Meet the Deans

As the university's chief academic officer, the provost has oversight responsibilities for all academic departments, plus academic support and resource operations. The provost relies on the collaborative support of the deans, that together with the provost, comprise WPI’s academic leadership team.

Academic Deans


Karen Kashmanian Oates, Dean of Arts and Sciences

As the inaugural arts and sciences dean at WPI, Karen Kashmanian Oates oversees seven academic departments—Biology and Biotechnology, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Computer Science, Humanities and Arts, Mathematical Sciences, Physics, and Social Science and Policy Studies--as well as interdisciplinary programs in Environmental Science and Interactive Media and Game Development. She is responsible for helping to promote WPI's growing investment in the life sciences, which includes the Gateway Park development, the Life Sciences and Bioengineering Center, and the George I. Alden Life Sciences and Bioengineering Educational Center. The former deputy director of undergraduate education at the National Science Foundation's Division of Undergraduate Studies, Oates earned her PhD in biochemistry at George Washington University.

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Office Hours: Dean of Arts and Sciences

Student & Faculty office hours are: Wednesdays from 8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.
We are located in Salisbury Labs 121. You may contact Debra Ofcarcik at +1-508-831-4678 or dofcarcik@wpi.edu to schedule an appointment.


Mark Rice, Dean of Business

Mark Rice took the helm as the former Department of Management was elevated to a School of Business. With full AACSB accreditation, WPI's business programs have gained significant stature. Its MBA program has been a top-ranked program by BusinessWeek since 2007. As Dean, Rice is responsible for creating opportunities that link the School of Business more closely with other parts of the Institution, generating occasions where business will intersect with engineering, science, and technology. Rice joined WPI from Babson College, where he served for six years as the Murata Dean of the F. W. Olin Graduate School of Business and held an appointment as the Frederic C. Hamilton Professor for Free Enterprise.

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Office Hours: Dean of Business

Dean Mark Rice will be holding open office hours in WB 215 on Tuesday, April 23, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. Students are free to stop in. No appointment is necessary.


David Cyganski, Dean of Engineering, ad interim

David Cyganski oversees six academic departments—Biomedical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Fire Protection Engineering and Mechanical Engineering --- which include disciplinary and interdisciplinary programs such as Aerospace Engineering, Architectural Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering and Robotics Engineering. As Dean he is responsible for promoting WPI’s unique project oriented undergraduate program and the cutting edge engineering research efforts in which its faculty and graduate students engage in world class facilities such as the Gateway Park’s Biomedical Engineering and Fire Protection Engineering laboratories. Cyganski has held positions within WPI in the past ranging from Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering to Vice President of Information Systems and Vice Provost. Cyganski, who earned his PhD in Electrical Engineering at WPI, spent most of his academic career as a researcher in the fields of machine vision, radar, communications and development of technologies for first responders.

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Office Hours: Dean of Engineering

Dean Cyganski’s office hours are by appointment. Please contact Kim Hollan at kshollan@wpi.edu or 508-831-4694 for assistance.


Academic & Corporate Development 


Stephen Flavin, Vice President and Dean

Stephen Flavin leads a portfolio that includes the Office of Corporate Engagement, Corporate and professional Education, and the Career Development Center at WPI. He has been a member of the President’s senior leadership team since 2006.  Flavin’s primary focus is to develop, foster and manage strategic relationships with industry in a comprehensive manner and across academic disciplines, delivering long-term, measurable outcomes that result in mutual economic value.  He also works in close collaboration with faculty and staff to lead all aspects of programming including continuing education and professional development, corporate education, and company-specific programs (both degree and non-degree).

Prior to assuming his current role, Flavin held senior management positions at Babson College, including Associate Dean of Babson’s School of Executive Education from 2001-2004, and concluding as the Dean, ad interim, of Executive Education, 2004-2006. Previously, he was Director of the Encapsulated Knowledge Business for Global Knowledge Network, a leading international provider of IT training and education from 1994 - 1997. Mr. Flavin holds a BS and JD from Suffolk University.

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Interdisciplinary & Global Studies Division


Richard F. Vaz, Dean

As dean of WPI’s Interdisciplinary and Global Studies Division (IGSD), Richard Vaz spends much of his time working with the 70 faculty and 600 students who participate each year in WPI’s Global Perspective Program through one of our 30-plus Project Centers around the world. In addition, he works with his colleagues in IGSD and across campus to support the Interactive Qualifying Project, WPI’s interdisciplinary degree requirement. Vaz also assist students in developing individually designed majors.

Vaz received his PhD in electrical engineering from WPI, focusing on signal analysis and machine vision. He held systems and design engineering positions with the Raytheon Company, GenRad Inc., and the MITRE Corporation before joining the WPI Electrical and Computer Engineering faculty in 1987. While he enormously enjoyed teaching courses on signals, communication, controls, and design at the undergraduate and graduate levels, over time his interests in interdisciplinary teaching and learning and international education resulted in increasing involvement in WPI’s Student Project programs, both on campus and elsewhere.

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Graduate Studies

Richard D. Sisson, Dean

Richard Sisson, is dean of graduate studies, George F. Fuller Professor, and director of Manufacturing and Materials Engineering at WPI. He is also the principal investigator (PI) for several projects in WPI’s Center for Heat Treating Excellence. Sisson has been with WPI for 30 years. In addition, he has taught at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and has been a research metallurgist with DuPont Savannah Laboratory and a staff engineer with Exxon Chemical Company.

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Library Services


Tracey Leger-Hornby, Dean

Responsible for the overall management and vision of library services, Tracey Leger-Hornby has oversight of the library’s budget, personnel, and general policies. She communicates and collaborates with other Academic Affairs department heads and deans on programs and issues that overlap and intersect between departments.

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Undergraduate Studies


Arthur Heinricher, Dean

Arthur Heinricher is the Dean of Undergraduate Studies and a Professor of Mathematical Sciences.  As dean, he is responsible for ensuring the quality and effectiveness of all aspects of the undergraduate experience at WPI, providing leadership and working with the faculty to implement new undergraduate curricular and structural changes. Together with the Dean of Students, he works to ensure an appropriate balance and synergy between academics and student life.  In 2012, Heinricher led the university’s self-study working with faculty and administration to facilitate the external review for institutional accreditation by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

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Kristin K. Wobbe, Associate Dean

Kristin Wobbe joined the WPI faculty in 1995. She was named the Leonard P. Kinnicutt Assistant Professor of Chemistry in 1999. In 2001, she received the Romeo L. Moruzzi Young Faculty Award for Innovation in Undergraduate Education and was also promoted to associate professor of chemistry. In 2007, she co-developed and co-taught Feed the World, one of the inaugural Great Problems Seminars designed to bring to the freshman year the project emphasis that is the hallmark of WPI’s innovative approach to undergraduate education. She assumed current role as associate dean of undergraduate studies in 2009 after a stint heading the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

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