines....And there was another observable effect - the enthusiasm of the faculty members, young and old, artists and scientists, who put their small groups of freshmen through their initial paces. Language teachers guided filmmakers, mathematicians conducted discussions of literature, and scientists evaluated oral and written communication.

From: Professor Jerrold Zacharias to the Boston Herald-Traveler, December 31, 1969

"I'd like to see students working together in self-selected groups of one to four on projects they have conceived themselves, for the length of time they want to pursue them."..."Colleges must find a way so that the student can call his soul his own. The tyranny of the bell has got to go. The 50-minute hour is no way that any professional scientist has ever worked."...."We want them (the students) to be as broad as possible, but eventually they come down to a problem to be solved." He cited the case of a current...freshman who wanted to study rats and how to fight them. Eventually he got to breeding habits and then mating calls, which brought him into the area of ultrasound.

From: The New York Times, January 28, 1970, on the MIT Unified Science Study Program

The students attend no lectures, take no exams, get no grades. They need not worry about competing with each other, compiling prerequisites for other courses or any of the other obstacles that generations of freshmen have been compelled to hurdle - often in complete boredom. Instead, the student picks a problem that interests him and attacks it from all angles. The theory is that if he can study what excites him and if the topic is chosen properly, he will necessarily learn all the physics, biology and calculus he would normally have gotten and much more.

"Higher education should be organized to offer alternative styles and paces. This is not available and we wanted a program to allow for this - so a student can afford the luxury of getting into something. It is the essential irony of the way we teach today that he can follow what interests him only at a penalty to himself."

From: Harvard Today, February-March 1970, p. 7

....on suggestions received in response to a call for curriculum review...."Eliminate courses as degree requirements. Measure a student's progress by examinations which he would take when he felt prepared.... Give students a choice between taking a traditional discipline or a new "problem-oriented institute" or partial credit for work experience, or combining these....Abolish lecture courses for the most part, and replace them with small seminars, workshops, laboratory groups....Set up a new "dossier" system for evaluating students' performance, thus permitting greater flexibility than does the present system of grading."

From: The AAUP Bulletin, Autumn 1967, by Ralph A. Raimi

....on the present grading scheme....It is beloved of mediocre students because it offers a measure of safety against the discovery of ignorance. Small parcels of knowledge are easily arrived at; nothing very profound can be concealed in any one of them. Once such a parcel is delivered up to a small examination, it may be more or less safely abandoned there; if the final examination attempts to call up more of them than the student retains, he has several good grades in the bank, as it were, to balance that last debt.

From: The Columbia Chronicle, October 1969

The School of Engineering and Applied Sciences has instituted a degree-granting program in environmental science and engineering that will deal with such subjects as ecological imbalance, pollution, resources, protection and environmental control.

Students in the School will be able to earn master's and doctor's degrees in the field by taking courses in eight different departments including biology, chemical and electrical engineering, geography, geology, and urban planning. From: Report of Unidentified newspaper on Rhode Island College

....If the proposals are adopted, requirement for a bachelor's degree would be a minimum of 32 academic course units plus a one year physical education program. Individual course requirements now in effect such as english composition, foreign language, speech, and mathematics would be eliminated.

Dr. Patrick J. O'Regan....said, "Students have developed interests before they ever arrive at college. These proposals attempt to recognize this by making the curriculum adaptable rather than forcing students into a rigid academic system....Our proposals are aimed at placing the emphasis in course on how people work or how they approach problems rather than the standard course content which focuses on the information people have gleaned from working in a field."

From: Malcolm G. Scully, on Stanford University

Two beliefs were implicit in the changes being adopted this fall. (1) Colleges and Universities have failed to produce little-league Renaissance men in four years. Efforts to do so usually have resulted in watered-down courses, alienated students, and bored professors. (2) Students should have the prime responsibility for designing their education. The institution is responsible for developing the students as gatherers of knowledge, not for specifying the knowledge he should gather. Herbert L. Packer says, "There is no fixed body of knowledge that everyone should acquire. The knowledge explosion has demolished that idea. The undergraduate years ought to be the time not for stuffing one's head full of knowledge, but rather for learning how one goes about acquiring knowledge."

From: Scientific Research, October 13, 1969, by D. Maddox

An experiment at Caltech in student-directed research on such socially relevant problems as pollution and education has survived its second summer and may live on to a ripe old age.

