WPI is a premier mid-sized research university, deeply rooted in engineering and science, and dedicated to innovation and the application of knowledge toward critical real-world problems. A recognized pioneer in higher education, WPI provides a distinctive education that is highly responsive to our rapidly changing world.
WPI is fully committed to the intellectual and personal development of its students, and as such, WPI’s graduates are well prepared to direct critical industries, drive sustainable economic development, and lead corporations, communities, and national initiatives.
WPI is deeply committed to excellence and integrity in all that it does, both institutionally and as individual members of the community. The WPI community respects the dignity of all individuals. We champion academic freedom, the free and open exchange of ideas, and the frank and full consideration of important issues. WPI strongly promotes equality of access and diversity of membership, and it take great pride in its beautiful campus and in the important contributions that WPI makes to our city, region, and country.
WPI has identified several important goals that guide the university’s focus going forward. These goals include:
The strength of the Institute, project-based undergraduate education, focuses on the integration and application of knowledge, the skills required for productive collaboration, and the ability to get a complex job done well. WPI strengthens this approach through numerous academic and interdisciplinary programs that inspire students to reach further and accomplish more. This is further aided by WPI’s team-based project approach that prepares our students for the real world of work on the day they graduate.
These strengths are furthered through studies in the arts, humanities, social sciences, and management, providing complementary subjects and offering our students a complete education.
Likewise, WPI’s undergraduates benefit from an outstanding Global Perspective Program and its international project centers, which prepares students for lives in the global community. WPI also prepares student by emphasizing the importance of written and oral communication, by stressing the importance of creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship in the application of knowledge, and by preparing our students for lifelong learning, both to adapt to an ever-changing work place and simply to enrich their lives.
Excellence in Teaching
WPI’s educational excellence is directly traceable to the high quality faculty that the Institute attracts and the unique teaching environment that project-based learning inspires. WPI students benefit from close interaction between faculty and students via small classes, student projects, directed study, independent research, academic advising, project centers, and co-curricular activities.
WPI also prepares students through professional MS degree and PhD programs, which are offered across a range of disciplines. These programs are supported by close collaboration with WPI’s renowned faculty, and a range of innovative programs that bring academic rigor and significant feedback to students. In addition, WPI’s part-time MBA program, which is ranked among the best in the nation by BusinessWeek, emphasizes entrepreneurship and the management of technology. Our advance degrees in robotics engineering and fire protection engineering were among the first in the country in these disciplines.
WPI research focuses on problems that are both intellectually challenging and truly important, as the Institute prides itself on solving complex real world problems. Research funding at WPI has grown nearly three-fold during the last decade, as research increasing plays a major role both here at WPI and in the world at large. In particular, WPI has expanded its research efforts in areas where there is potential for significant impact on societal need or for clear leadership in an important field. These notable areas include biomedical engineering, certain aspects of the life sciences, environmental engineering, energy alternatives, metals processing and novel materials, and interdisciplinary pursuits that offer the possibility of leveraging existing strengths. The results from this approach is new knowledge, new innovations, and technological advances that resolve some of the major challenges of our time. Such issues require insight from multiple fields, making WPI’s historic strength in interdisciplinary education an important advantage for research success.
The Role and Status of Women
Increasing support for women in STEM disciplines is a key initiative at WPI. The Institute recognizes that there remains a national challenge to attract and retain women in science and engineering disciplines at all levels. To that end, WPI works diligently to ensure a supportive and appreciative culture while creating a highly professional environment for female faculty, students, and staff at all levels.
WPI values diversity in all areas, recognizing that from broad inclusion comes strong outcomes. WPI maintains consistent success in recruiting, retaining, and supporting students, faculty, and staff of under-represented populations through particular programs and practices that support this goal, understanding that the essence of a university—the unfettered pursuit of excellence at all levels—requires that all worthy individuals have access to, and participation in, our institution.
