WPI Garners ,000 Davis Educational Foundation Grant

Contact: WPI Media Relations, 508-831-5616

WORCESTER, Mass. – First-year students at Worcester Polytechnic Institute will enjoy an academic boost this year through a newly awarded $600,000 grant from the Davis Educational Foundation. The grant will underwrite three years of improvements in first-year students’ experience in topics such as "Course Bridging," "Personal Development" and "First-Year Tutorial." WPI will receive $200,000 each year for three consecutive years.

The Davis Educational Foundation, established by Stanton and Elisabeth Davis after his retirement as chairman of Shaw’s Supermarkets Inc., awards grants to New England colleges with the aim of improving their educational programs. In 1992, for example, with support from a Davis grant, WPI began employing undergraduate students as peer learning assistants. Upper division undergraduate students were selected and trained to facilitate group problem solving and to help manage group dynamics issues.

The interdisciplinary grant, to be used for an overall project titled "Careers, Culture and Curriculum: Restructuring the First Year," has been awarded to David DiBiasio, associate professor of chemical engineering; John F. Zeugner, professor of history and director of Asian Programs; and Judith Miller, professor of biology and biotechnology and director for the Center for Educational Development.

WPI, founded in 1865, is renowned for its project-based curriculum. Under the WPI Plan, students integrate classroom studies with research projects conducted on campus and around the world.