The purpose of the work, managed by the Research Center of Associated Students of the California Institute of Technology....is involvement and relevance. The student participants....are social activists. They believe that research is only the means to an end, and the end is change...."I don't think they contributed much to solving smog. But who has?" said William Corcoran, Caltech professor of chemical engineering, formerly a harsh critic of the...Research Center, who now accepts its work with reservations...."Don't underestimate them," Corcoran continued, "The big story is the educational value of undergraduates learning to assume authority and responsibility, the goal of any teaching institution. Payoff is in terms of development of people. In this case that's more important than the substantive matter developed along the way."

From: Nell Eurich, Dean of Faculty, Vassar College

....The independent program permits the student to select and combine courses to pursue his own goals. Here is the greatest freedom, but also the greatest responsibility for the student. While the selection must have faculty approval (they still give a degree for completing courses) and must, to discourage dilettantism, include a sufficient amount of advanced work, the student is genuinely on his own in carrying out a personal plan of studies.... From: American International College Alumni Magazine, Spring 1969

"The students cannot be so engaged unless the opportunity for real self-determination and self-realization is afforded; for those who can see other and better possibilities, the lock-step progression from "extensive 101" to "intensive 406" must be eliminated. The deadly measuring out of life in three semester-hour coffee spoons must end. We must believe, not merely say, that we cannot really teach anyone, but only help a student to learn. We must begin where he is, and with the things that are meaningful to him. We can hope to lead him to understanding and even to an appreciation of those things which are meaningful to us but only if the students know that we are truly engaged in a common intellectual enterprise. The prescribed curriculum, the required texts, the endless exams, breed ten vigorous anti-intellectuals for every student they bring to the expected take-off point of independent mental life.

From: Paul L. Dressel and Frances H. DeLisle, American Council on Education

Faculty interests, publicity, institution prestige, opportunism, and experience in responding to pressure or to availability of financial resources are more potent determiners of specific change than is deliberation based on educational goals, social needs, and the abilities and aspirations of students.

APPENDIX D: Project Generation

A. Introduction

Projects and Independent Study activities would be generated and operated in a variety of ways. Initially, it would be the faculty members themselves who must take the initiative in translating years of professional experience into sound project activities. In this effort they would be assisted by an environment where time and student attitude would be conducive to project development and increased administrative support to encourage the development and operation of new project ideas. Activity would take several forms:

1. Part-time, on-campus
2. Part-time, off-campus
3. Full-time, on-campus
4. Full-time, off-campus In addition, numerous projects would be generated off-campus with the subsequent work being carried out on campus.

Each form of activity would tend to identify with a certain area; for example, the part-time activities would usually be appropriate for preliminary work, while full-time activity would be more suitable for work on qualifying projects. It might be expected that full-time off campus work would serve primarily the industrial and social-service activity (see the "Station Concept"), while full-time on-campus work would be more suitable for those engaged in research of humanistic studies.

The following sections consider several of the activities in detail.

B. On-Campus Projects - Project Generation through Spin-Off

A very powerful method of generating projects which would serve not only to involve underclassmen in a meaningful project experience but also increase the efficiency of upperclassmen and graduate students in their project and thesis work would be by "spin-off." Nearly every project effort, at some point or another, requires that some work be done which could be handled by other disciplines or by students at less sophisticated stages of development. An example of this is illustrated below:

Main Project: Study of the Mechanism of Combustion in Ducted Diffusion Flames (two advanced senior or graduate students in applied chemistry or gas dynamics.)

1. Sub-project: Solution of second-order, non-linear partial differential equations with non-uniform boundary conditions (senior applied mathematics major.)

a. Computer programming of numerical methods (sophomore or junior)
b. Computer program for data reduction (sophomore or junior)

2. Sub-project: Calculation of complex thermodynamic equilibrium by direct minimization of Gibbs' function (junior chemistry or applied chemistry major,)

a. Solution of simultaneous non-linear equations (junior applied mathematics major.)
b. Arrangement of data file for easy computer access (computer science freshman or sophomore.)

3. Sub-project: Chemical analyses of quenched combustion products and liquid fuel (analytical chemistry junior.)

a. Calibration of gas chromatograph (freshman or sophomore)
b. wet chemistry analysis of condensed products (sophomore)
c. Elemental analysis of liquid fuel (sophomore or junior chemistry major.)

4. Sub-project: Development and calibration of flow meters (applied hydraulics major):

Calibration of sampling rate meter (freshman or sophomore.)

5. Sub-project: Isometric representation of semi-elliptical cylindrical fuel injector (freshman in graphics.)

C. Part-time Off-Campus IS/P

A significant number of projects would involve a blend of off-campus and on-campus work wherein real life problems generated by industry and government will be taken to the campus for solution. Close liaison between the source agency and the campus would be necessary.

