New Doctoral Program Integrates Several Disciplines

Contact: WPI Media Relations, 508-831-5616

WORCESTER, Mass. - WPI's Civil and Environmental Engineering Department recently joined forces with four other departments to establish the new Management, Environmental, International (MEI) doctoral option. The interdisciplinary program, supported by a five-year, $562,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, is designed to educate individuals who will not only be technically competent but will be skilled in the management of technology, environmental responsibility, and problems associated with international competitiveness.

CEE Professor James O'Shaughnessy is the principal investigator for the program. Co-investigators are Mechanical Engineering Professor and Associate Provost for Academic Affairs William Durgin, Mechanical Engineering Professor and Materials Science and Engineering Program Head Richard Sisson, Chemical Engineering Professor Robert Thompson, and Management Associate Professors Michael Elmes and Sharon Johnson.

Wayne Bates of Ashland, Mass., who received his Ph.D. in civil engineering in May, took advantage of the new MEI option. Bates completed his dissertation on pollution prevention and life cycle analysis for highway signs. He is currently employed at Rizzo Associates in Natick, Mass. Arjan Xhaja of Worcester, Mass., earned a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering at Tirana University in Albania and an M.B.A. at the University of Wales, U.K. He is working in the area of water purification in association with Fountainhead Technologies Inc. of Providence, R.I., as part of his studies for a Ph.D. in civil engineering.

William Weir of Bolton, Mass., who recently entered the program, is doing a case study that focuses on fly ash separation technology. He received a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from Union College and a master of science in manufacturing engineering from WPI.

"The program is currently establishing a number of new industry collaborations," says O'Shaughnessy. "Initial response from the business community and from potential students has been very favorable and we hope to expand our active student base to between 10 and 25 individuals."

An independent technological university founded in 1865, WPI is renowned for its project-based educational program. WPI was ranked among the top 50 national universities in the 1997 edition of U.S. News and World Report's Best Colleges Guide and was ranked 35th among the top national institutions in the magazine's Best College Values report.