Welcome to @WPI

Vol. 2, No. 3 Sept. 28, 2000

Around Campus

Have it Your Way

WPI has launched a new Web portal called myWPI. To reach it, go to my.wpi.edu or click on a button on the bottom left of the WPI home page. A new version of the Blackboard CourseInfo system used last year by more than half of WPI students and faculty to create course Web sites, myWPI also provides a customized interface for accessing information on various WPI Web sites.

The myWPI home page has three tabs. The "Home" tab includes links to courses, calendar events and WPI news. Content and Tools buttons let you personalize your page, adding new modules, such as news, sports scores or horoscopes, and perform such functions as editing your calendar and changing your passwords. The "Courses" tab links you to information for any classes you are taking, while the "Services" tab has links to campus offices, commonly used forms and other information.

Help, questions and other problems related to myWPI, which is available to all faculty, staff and students, can be addressed by sending an e-mail to myhelp@wpi.edu or use the form on the site.

Noting a Milestone in Women's Rights

WPI will provide funds to enable up to five students to attend "Women 2000," a conference and celebration of the 150th anniversary of the first national women's rights convention, which has held in Worcester in 1850. The conference, set for Oct. 20-22 in the Centrum Centre and Mechanics Hall, is sponsored by the Worcester Women's History Project. It will include readings, lectures, discussions, music and drama. WPI students interested in attending the conference should contact Janet Richardson, ext. 5201, or Laura Menides, ext. 5513.

New Missions, New Names

The University's computer center has a new name, though its well-known initials will stay the same. The acronym CCC, which once stood for College Computer Center, now stands for Computer and Communications Center, a reflection of the center's expanded mission.

The Center for Educational Development has also expanded its mission and name. As a product of the University's new strategic plan, the center has taken on an expanded role in the areas of educational technology and assessment of educational programs. Accordingly, it is now known as the Center for Educational Development, Technology and Assessment (CEDTA).

WPI's Web office also has a new name, Web Development, as well as some new job titles. Heading the office is Amy Marr, whose new title is manager of Web development. Troy Thompson is now Web designer. The office has a new staff member, Timothy Wilde, Web programmer.

They'll Help You Get it Write

The Writing Workshop, located on the upper level of the Project Center, assists students and faculty with written and oral presentations. Trained peer tutors work with writers by discussing ideas and responding to drafts. Students seeking help may drop in Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. They may also schedule an appointment online at www.wpi.edu/Academics/Depts/HUA/WC.

Faculty seeking writing assistance for themselves or writing tutors for their students may call Lisa Lebduska at ext. 5503.

SPC Looking for Student Members

The Society of Professional Communicators, a Worcester-based independent association for communications professionals, is hoping to increase its student membership. The group serves editors, novelists, public-relations professionals, free-lance writers, copywriters and graphic designers. The organization offers students the opportunity to network, explore career options and find internships or employment. Adult membership is $60; student membership is $25. For more information, contact Lori Gannon at 508-791-9241, ext. 252, e-mail gannon@go.becker.edu or write to SPC, P.O. Box 488, Worcester, MA 01606.

Human Resources Deadlines

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

Thursday, Oct. 5
Biweekly student payroll authorizations
(Student payroll paid Thursday, Oct. 12)

Thursday, Oct. 12
Staff payroll authorizations and Flexcomp claim forms
(Staff payroll Wednesday, Oct. 18)

Monday, Oct. 16
Monthly Flexcomp claim forms

Wednesday, Oct. 18
Monthly payroll authorizations
(Monthly payroll paid Tuesday, Oct. 31)

Thursday, Oct. 19
Biweekly student payroll authorizations
(Student payroll paid Thursday, Oct. 26)

Thursday, Oct. 26
Staff payroll authorizations and Flexcomp claim forms
(Staff payroll Wednesday, Nov. 1)

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.

Employment Opportunities

(Current as of Sept. 21)


Part-time Administrative Secretary III
Laboratory Manager


Part-time Administrative Secretary III


Accounting Clerk II


Office Operations Computer Support Specialist


Desktop Systems Administrator
Information Systems Specialist/Analyst Programmer
UNIX Systems Administrator


Tenure-track faculty position


Assistant Program Manager
Part-time Technical Trainers
Records and Financial Services Manager
Part-time Program Manager
Marketing Manager
Manager of Systems Administration


Administrative Secretary IV
Biographical Records Assistant


Tenure-track faculty positions
Professor of Practice
Computer Systems Manager


Events Manager


Part-time Administrative Secretary II


Graduate Database Coordinator
Part-time Administrative Secretary III
Waltham Campus Coordinator, Graduate Admissions


Project Manager


Distance Learning Program Manager


Adjunct Faculty (part-time position)
Visiting Faculty Member, Entrepreneurship (full-time, temporary, nine-month appointment)
Assistant Director, Graduate Management Programs


Lab Machinist


Part-time Temporary Assistant Basketball Coach


HVAC Mechanic II


Office and Program Assistant


Administrative Assistant


Assistant Director of Residential Services


Tenure Track Faculty - Economics/System Dynamics
Tenure Track Faculty - Psychology/System Dynamics


Director of Diversity and Women's Programs
Assistant Director of Leadership and Community Service Program


Administrative Secretary III
Administrative Secretary IV

For more information about these positions, visit the Human Resource Web site, www.wpi.edu/Admin/HR/.