The change in emphasis from industrially-oriented technology to socially oriented technology may be a major feature of the decade ahead. Considering the traditional engineering orientation of WPI there would be no question but that initially the great majority of off-campus projects would involve private industry. While private industry would provide the prime source of engineering and scientific projects it would be through governmental and voluntary agencies that the bulk of the off-campus humanistic and socially-oriented projects would occur. It is expected that as the federal government provides the monetary incentive to solve social problems in the 70's as it did to solve defense and space problems in the 50's and 60's, responsive private industry would also be a source of problems oriented more towards society in general.

It would be anticipated that the approach to most projects involving an off-campus relationship will take the following form:

1. Course preparation leading to a capability in a certain area.
2. Field visitation to obtain an understanding of the problem, obtain data and coordinate with on-going activity.
3. Development of the study on campus, using WPI facilities, faculty advisors, and educational resources. Continuing field work will be performed as needed.
4. Report of findings to interested faculty and associated agencies.

There would be two basic criteria for part-time off-campus project work:

1. The project must provide the opportunity for the student to learn.
2. The project must offer the student a reasonable possibility of achieving a meaningful conclusion.

The importance of arriving at project definitions which satisfy the above criteria could not be underestimated. Nothing is learned in our experience which is trivial or routine for the student. At the same time an experience in sheer frustration could leave a young student as cold and bitter as any bad classroom experience. Projects for the sake of doing projects could be a waste of time and counterproductive in the learning process unless they were selected with great care. Project assignment and control must remain with WPI.

It is always satisfying to undertake a study from "scratch," and carry it through and to its ultimate conclusion. A two-term-period of heavy involvement would be the ideal part-time project duration from a strictly academic point of view. Experience indicates that projects develop auxiliary projects, and it is often necessary to carry them on over a much longer period of time. Within such a framework, however, it would be necessary to set reporting dates not exceeding a four month interval to provide for critical evaluation and hopefully the sense of accomplishment the students would need, Therefore, within a given project which might have a continuing nature, it would be essential that project sub-goals be established so that the students might identify the results of their individual efforts. This sense of individual identification would be absolutely essential for the program to be successful.

D. Full-time Off-campus IS/P in Industry - the Station Concept

Perhaps the most common form of industrial internship in current use is that of the cooperative college, where students alternate between their academic program at the college and working for cooperating industrial concerns. While there is no disputing the merit of these programs, their chief purpose is one of supplying financial aid to the student, and there is little control of the student's internship activity by the college. There are, of course, certain educational advantages involved just because of experience. What is desired for the WPI plan, however, would be an internship more closely related to the student's technological interests.

It is proposed, therefore, that WPI enlist the aid of a variety of companies in setting up sub-stations of the College at company plants to which WPI students might go for their off-campus project experience. The students would work on plant problems, at the plant site, in cooperation with plant personnel and under the overall supervision of WPI faculty. The students would not receive payment for their work, but would pay tuition for the experience as they would pay for any other part of their education.

For the internship to be a successful educational experience, several conditions must be met. There must be an ongoing operation with fairly well-established procedures so that the student would spend a minimum amount of time in becoming familiar with the plant and its operations, and could get to work on his problem in a relatively short time. There must be firm direction with maximum student responsibility and uncompromising standards in report preparation to maintain morale. WPI must maintain control of the problem selection.

It is essential that the participating company recognize that the main purpose of the station is educational, not to supply immediate help on plant problems At the same time, the problems must be of sufficient priority that the company has a genuine interest in their solution and cooperation of plant personnel is assured. Routine testing operations would not be acceptable as problems; acceptance tests on new equipment would be acceptable.

The student must participate on a full time basis. Only students who have demonstrated, by acceptable work at WPI, the necessary aptitude and sense of responsibility should be assigned to the station.

In general the station would consist of two WPI staff, approximately 15 students usually in their last year at WPI, a secretary, and laboratory and office facilities.

The participating company would supply:

Supplies and equipment
Secretarial services and office supplies
Office and working space and furnishings
Library facilities
Consultants from plant personnel
Preliminary problem selection
Cooperation in scheduling of plant operations where necessary

WPI would supply:

A director and assistant director
Overall direction, final problem selection, assignments and evaluation
Liability insurance
Student living accommodations

The student would supply:

Tuition and fees at prevailing campus rates
Travel to and from the station
Clothing and personal supplies
Room and board fees
Operation of the Station

To administer the student activities, WPI would provide, at its expense, a Director with the faculty rank of Assistant Professor and an Assistant Director with the rank of Instructor. The latter would be an advanced graduate student who has had the internship experience. The Director would be expected to serve two years and the Assistant Director for one year. (Not only would the station provide the desired internship experience for the students, but it could be used to provide valuable industrial experience for new faculty. In addition, the activities of the station could be a source of problems for the Studies and Study-Conferences at WPI itself.)

