WPI Recognized by Heiskell Awards for Innovation in International Education

University's Global Perspective Program Honored as an Outstanding International Initiative

Contact: WPI Media Relations, 508-831-5706

WORCESTER, Mass. - February 19, 2004 - Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) was one of seven colleges and universities in the United States and Mexico to be honored in the third annual Andrew Heiskell Awards program for Innovation in International Education. The Institute of International Education created these awards to promote international education programs that are making a real difference in the lives of the students and communities they serve.

WPI's Global Perspective Program received an Honorable Mention award in the Study Abroad category for providing an innovative program and service, and making study abroad more accessible to a broader student population.

In presenting the awards last month in New York City, Allan E. Goodman, IIE's president and CEO, said, "The 2004 Andrew Heiskell Award-winning programs represent some of the best and most creative ways that campuses are responding to the challenges of preparing the next generation to think and work on a global basis." The winning initiatives were noted for their success in removing barriers to international study and increasing participation in the international elements of teaching and learning.

WPI's Global Perspective Program plays a key role in the university's project-based curriculum by overseeing society-technology projects at more than 20 global project centers. These project experiences are unique among engineering and science universities. They require students to go off campus, including regular projects in remote locales, to solve important professional-level problems for local sponsors. The projects count as a full term's academic credit, and they are overseen by a faculty advisor. It is a way of learning that requires full immersion in another culture, and one that produces a remarkable transformation in the students who take part.

"We are honored to be recognized among the 'best practices' for providing students with an international education, and in our case a true global technological experience," noted Paul W. Davis, dean of WPI's Interdisciplinary and Global Studies Division. "Every year hundreds of WPI students complete real academic work on five continents. In fact, we send more undergraduate engineers and scientists abroad than any other American university. It seems like the sun never sets on the WPI student body."

This recognition is just the latest in a series of honors that WPI and its Global Perspective Program have received. Last year, WPI received a Hesburgh Certificate of Excellence for commitment to preparing faculty for advising roles in global projects from TIAA-CREF through its Theodore M. Hesburgh Award competition, which honors academic programs that enhance undergraduate teaching and learning. The Association of American Colleges and Universities named WPI one of 16 "Greater Expectations Leadership Institutions," which serve as models for the future of liberal education in the United States. Additionally, WPI was cited by NASFA: Association of International Educators as one of ten universities "doing exemplary work to internationalize the campus" in its report Internationalizing the Campus: Profiles of Success at Colleges and Universities.

About the Institute of International Education

The Institute of International Education is the world leader in the international exchange of people and ideas. An independent, nonprofit organization founded in 1919, the Institute is the world's most experienced global higher education and professional exchange organization. IIE has a network of 19 offices worldwide, over 800 college and university members, and more than 5,000 volunteers. IIE designs and implements programs of study and training for students, educators, young professionals and trainees from all sectors with funding from government and private sources. These programs include the Fulbright and Humphrey Fellowships, administered for the U.S. Department of State, and The Global Training for Development program administered for USAID. The Institute is a resource for educators and institutions worldwide, publishing Academic Year Abroad and Short Term Study Abroad and operating IIEPassport.org, the search engine for study abroad programs. IIE also conducts policy research and provides advising and counseling on international education and opportunities abroad.

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.