WPI's Human Resources Office encourages current employees to refer qualified individuals to apply for jobs at WPI. For each person you refer who is hired and who successfully completes six months of active service, you will receive a $500 bonus. The Employee Referral Bonus Program applies to all permanent nonfaculty, exempt and nonexempt positions.


Professor Writes for Online Encyclopedia

Jonathan R. Barnett, associate professor of fire protection engineering, has written a comprehensive essay on fire for Microsoft Encarta Online Encyclopedia 2000. The article is at http://encarta.msn.com/find/concise.asp?ti=761563809&sid=1#s1.

Who's Who

Amy Zeng, assistant professor in the management department, has been selected as a member of the International Who's Who of Professionals based on her academic, professional and civic achievement.

Meet the New Faculty

The following new faculty members joined WPI this fall:

WPI in the News

Press releases are posted on the WPI Web site for the convenience of reporters, editors and anyone interested in news of the university. Current and archived releases can be read at www.wpi.edu/News/Releases/.

Fred Bianchi, associate professor of music, and WPI were highlighted in the Aug. 31 New York Times in an article titled "What's next: a wave of the hand may soon make a computer jump to obey." The daily Times has a circulation of 1.1 million. The story, distributed through The New York Times News Service, has also appeared in the Providence Sunday Journal (circulation 236,500) and the Syracuse Post-Standard (circulation 87,900.)

President Edward Alton Parrish was quoted in a Sunday, Sept. 18, Dallas Morning News business story, "Employment: Engineering instructors taking a new approach: Programs emphasizing communication, teamwork." The Sunday edition has a circulation of more than 800,000 readers.

In its annual "America's Best Colleges" issue of Sept. 11, U.S. News & World Report ranked WPI 57th among 228 national universities. WPI placed 11th among national universities that have the highest percentage of classes under 20. Among 114 engineering schools that offer Ph.D. degrees, WPI was ranked 50th. In follow-up coverage Sept. 18, the magazine ran a story, "Wanted: a whole rainbow of talent: colleges are vying for minority students," highlighting WPI among universities that offer academic programs for students of color.

WPI rated a mention in a Sept. 15 story in the print and online editions of Inc. magazine titled, "Blue-collar communities are designing their own high-tech networks to attract business." The story focused on Worcester and Tacoma, Wash., as new leaders in the cyber business world. Inc., which delivers management information to emerging and fast-growth private companies, has a circulation of 663,000.

An Aug. 25 story in Kiplingers Personal Finance Magazine (print circulation: 1 million) discussed plans to protect the city of Venice and quoted Fabio Carrera, director of the Venice Project Center, calling him an authority on Venetian canals. The story was also featured on kiplinger.com.

The Sept. 18 Worcester Telegram & Gazette ran a front-page story about a Korean War Forum held at WPI. In the same issue, columnist Jim Dempsey discussed the late musician Jimi Hendrix. WPI's Hendrix expert, Joel Brattin, professor of English, was quoted in the story.

On Sept. 20, The Australian ran a story about WPI alumnus and trustee Paul Allaire, chairman and CEO of Xerox Corp. and a chief supporter of the Olympics, noting the Worcester native's WPI education, among other facts.

Alvin H. Weiss, professor emeritus of chemical engineering, wrote a comprehensive article on WPI's Chemical Engineering Department that appeared in the summer 2000 issue of Chemical Engineering Education.

Norm Wilkinson, director of graduate management programs, was quoted on the front page of the Sept. 11-17 Mass High Tech about online education for older students. Wilkinson contributed information about asynchronous courses, in which students access course information at times most convenient to them. Another story in that issue carried the headline, "WPI, other area colleges get giga speed connection to the Internet2."

The Sept. 18-24 Mass High Tech ran a headline, "Soldier: UMass, URI, WPI working with Natick Soldier Center to protect those who serve." The story discussed the development of protective clothing, equipment and food-related products for armed forces personnel.

The Sept. 11 Worcester Business Journal ran a story, "People are going to be more usefully utilized to their capabilities," that included a wealth of information from

Ken Stafford, manager of academic initiatives, on the topic of working, living and playing with robots.

The September issue of Fire Protection Contractor ran a story on and photo of graduate student

Keum-Ran Choi, honoring her Hughes Research Fellowship in Fire Protection Engineering.

The Aug. 30 Interactive Investor, part of the ZDNet Web site, picked up a BusinessWire story, "NEESCom and WPI launch Central Massachusetts Internet2 initiative."