While the Director should be free to make modifications in the program, the general mode of operation would be built around seven-week problems, worked on by two and three-man teams with one man acting as team leader.

The problems would be selected from some phase of plant operations production, development, or research. A good problem would fulfill certain basic criteria. It would require broad usage engineering fundamentals, technical judgment, and common sense, rather than detailed and specialized experience for its solution. Giving a student a chance to apply his education to real problems is one of the main educational goals of the station. Problems with reasonable priority assure maximum cooperation between the plant personnel and the student, but the problem should not be so proscribed that the student team requires constant direct supervision by plant personnel. The problem should be selected so that significant conclusions can be anticipated within the seven-week problem period. It is preferred that plant personnel act in a consultative and endorsing capacity to allow the student team as much freedom of technical action as possible.

Certain logistic support from the plant would be necessary. About 800 square feet of office space would be required to house the Directors and a secretary and to provide desk-type working space for the students. Some additional laboratory space should also be provided to allow independent investigations when the Directors feel this would be worthwhile.

Some time before a problem would actually be assigned to a student team, one of the Directors would meet with a plant engineer or scientist to set up the problem. This meeting could come about either by the submission of a problem by the plant man to the Director through a semiformal procedure or as a result of a more-or-less continual canvassing of the plant by the Director. At this initial meeting the director and plant man (consultant) would agree on the problem scope, objectives, possible plans of attack, support, and equipment scheduling. While these people would try to anticipate sound approaches to the problem, the actual approach is selected by the student team, working with the Director and the consultant. The Director would then write up a problem statement, indicating background and nature of the problem, the name of the consultant, and the name of the Director in charge. The statement should be approved by the consultant before being presented to the team.

After a conference with the consultant for information and orientation, the student team would spend a few days preparing a work plan. This plan would be presented in writing to the consultant and the Directors and orally to the other students and interested plant personnel. When an approved plan has been developed, the students would carry out whatever work was indicated. While the student team leader would keep the Director and the consultant informed on progress, one or more formal progress report sessions would be held to assure all concerned that objectives were being met.

After about five to six weeks, the student team would write a report on the work. These reports should be fully documented with professional analysis and good quality art work. The reports would be carefully gone over by the Directors and returned for correction and re-writing when necessary. Upon final acceptance by the Directors, the report would be typed, duplicated, and distributed to interested persons.

A specific company employee should be made responsible for liaison between the plant and the station. This person should be fairly well up the management chain, and he should have broad technical capabilities covering all of the plant operations. He, in turn, might have a committee of technical personnel who would be the key consultants from whom the Directors could get problems and who could work with the students. Successful operation of the station would depend on the availability of good consultants. While the consultants would be in actual contact with the student team a maximum of 10 percent of the problem period, they would have to be able to give freely of their experience when needed.

In order to protect both the participating company and WPI, the student would be expected to sign patent and proprietary rights agreements.

It should be noted that, in contrast with the other aspects of the proposed plan, the student would be assigned a problem. He could, of course, choose the station in accordance with his general area of interest. This is not inconsistent with a real life situation.

(A program of the type described has been in operation by MIT's Department of Chemical Engineering for about 50 years and has been very successful. The foregoing plan of operation has been patterned after that program.)

E. A Humanistic-Technological Example

Project Specification: To develop a learning system using computer aided instruction to increase the mathematical proficiency of black engineering students from culturally deprived backgrounds.

Discussion: There is growing evidence that the basic symbolic and conceptual patterns by which an individual codifies the world around him differ substantially between the white middle class and the black ghetto resident, It is likely that even the basic number concepts are different. It follows that educational proposals to aid the black student or other disadvantaged group are implicitely patterned after middle class conceptual insights which may be quite skewed in meaning to the very people that the program seeks to aid. This project demands, then, a very close interaction among the people involved in the technical and human aspects of the problem.

The question of the validity of separating out groups for special treatment would be another important facet of the overall problem that would by no means be easily answered.

