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Vol. 1, No. 2, Sept. 16, 1999

Around Campus

President Parrish receives international appointment

WPI President Edward Alton Parrish has been selected to represent the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Computer Society in the International Federation for Information Processing. The federation is an umbrella organization whose members comprise professional societies around the world, including IEEE, computer society.

Parrish will serve on the TC 3 Education Committee, one of the technical committees that comprise the federation. The committee provides an international forum for educators to discuss research and practice in communication and information technologies. In addition to raising the level of international collaboration, it promotes ongoing education for professionals as well as advancing collegiate and secondary-school educational opportunities. The committee also examines the educational environment regarding local and national policy making.

President's IQP Awards

The 1999 President's IQP Awards competition will be held in Higgins House, Wednesday, Dec. 8, from 1:45 to 7:30 p.m. Applications are now available from Betty Jolie in the Interdisciplinary and Global Studies Division in the Project Center. Deadline is Friday, Oct. 8, at 4 p.m. Applications are also available on the Web at www.wpi.edu/Academics/Depts/IGSD/IQPAwards/.  (Site is no longer available)

Faculty members who have advised outstanding IQPs are encouraged to have their students enter the competition. The rules stipulate that an IQP may be submitted only once after its completion. Completion means that a CDR for all students named on the forms has been recorded by the registrar before the application deadline. For more information, call ext. 6089 or e-mail efjolie@wpi.edu

WPI ranks among the best

U.S. News & World Report again has ranked WPI 51st among the top U.S. national universities and among the top in best values offered. The magazine's "America's Best Colleges" issue, dated Aug. 30, listed WPI at the top of Tier 2. Cal Tech took over first place from Harvard, this year's second place. The national universities category includes 228 colleges and universities. This category was developed by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The national universities offer a full range of undergraduate majors, as well as master's and doctoral degrees; many h3ly emphasize research.

The U.S. News rankings are based on several key measures of quality, according to the magazine. Scores for each measure are weighted as follows: academic reputation, 25 percent; graduation and retention rates, 20 percent; faculty resources, 20 percent; student selectivity, 15 percent; financial resources, 10 percent; alumni giving, 5 percent; and graduation rate performance (the difference between actual and predicted graduation rate), 5 percent.

WPI was also among the top 20 national universities with the highest proportion of classes with less than 20 students. At 69 percent, WPI tied with three other schools.

In the magazine's "Best Values" issue, dated Sept. 6, WPI was among the top 50 national universities, tying for 36th with Brown and Pepperdine. This category only considers colleges that are in the top half of the U.S. News rankings and are therefore above average academically. These rankings relate the cost of attending an institution to its quality and were devised to provide a realistic measure of where students can get the best education for their money. The top university in this ranking was the University of Missouri (Columbia).

U.S. News has brought back rankings of business and engineering schools, last published in 1996. There are 182 schools that offer Ph.D. degrees in engineering. To arrive at this ranking, the magazine asked deans and senior faculty to rate the academic quality of peer institutions in their disciplines. WPI placed 52nd, tying with six other universities. MIT placed first.

WPI is also listed with 300 other colleges in The Fiske Guide to Colleges 2000, the top-rated guide to the best colleges in America, and in The Princeton Review, The Best 331 Colleges.

A world of opportunity

Attention all WPI students: Do you need to complete a Humanities Sufficiency, an IQP or an MQP? Now you can do so while discovering the world. Come to the Global Opportunities Fair, Tuesday, Sept. 28, from 4 to 6 p.m. in Alden Memorial Hall. Travel abroad is now more affordable than ever with free passports for everyone and a lottery for free airline tickets through the Sponsor Future Leaders Program. For more information, call the Interdisciplinary & Global Studies Division at ext. 5547.

Home sweet WPI home

Members of the WPI community and their families are invited to join alums, administrators, professors, students and staff for hours of memories, music and merriment during Homecoming Weekend, Friday and Saturday, Sept. 24 and 25. More information, including a full schedule, is available at http://www.wpi.edu/Admin/Alumni/Homecoming/.

Music groups plan international tour

The WPI Instrumental Ensembles directed by Douglas Weeks and Richard Falco will once again be touring during spring break (about March 3-10, 2000). This year's tour will take the musicians to Athens.

Faculty and staff interested in traveling with the groups should contact Doug Weeks at ext. 5696 for more information. Deadline is Sept. 30.

