Technological Humanist Awards Program Recognizes Massachusetts Teachers

Program Launched by Worcester Polytechnic Institute to honor outstanding teachers

[an error occurred while processing this directive]

WPI Technological Humanist Award Web site

[an error occurred while processing this directive]

Contact: WPI Media Relations, 508-831-5616

Worcester, Mass.-- Massachusetts high school students have a new opportunity to honor their teachers. Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has launched the WPI Technological Humanist Award program, created to recognize teachers who have helped students understand how science and technology can address important social issues and concerns, and help solve problems that have the potential to benefit society and help expand our understanding of our world and ourselves.

"Students can nominate teachers of any subject," explained John Heyl, Vice President of University Relations at WPI, and one of the program's creators. "We're looking for teachers who have brought a creative flair and spirit of innovation to their classrooms, and have helped students see how technology and science can make the world a better place. The recipients will be recognized for innovative teaching that helps students appreciate that science and technology are about more than facts-that, in fact, they're tools for making a difference in people's lives-and inspires them to think about how they might use their knowledge to improve the world around them."

Heyl cited examples of technological humanists including Leonardo DaVinci, Thomas Edison, astronaut and scientist Dr. Mae Jemison and others. A website has been created so that students looking for more information on technological humanists or for information to nominate their teachers can access several resources. The website can be found at www.wpi.edu/Academics/THA

Nomination forms are available in every Massachusetts high school's administrative offices. The nomination process is simple. After getting the form from the principal, students write a personal statement of 250 words or less explaining why they believe their teacher deserves the WPI Technological Humanist Award. The entries are then returned to the principal who will submit all the entries from the school. Deadline is January 31, 2003.

The finalists will be chosen by an advisory board that consists of WPI President, Edward A. Parrish, Shelia Tobias, a nationally-known authority in science and mathematics education and recipient of a WPI honorary degree, Alison Taunton-Rigby, president of Forester Biotech and recipient of the WPI Presidential Medal, and Loring Coes III, chairman of the mathematics department at Rocky Hill School in East Greenwich, R.I., who is a 1986 graduate of the Master of Mathematics program at WPI and recipient of a WPI honorary degree.

"The state winner as well as two runners-up will be named next spring, and the teachers will be honored at an awards dinner at the WPI campus on May 1. Students will read their nomination essays as part of the event," said Mr. Heyl. "Recipients of the first, second and third place awards will receive $5,000, $2,500 and $1,500 respectively, to be used for equipment, professional development or other activities that will enhance education at the teachers' schools," explained Mr. Heyl.

About Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Founded in 1865, WPI is a pioneer in technological higher education. WPI was the first university to understand that students learn best when they have the opportunity to apply the knowledge they gain in the classroom to the solution of important problems. Today its students, working in teams at more than 20 project centers around the globe, put their knowledge and skills to work as they complete professional-level work that can have an immediate positive impact on society.

WPI's innovative, globally focused curriculum has been recognized by leaders in industry, government and academia as the model for the technological education of tomorrow. Students emerge from this program as true technological humanists, well rounded, with the confidence, the interpersonal skills and the commitment to innovation they need to make a real difference in their professional and personal lives. The university awarded its first advanced degree in 1898. Today, its first-rate research laboratories support master's and Ph.D. programs in more than 30 disciplines in engineering, science and the management of technology. Located in the heart of the region's biotechnology and high-technology sectors, WPI has built research programs--including the largest industry/university alliance in North America--that have won it worldwide recognition.