APPENDIX E: Possible Major and Minor Programs

A Possible Program for Chemical Engineering Majors

A Possible Subdivision of Program Units
IS/P Qualifying Requirement 2
IS/P Elective 2
Major 13/3
Mathematics, Science, Engineering 7/3
Social Studies 1/3
Free 5

A Possible Selection of Study Conferences and Studies

Mass Transfer 1/3
Energy Transfer 1/3
Chemical Kinetics 1/3
Thermodynamics 2/3
Fluid Mechanics 1/3
Industrial Chemistry 1/3
Organic Chemistry 2/3
Inorganic Chemistry 2/3
Physical Chemistry 2/3
Mathematics 4/3
Statics and Dynamics 1/3
Optics 1/3
Electricity 1/3
Economics 1/3
Free 5
Qualifying Projects 2
Projects 4/3
Independent-Study 2/3

A Possible Program for Civil Engineering Majors

A Possible Subdivision of Program Units
IS/P Qualifying Requirement 2
IS/P Elective 2
Major Engineering 4
Ancillary Engineering 4
Basic Mathematics and Science 2
Free 4

A Possible Selection of Study-Conferences and Studies

Mathematics 4/3
Basic Science 2/3
Engineering Mechanics 1
Basic Structural Engineering 1
Ecological Studies (including Sociological and Environmental) 1
Transportation 1/3
Planning 2/3
Fluid Mechanics and Hydraulics 1/3
Systems 1/3
Economics 1/3
Government 1/3
G. E. Major 2/3
Free 4
Qualifying Projects 2
Projects 4/3
Independent-Study 2/3

A Possible Program for Electrical Engineering Majors
Minor in American Literature

A Possible Subdivision of Program Units
IS/P Qualifying Requirement 2
IS/P Elective 2
Engineering 13/3
Mathematics - Science 3
Humanities/Social Studies 3
(Minor in American Literature)
Free 5/3

A Possible Selection of Study-Conference and Studies

Fundamentals of Electrical Engineering 1/3
Electric Circuits 2/3
Time Frequency Analysis 1/3
Electronics 2/3
Electromagnetic Theory 1/3
Energy Conversion 1/3
Feedback Analysis 1/3
Communications 1/3
Random Signal Analysis 1/3
Switching Circuits (Logic) 1/3
Statics and Dynamics 1/3
Physics 2/3
Chemistry 1/3
Mathematics 5/3
Computer Science 1/3
Philosophy 2/3
Business 2/3
American Literature (minor) 5/3
Free 5/3
Qualifying Projects 2
Projects 4/3
Independent-Study 2/3

A Possible Program for Management Engineering Majors
Minor in Humanities

A Possible Subdivision of Program Units
IS/P Qualifying Requirement 2
IS/P Elective 2
Major 8/3
Engineering 9 /3
Mathematics - Science 8/3
Humanities/Social Studies 7/3
Free 4/3

A Possible Selection of Study-Conferences and Studies

Management Engineering 8/3
Solid & Fluid Mechanics, Thermodynamics 4/3
Materials 2/3
Electrical Engineering 2/3
Computer Science 1/3
Mathematics 4/3
Physics 3/3
Chemistry 1/ 3
Humanities/Social Studies 7/3
Free 4/3
Qualifying Projects 2
Projects 4/3
Independent-Studs 2/3

A Possible Program for Mechanical Engineering Majors
Specialization in Gas Dynamics
Minor in English Literature

A Possible Subdivision of Program Units
IS/P Qualifying Requirement 2
IS/P Elective 7/3
Engineering 6
Mathematics - Science 8/3
Humanities/Social Studies 7/3
Business l/3
Free 1/3

A Possible Selection of Study-Conferences and Studies

Statics and Dynamics 2/3
Strength of Materials l/3
Thermodynamics 2/3
Fluid Mechanics l/3
Gas Dynamics l/3
Heat Transfer 1/3
Controls l/3
Materials 1/3
Vibrations 1/3
M.H.D. 1/3
Combustion 1/3
Digital Comp. 1/3
Measurements Lab 1/3
Business l/3
Mathematics 4/3
Physics - Chemistry 4/3
Electrical Engineering 3/3
English 5/3
History 1/3
Philosophy 1/3
Free 1/3
Qualifying Projects 2
Projects 2
Indedendent-Study (English) 1/3

A Possible Program for Chemistry Majors

A Possible Subdivision of Program Units
IS/P Qualifying Requirement 2
IS/P Elective 2
Study-Conferences and Studies 19/3
Free 17/3