Ventana Systems donates software

Ventana Systems has donated VenSim Pro software for use by WPI faculty and students for system dynamics teaching and research. The software is available on the Novell network.

Ventana Systems President Robert Eberlein visited the Social Science and Policy Studies department on Aug. 23 to present a workshop on using the VenSim software.

Customer satisfaction seminar

The Colleges of Worcester Consortium will sponsor "Delivering Customer Satisfaction/Part I and Part II" on two Wednesdays, Sept. 22 and 29, from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. in the Jacques Conference Room at Anna Maria College. The program, part of COWC's Human Resources Fall Seminar Series, will be presented by Rockie Blunt, president of Blunt Consulting Group. Admission is free.

The workshop will enable participants to examine the responsibilities and opportunities involved in dealing courteously and professionally with co-workers and other departments. Seating is limited. For more information or reservations, call Tracy Hassett, associate director of human resources, at ext. 5243.

BWE luncheon

The next Business Women's Exchange luncheon will be held from noon to 1 p.m. Friday, Sept. 17, in Higgins House. The luncheon will include a presentation, "Upcoming Plans for the Campus Center," by Janet Richardson, assistant vice president for student affairs and dean of student life, along with piano music by Marjorie Deshaies. The menu will feature sliced chicken served on tossed garden salad, assorted bread basket, apple crisp with whipped topping and coffee or tea. The cost is $7. Send payment (checks should be payable to WPI) to Muriel Farr in the Admissions Office.

Watercolor my world

Gordon Library is featuring "The Earth, the Sky and the Sea" through Oct. 15 in the third floor gallery. The exhibit is a collection of paintings by Miriam Smith. Smith, who has painted in watercolor since the age of 6, took art classes in high school, attended the school of the Worcester Art Museum, and toured Italy with artist Timothy Clark, painting at Ponza and Ravello. For more information, call ext. 5410.

Music in the air

The WPI Musical Ensembles will present their first concert of the year Saturday, Sept. 18, at 5 p.m. in Alden Memorial Hall as part of Family Weekend festivities. The concert is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Doug Weeks at ext. 5696.

Swing-A-Thon Benefit

Come to the Quad Thursday and Friday, Sept. 16-17, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. for Tau Kappa Epsilon's Third Annual Swing-A-Thon. All proceeds will benefit the Special Olympics and the National Kidney Foundation. Donation cups will be available in department offices starting Tuesday, Sept. 14. For more information, e-mail prion@wpi.edu.

Weight Watchers returns

Weight Watchers will meet every Thursday in Morgan A from noon to 12:45 p.m. For more information, or to register, contact Yvette Rutledge in the Instructional Media Center at ext. 5220 or by e-mail at yvette@wpi.edu.

Human Resources deadlines

Staff time sheets are now due by noon on the Friday before the pay date. Noted below are the scheduled Human Resources and Payroll Office deadlines:

Friday, Sept. 17, by 10 a.m.
Monthly payroll authorizations
(Monthly payroll paid Thursday, Sept. 30)

Thursday, Sept. 23, by 10 a.m.
Biweekly student payroll authorizations
(Student payroll paid Thursday, Sept. 30)

All forms submitted to Human Resources and Payroll must be complete and have all of the appropriate approvals in order to be processed. Forms submitted after these dates will be processed in the following payroll.


New faculty members

Bogdan D. Doytchinov, assistant professor of mathematical sciences, was most recently a postdoctoral associate at Carnegie Mellon University. He earned a Ph.D. in mathematics from Carnegie Mellon and a M.S. in mathematics from Moscow State University.

Michelle K. Ephraim, assistant professor in the humanities and arts department, earned a Ph.D. in 16 Century British Literature and a M.A. in English literature from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She was most recently was a lecturer in English literature at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she also has taught creative writing.

Richard K. Jordan, assistant professor of mathematical sciences, recently was a National Science Foundation postdoctoral research fellow at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. He also has been a postdoctoral associate with the Center for Nonlinear Analysis at Carnegie Mellon University and an NSF research fellow and assistant professor of mathematics at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. He has earned a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and M.S. and B.S. degrees in mathematics from Northeastern University.

Christopher J. Larsen, assistant professor of mathematical sciences, was most recently a visiting assistant professor at WPI. He earned a Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in mathematics from Carnegie Mellon University and a J.D. degree from the University of Maryland School of Law.

Jamshed J. Mistry, assistant professor of management, recently was an instructor at Boston University's School of Management. He has earned a D.B.A. degree from Boston University, and a M.B.A. degree in finance and management from the University of Utah.