Cabinet Meeting Summary

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



Monday, Oct. 9, Undergraduate Admissions Open House


Monday, Oct. 5, noon, "Engineering Salt and Drought Tolerant Plants," Roberto Gaxiola, University of Connecticut, Goddard Hall 227, (refreshments)
Wednesday, Oct. 11, noon "Asymmetric Synthesis of Efavirenz," Feng Xu, Merck Research Laboratories, Goddard Hall 227, (refreshments)

Faculty Meeting

Thursday, Oct. 12, 4:05 p.m. Kinnicutt Hall


Friday, Oct. 27, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., New England Area SAFETI workshop, cost $45. For more information or to register, call Pam O'Bryant at ext. 608 (limited seating)


Monday, Oct. 2, 4 p.m. "Issues in Molecular Sieve Zeolite Crystallization," Olin Hall 107, 4 p.m. (refreshments at 3:40 in Olin 118)
Monday, Oct. 9, 4 p.m. "Elimination of Stiction in Products that Integrate MEMS with Support Electronics," Jack Martin, Analog Devices Inc., Olin Hall 107, 4 p.m. (refreshments at 3:40 in Olin 118)

Research Administration

Thursday, Oct. 12, 1 p.m., "Transdisciplinary Collaboration to Solve Biomedical Problems," Richard Swaja, National Institutes of Health Office of Extramural Research, Higgins House (lunch at 12:15). For more information or to register, call Carol Briggs at ext. 5359 by Wednesday, Oct. 4 (limited seating)

Tech Old Timers

Thursday, Oct. 12, 10:30 a.m., "Antioch: The Lost Ancient City," James A. Welu, Worcester Art Museum, Alden Memorial (coffee at 9:45 a.m.)

Publications & Presentations

Computer Science

Finkel, David, Wills, Craig E., Amorin, Kevin, Covati, Adam, and Lee, Michael, "An Applet-Based Approach to Large-Scale Distributed Computing," Second International Network Conference (INC 2000), July 3-6, Plymouth, UK.
Ciaraldi Michael J., Finkel, David, and Wills, Craig E., "Risks in Anonymous Distributed Computing Systems," Second International Network Conference (INC 2000), July 3-6, Plymouth, UK.
Cruz, Isabel, co-authored with Leveille, Peter, "Implementation of a Constraint-Based Visualization System," presented at the 2000 IEEE Symposium on Visual Languages.


Menides, Laura J., "October in the Park," a poem in Kafla Intercontinental, March-April 2000, 30.
_____. Discussion leader for the "Ends of Civilization" book series sponsored by the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities at Sturbridge Public Library, July 26.
Mott, Wesley T., editor of The American Renaissance in New England , vol. A: The Concord Writers Detroit: Gale, 2000. (First in a 3-volume series).

Mathematical Sciences

Goulet, John, "A Goals-Oriented Approach to Calculus Instruction," presented at the Northeast Section of the Mathematics Association of America (MAA) at the St. Paul School in Concord, N.H., June 16.

Mechanical Engineering

Williams, Carey T., Demetry, Chrysanthe, and Li, Rounan, "Structure and Strength of Interfaces in Titanium-Coated Diamond-Glass Composites," pp. 697-704 in Ceramic Engineering and Science Proceedings, vol. 21, no. 3, 24th Annual Conference on Composites, Advanced Ceramics, Materials and Structures: A (2000).

Recent Grants

The following is a list of new research grants received by WPI in August. The Office of Research Administration provides information about these awards.

Worth Noting

Mark Fisher is president of New Ward Valve Co., a small company with all of three employees in Manchaug, Mass. He is also a man with a mission. He wants other small businesspeople to learn one of Worcester's best-kept secrets: that they can get engineering help thanks to the innovative, project-based educational program of his three-time alma mater (he has bachelor's, master's and MBA degrees from WPI).

Shortly after the company, a manufacturer of valves and strainers, got off the ground in April 1999, Fisher contacted WPI for help. Last fall, two MQP teams, both advised by Raymond R. Hagglund, professor of mechanical engineering, began working on problems for Fisher. He was so pleased with the results that he is working with several new projects this fall.

"A lot of schools have this element, but WPI has been the leader," Fisher noted. "A lot of colleges are playing a catch-up game for something that WPI has become known for."

For students, it's a great opportunity to get a head start on their careers. Kristina Lexth '00, now a mechanical engineer at Raytheon Co. in Marlboro, attributes her success in her first job in part to her experience working on one of the New Ward Valve MQPs. "The experience is great for preparing you for work since it's real-life work, and companies look for that," she says. "They like to know you can talk the lingo."

She says working at a smaller operation like New Ward Valve actually focused her attention on the big picture. Too often, she noted, students just work on a tiny cog in the big machine. "Working for a small company was especially good because you could see your efforts put right to work," she said. "People already had orders in while we were designing the valves."

"Students can take advantage of working on real-world problems locally," Fisher said. "They don't necessarily have to travel across the country. And companies can have research and development projects completed or engineering problems solved without hiring a staff of engineers. At the same time, they can check out the students as potential hires!"

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Last modified: July 12, 2010 15:40:45