A Possible Selection of Study-Conferences and Studies

General Chemistry 2/3
Physical Chemistry 2/3
Organic Chemistry 2/3
Inorganic Chemistry 2/3
Mathematics 4/3
Electromagnetic Theory 2/3
Optics 1/3
Mechanics 1/3
Free 17/3
Qualifying Projects 2
Projects 1
Independent-Study 1

A Possible Program for Mathematics Majors

A Possible Subdivision of Program Units
IS/P Qualifying Requirement 2
IS/P Elective 1
Major 7/3
Science, Engineering, and Basic Mathematics 11/3
Humanities/Social Studies 2
Free 5

A Possible Selection of Study-Conferences and Studies

Introduction to Modern Algebraic Theory 2/3
Advanced Calculus 2/3
Geometry 1/3
Introduction to Topology 1/3
Complex Variables 1/3
Physics 2/3
Physical Science 4/3
Basic Mathematics 4/3
Computer Science 1/3
Humanities/Social Studies 2
Free 5
Qualifying Projects 2
Independent-Study 1

A Possible Program for Physics Majors

A Possible Subdivision of Program Units
IS/P Qualifying Requirement 2
IS/P Elective 2
Basic Physics and Chemistry 4/3
Advanced Physics 11/3
Mathematics 5/3
Humanities/Social Studies 2
Free 10/3

A Possible Selection of Study-Conferences and Studies

Theoretical Mechanics 1/3
Electrodynamics 2/3
"Modern" Physics (mostly quantum mechanics) 2/3
Statistical Physics 1/3
Optics 1/3
Astronomy 1/3
Electronics 1/3
Solid State Physics 1/3
Nuclear Physics 1/3
Basic Physics 1
Basic Chemistry 1/3
Mathematics 5/3
Computer Science 1/3
Humanities/Social Studies 2
Free 3
Qualifying Projects 2
Projects 2/3
Independent-Study 4/3

A-Possible Program for Business-Technology Majors

A Possible Subdivision of Program Units
IS/P Qualifying Requirement 2
IS/P Elective 2
Major Area 3
Economics 4/3
Humanities/Social Studies 2
Mathematics, Science, Engineering 4
Free 5/3

Examples of Independent-Study and Project Areas

Techniques and Analysis of Marketing a Product
Optimising Purchasing, Production, and Inventory
Social Responsibilities of Business
Capital Expenditure Planning
Alternative Sources of Financing
Business Forecasting
Personnel and Labor Relations
The Domestic Firm and International Finance
Financial Markets and Security Analysis

Possible Study-Conferences and Studies

Management of Production
Financial Management
Quantitative Methods in Business
Business Law
Capital Markets and Financial Institutions
Business in Society
Marketing Management
Investment and Security Analysis

Possible Minor Programs in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering
(Suggestion: 2 basic units and 2 elective units in sequence)

Electrical Engineering
Chemical Engineering
City Planning
Mechanical Engineering
Computer Science

A Possible Program for Economics-Technology Majors

A Possible Subdivision of Program Units
IS/P Qualifying Requirement 2
IS/P Elective 2
Major Area 3
Business and Management 1
Humanities/Social Studies 2
Mathematics, Science, Engineering 4
Free 2

Examples of Independent-Study and Project Areas

Economics of Environmental Deterioration
The Economics of Urban and Regional Planning
The Economics of Industrial Organization
The Economics of Optimum Location
Optimum Human Resource Utilization
Government Regulation of Economic Activity
International Business and Finance
Domestic and International Money Management

Possible Study-Conferences and Studies

National Income Analysis
The Theory of the Firm
International Trade and Finance
Comparative Economic Systems
Expenditures, Revenues, and the Federal Budget
Money, Banking, and Monetary Policy
The Economics of Resource Ecology and Man
Social Control of Business
Managerial Economics

Possible Minor Programs in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering
(Suggestion: 2 basic units and 2 elective units in sequence)

Electrical Engineering
Chemical Engineering
City Planning
Mechanical Engineering
Computer Science

A Possible Program for Humanities-Technology Majors

A Possible Subdivision of Program Units
IS/P Qualifying Requirement 2
IS/P Elective 2
Major 6
Science-Engineering Minor 4
Free 2

A Possible Selection of Study-Conferences and Studies
Each 1/3

Primary Sequence:

Literature (English or American or Drama)
History (Modern World or American)
Language (French or German)

Primary Sequence: Literature Combinations such as:


