Worcester Polytechnic Institute

A Planning Program for Worcester Polytechnic Institute: The Future of Two Towers - Part Three: A Model


For purposes of executing the proposed program, it seems advisable to undertake a considerable revision of the organizational structure of the College. There are several suggested key concepts which are shown in Figure 1. Many of the details shown in the figure should be regarded as tentative and open to discussion. Some of the key concepts are discussed below.

A. Program Development and Evaluation.

This group is designed to replace the Planning Committee with the additional responsibility of evaluating the entire program of the College against the stated goals. The group reports directly to the President and consists of faculty members, including administrative officers of faculty status, and students. (It is suggested that there be four members elected by the faculty, one member appointed by the President, and one student. The chairman should be selected from among the elected faculty.) Aiding this group is a Visiting Committee and Board of Examiners made up of people from outside the College, representing industry, education, and government.

B. Two Vice-presidents are suggested.

The Vice-president for Logistics and External Affairs is responsible for the fiscal operation of the College, both in terms of raising funds and in terms of expenditures, for maintenance of the physical plant, for public relations, and for development of non-faculty personnel. The Academic Vice-President, working with the Academic Council (see below) is responsible for the academic operations of the College.

C. The Academic Council.

This group consists of four elected faculty, one appointed faculty, and two students. (Administrative officers of faculty status are considered eligible.) The chairman should be selected from among the elected faculty. The Academic Council is responsible for the academic program of the College, maintenance of standards, implementation of programs, overseeing of admissions policy, student life, and co-ordination of the work of the Council of Advisors (see below) with the Deans of Program Operations and Academic Resources. 1 8 19

D. The Council of Advisors.

Consisting of 6 - 8 selected advisors, bears the main responsibility for communicating the academic and social needs of the students to the Academic Council and the two Deans (see below). Because the needs for projects and courses of various kinds have to be matched with the capabilities of the College, and since it is this group who have the primary input from the students, the College's specific operations start in the Council of Advisors. The executive officer of the Council shall be known as the Registrar.

E. The Dean of Program Operations.

Is responsible for the project and independent study operations of the College. Through his two Co-ordinators the Research and Development and Humanistic-Technological projects are administered. The Field and Campus Administrators take care of purely logistical matters such as liability insurance, transportation, quartering of project personnel, and of financing and maintaining adequate laboratory supplies and equipment. Program operations are staffed from the Study Groups through co-operation with the Dean of Academic Resources.

F. The Dean of Academic Resources

Is responsible for the development and maintenance of the academic resources of the College, including courses, services (consortium instruction, computation facilities, library), and faculty personnel.

A separate discussion of the professional organization of the faculty is in order. A proper environment requires extensive faculty-faculty interchange, so there must be faculty groupings. Because of the problem orientation of the program and the increasing overlap of the various traditional disciplines, it seems wise at this point to abandon the departmental structure of the faculty and to regroup into common areas of study - Study Groups. It is not to be inferred that there need be any permanence to a Study Group, for in the course of time it will be necessary to dissolve some and establish others. The Dean of Academic Resources must bear the ultimate responsibility for seeing that the Study Groups remain relevant. Some suggested Study Groups are shown in Figure 1, but these are subject to considerable revision. It is important to recognize that the common denominator in the Study Groups is the problem orientation rather than the academic background of the members. The Study Groups are collected into three Divisions. Each Study Group Division has a chairman, selected for his professional leadership. The Division Chairmen, in co-operation with the Dean of Academic Resources, are responsible for personnel development of the faculty (including promotion and salary determination) and for determining what courses are to be offered and by whom after consideration of information supplied by the Council of Advisors. Large Study Groups may also select a chairman. Administrative details (work loads, salary allocation, office space) are handled by administrative assistants.

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Last modified: Fri Mar 5 15:28:11 EST 1999