Jeanine D. Plummer, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, received a Ph.D. in civil and environmental engineering at the University of Massachusetts, where she also earned a M.S. degree in environmental engineering.

Soraya Rana, assistant professor of computer science, earned a Ph.D. and an M.S. in computer science from Colorado State University.

Mark R. Stevens, assistant professor of computer science, earned a Ph.D. and an M.S. in computer science from Colorado State University.

Jeffrey A. Tyler, assistant professor of biology and biotechnology, earned a Ph.D. in ecology and animal behavior from the State University of New York at Albany.

Nathaniel A. Whitmal III, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, earned Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in electrical engineering and computer science from Northwestern University, and a M.S. degree in engineering management from the Gordon Institute of Tufts University.


Z. Amy Zeng, assistant professor of management, earned a Ph.D. degree in business administration from Pennsylvania State University, and a M.S. in engineering from the University of Washington, Seattle.

Cabinet Meeting Summary

Summaries of Cabinet Meetings are available online to members of the WPI Community on the Cabinet website.



Chemistry and Biochemistry

Wednesday, Sept. 22, 4 p.m., "Fingerprint Development," Sgt. David P. O'Grady, head of the Bureau of Criminal Identification and Evidence Response Team, Worcester Police Department, Salisbury Labs 115.


Computer Science

Friday, Sept. 17, 11 a.m., TBA, Sarah Kuhn, University of Massachusetts, Lowell, Fuller Labs 311.


Faculty Meeting

Thursday, Sept. 16, 4:05 p.m., Kinnicutt Hall (refreshments at 3:45).


Graduate Admissions

Tuesday, Sept. 21, information session (management programs only), Waltham campus, 60 Hickory Drive, Waltham, Mass., 6 p.m. For more information, call 800-WPI-9717.


Mathematical Sciences

Friday, Sept. 24, 11 a.m., "Study of Association in Bivariate Current Status Data," Adam Ding, Northeastern University, Stratton Hall 202 (refreshments, Stratton Hall 107, 10:30).


Sun Microsystems Seminar

Monday, Sept. 20, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., SUN Campus Road Show Seminar, Higgins House. For more information visit the Road Show Website at: http://www.sun.com/edu/events/roadshow.html.  (Site is no longer available)


Venture Forum

Tuesday, Sept. 21, Venture Forum Workshop: "Starting Your Business: Common Mistakes and War Stories." Presented by Greg Erman, president and CEO of MarketSoft Corp. Cost is $5 for members, $10 for non-members; faculty, staff and students are admitted free with a WPI ID. Kinnicutt Hall, Salisbury Labs, 6:30-9 p.m. (registration 6 p.m.). For more information, call 831-5075.

Publications & Presentations


Computer Science

Claypool, Mark, Anuja Gokhale, Tim Miranda, Pavel Murnikov, Dmitry Netes, and Matthew Sartin, "Combining Content-Based and Collaborative Filters in an Online Newspaper." Presented at ACM SIGIR Workshop on Recommender Systems, Berkeley, Calif., Aug. 19.

Ruiz, Carolina, "Seventh International Workshop on Deductive Databases and Logic Programming." Co-organizer along with Ulrich Geske, GMD-FIRST, Berlin, Germany, and Dietmar Seipel, University of W?rzburg, Germany, Tokyo, Japan, Sept. 3-5.



Fontanella, Lee "Charles Clifford: Fotografo En La Corte de Isabel II." Second edition of book published in Nov. 1997 (Madrid: El Viso, 1997; 1999).

Worth Noting

Of the 141 members of the Inventors Hall of Fame in Akron, Ohio, two are graduates of WPI. The first, not surprisingly, is WPI's most famous graduate, Robert Hutchings Goddard, class of 1908. Goddard is widely regarded as the father of modern rocketry. His innovations and his fundamental contributions to science and engineering helped pave the way for the Space Age. WPI's other Hall-of-Famer is Harold Stephen Black, class of 1921. Black was a pioneer in telecommunications. As a scientist at the forerunner to Bell Labs, he found the solution to one of the most vexing problems standing in the way of long-distance telephone service-distortion on phone lines. He developed the negative feedback amplifier and the principal of negative feedback, which has since found a wide range of applications in fields as diverse as computing, biomedical engineering and the social sciences.

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Last modified: April 07, 2009 16:44:36