1. Chaucer and Early English Writers
2. Shakespeare
3. English Poetry Since Shakespeare
4. Development of the English Novel
1. American Literature Before the Civil War
2. American Literature Since 1860
3. Contemporary American Drama
4. Modern Novel (Comparative)
1. Shakespeare
2. History of the Theatre (Consortium)
3. Development of European Drama
4. Contemporary American Drama

Primary Sequence: History Combinations such as:


1. Western Ideas and Values or Philosophy
2. Development of Modern Science
3. History of Modern World
4. Contemporary World Problems
1. American History to Civil War
2. American History from Civil War
3. American Government
4. History of U.S. Foreign Policy

Primary Sequence: Language

1. German or French I.
2. German or French II.
3. German or French III.
4. German or French IV.
5. Technical German or French Units

Possible IS/P
Each 1/3

American Science and Technology
American Studies
English and Comparative Literature Topics
Creative Writing and Journalism
Black Studies (Consortium)
Theatre (Consortium)
Philosophy or Religion
Linguistic Studies (Consortium)
Is Not Technology Human Too? (Consortium)
English as a Second Language (Consortium)
Language and the Underprepared
Textbook Writing
Painting and Sculpture (Museum School)
Technical Writing
Media: Radio Programming (with Holy Cross)
Educational Television, Film Making (Consortium)

Possible Elective Study-Conferences and Studies

Study-Conferences and Studies listed in above sequences

General Psychology (Consortium)
Sociology (Consortium)
or Economic Theory
Consortium electives in humanities and arts (after Primary Sequence at WPI)


Oral Communications
Expository Writing
Introduction to Terms and Critical Methods (e.g. literature, history, philosophy, music)
Technical Writing
Introduction to bibliography and research methods
Introduction to Computer Science
William Faulkner

Possible Minor Programs in Science, Mathematics and Engineering
(Suggestion: 2 basic units; 2 elective units in sequence)

Electrical Engineering
Chemical Engineering
Management Engineering
City Planning
Mechanical Engineering
Computer Science

APPENDIX F.: Summary of Total Credit Hours for Present WPI Programs

A summary of total credit hours for present WPI programs is presented in Table F-1. In developing the table courses of one credit or less have not been included. An equivalent number of three credit courses has been obtained by dividing the total credits by three. These three credit course equivalents have been subdivided into major area, technical elective and other.

Table F-1
Summary of Total Credit Hours for Present WPI Programs

Taken from 1969-70 catalog

Bus. Chem Eng. Chem. Civil Eng. Econ. Elect. Eng. Mgt. Eng. Math Mech. Eng. Phys. Hum. Tech Interdisc.
Dept. Req. 12 13 10 23 12 14 61 13 22 21 18 18
Science 39 39 61 36 34 39 36 60 36 75 46 63
Hum./S,S, 48 24 24 24 48 24 21 24 24 12 51 24
Eng. 39 45 25 33
Tech. Elec. 12 9 6 12 17 3 3
Free Elec. 15 9 30 6 18 12 6 30 9 18 9 21
Total Credits 128 133 125 140 124 131 127 127 127 138 124 128
No, of 3-Cr. Course Eq. 43 44 41 47 41 44 42 42 42 46 41 43
No, of Major 3-Cr. Eq. 20 18 23 22 20 13 24 20 18 25 19 23
No. of Tech. Elec. 3-Cr. Eq. 4 3 0 2 4 6 1 4 1 0 2 0
Other 3-Cr. Eq. 19 23 18 23 17 25 17 18 23 21 20 20

APPENDIX G.: Typical Study-Conferences, Studies, Independent-Studies/ Projects, and Sample Examinations

STUDY-CONFERENCE: The Mathematical Modeling of Ecological Systems

This study examines the application of stochastic mathematics to ecological systems. Considerable emphasis is placed on the discussion of the scientific and philosophical validity of mathematically modeling ecological systems. Markovian and non-Markovian stochastic models are studied. The student applies the theory to ecological problems of interest during the Conference sessions. Some background in FORTRAN programming is assumed.

STUDY-CONFERENCE: Fundamentals of Classical Thermodynamics

The development of the second and first laws of thermodynamics will be discussed in their historical frame with emphasis on the experiments which, when generalized, led to the two laws. The application of these two laws to systems of fixed composition will be considered in detail, with emphasis on the first law as relating the physical world to the abstractions of thermodynamics and on the second law as specifying the direction in which processes may proceed and the consequences of the interaction of the two laws in determining the equilibrium to be expected in real systems. In the applications, the interaction of other physical principles with those of thermodynamics will be emphasized. (First Term of a two-Term sequence.)

A knowledge of the operations of differential and integral calculus, partial differentiation, and elementary vector notation will be assumed from mathematics, plus Newtonian mechanics and the principles of conservation of matter.

STUDY-CONFERENCE: Theory of Modern Algebraic Structures

A study of a variety of algebraic theories. An axiomatic approach is taken to a detailed study of such algebraic structures as groups, rings, integral domains, and fields, and there is an introduction to the concept of duality and to Galois theory. In addition, finite dimensional vector spaces over the real and complex number fields, matrix theory, and linear transformations will be considered from both the theoretical and applied points of view.

STUDY-CONFERENCE: Writing and Speaking: A Practical Course in Communicating

A course designed for those people who would like to be shown how to present material and thought easily and effectively both on paper and through oral presentation, There will be ample practice during the course sessions of both composing and speaking. Conferences and television tapes will be used to help the student measure his progress.

STUDY: Partial Differential Equations

Classification and solution of first order and higher order linear partial differential equations. Introduction to Bessel, Legendre, and other orthogonal functions. Boundary value problems, including application of Fourier series, Fourier integrals, and Laplace transforms. (A knowledge of ordinary differential equations and partial differentiation is assumed.)

STUDY: Experimental Laboratory

The student conducts an experimental study of interest to him. Emphasis is placed on the student gaining experience in the use of modern instrumentation in support of a well-designed experiment. Some background is assumed in dimensional analysis.

STUDY: Economics

Principles of cost accounting and cost estimation, forms of financing, preparation and interpretation of balance sheets, market surveying, and accounting methods will be demonstrated.

STUDY: White Man and Black Man in Faulkner's Novels

A study of The Sound and the Fury, Absalom, Absalom, and Light in August with special attention to William Faulkner's views of the white man and the black man in the American South.

INDEPENDENT-STUDY: Application of Group Theory to Physics

Readings in group theory with emphasis on the application of Lie groups to modern physics. This study would involve the student in an extension of his knowledge in classical algebraic theory, advanced study in physics, and the power of the interaction between modern mathematics and physics


A series of research projects examining various aspects of American life and history, utilizing both imaginative and historical literature. American science and technology, the frontier, great love affairs, and the black American are but a few of the topics which might be examined in the novel and in historical documents.

PROJECT: WPI Air-Cushion Vehicle

This project involves the prototype design and testing of an air-cushion vehicle capable of carrying two people. The basic design criteria are adequate performance coupled with maximum economy. The design requires applications of thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, control theory, and strength of materials. Some project members with skills as machinists or fabricators are desirable. The project will be of approximately one year duration. The project team will consist of six members and the project faculty member, Professor Saunders P. Roe.

PROJECT: Combustion of Solid Aerosols

A study of the rates of burning of solid particles dispersed in air is being conducted in the Combustion Laboratory. As a part of this program it is desired to determine the effect of the combustion on the sizes of the particles. The specific problem involves measurement of the size distribution of the particles fed to the flame before and after the combustion process. This will aid in determining what size has to do with the rate of burning. The sizes of the particles can be measured by means of photomicrographs.

The problem is suitable for first or second year students and is a vital link in establishing the validity of the theoretical descriptions of the burning. It is expected that the investigator on this problem will work on this problem unaided except for orientation and help in operation of the equipment by the upperclassmen and graduate students already working on the larger aspects of the problem. Differential and integral calculus and numerical analysis will be applied. Key Words: Aerosol, combustion, distribution functions, statistics, microscopy.

Sample Comprehensive Examination Question: For an Engineering Student

There is renewed interest in vapor-change power plants for automobiles. As the working substance, water has many disadvantages. Design a fluid for use in the power plant. The basic criterion for the design is maximum efficiency of the power plant cycle.

Sample Comprehensive Examination Question: Applied Chemistry

A company produces, as a by-product a large amount of a molten slag which has the following approximate composition:

Species Percent by weight
Fe (as FeO) 36.
SiO2 38.
CaO+MgO 10-12
Cu (as CuO) .5
Mo .5

While this slag contains more iron than some of the ores currently being processed, the small amounts of copper and molybdenum are still greater in dollar value. Further, the materials are apparently in a solid solution.

You are requested to suggest methods of processing this material to recover the copper and molybdenum without losing the possibility of subsequently processing the iron by conventional methods. You may use any method you choose, and you should include a detailed flow chart and indicate the critical parameters of any processing unit required and the amounts of any additional materials used in the processing. At least a rough economic analysis should accompany your report. The fundamental considerations leading to your choice of process must be clearly indicated.

Time allotted: 2 weeks.

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