WPI prides itself on producing graduates, research, programs and initiatives that bring strong economic development to our community, region, state, and the country at large. Facilitating labor force development in critical industries, especially high technology and life sciences, through our Division of Corporate and Professional Education, is just one way that WPI contributes to economic development here in Massachusetts. Other areas include increasing the amount of our corporate sponsored research; promoting the increased production and marketing of intellectual property for licensing and commercialization; fostering entrepreneurial activities on the part of faculty, students, alumni, and other interested parties; and contributing directly to the economic development of the City of Worcester by developing Gateway Park as a district of strong scientific and economic benefit.
WPI prides itself on maintaining strong relationship with civic partners. Likewise, WPI takes great pride in its ability to provide quality leadership for the economic, cultural, and social development of the City of Worcester and its surrounding region. WPI has long maintain a commitment to a vibrant Worcester Project Center, while also providing a strong foundation among its undergraduate students regarding their responsibilities as global citizens.
Increasing undergraduate enrollment from 2,800 to 3,400 by 2015 marks another goal of the Institute. In addition, WPI aims to grow graduate student enrollment from 1,000 to 1,600 through anticipated growth in sponsored research and expansion of the MBA and professional master’s degree programs.
Strengthening marketing efforts to reach a larger number of prospective students across a wider geographic base will be a key aspect of this initiative. So, too, will be the commitment to find, recruit, and enroll those students best suited to succeed in our distinctive academic programs. Increasing the overall diversity of the student body (both women and minorities) will be a vital component of this success.
The Broader Educational System
WPI is committed to working with K-12 schools to strengthen the teaching of mathematics and science at all levels. Designing and promoting programs that encourage individual students to study mathematics and science and to aspire to do so in college (such as US FIRST Robotics) will be critical. Growing the pipeline of prospective STEM students will require a multi-tiered approach, ranging from programs like Project Lead the Way, a high school engineering-based curriculum in mathematics and science that serves as an important pipeline for prospective STEM students, to partnering with community colleges to create pathways for capable students aspiring to transfer to WPI. Pursuing partnerships with international institutions when opportunities for mutual benefit (exchange of faculty and students, research collaboration) are identified.
Further developing the campus as a more fully residential community for undergraduates is also a top goal for the Institute. Renovations to existing housing facilities, constructing new residence halls, providing apartment-style housing for graduate students (a key to attracting the best candidates in today’s competitive market), and renovating academic spaces are all important initiatives. The recent opening of the new Sports and Recreation Center creates valuable space in the old Alumni Gym which can be renovated for academic and/or administrative use thereby helping to ensure adequate space and facilities to support our academic programs at all levels.
Keeping expenses to within available resources and developing reliable five-year operating and capital budget plans represents another important goal for the Institute. Reducing the discount factor on undergraduate tuition (ideally to the mid-30 percent range) while remaining committed to supporting the enrollment of under-represented populations will be vital to this success. Likewise, increasing non-tuition revenues through the Division of Corporate and Professional Education, sponsored research, annual giving, and auxiliary enterprises will be vital, as is the prudent use of debt to accomplish major capital initiatives. A university campaign with a goal of $200 million is already underway and its successful conclusion is an important aspect of the Institute’s financial goals.
Increasing services for alumni, including significantly improved career information, richer communication from the university, and more active engagement through regional clubs and events and a new online community is a key goal for the Institute. Likewise, providing staff with increased opportunities for training and professional growth remains vital, as is improving faculty compensation, staff support, and increasing recognition and reward for outstanding performance for both faculty and staff.
WPI aspires to be a model institution—for students, who appreciate the importance and power of scientific and technological knowledge, and who want to prepare for lives of creative achievement, leadership, and fulfillment; for faculty, who want to share in the excitement of close interaction with students and colleagues, the fun of a distinctive curriculum geared to high student achievement, and the challenge of research and professional service that makes a difference in the world; and for staff, who want to be part of an institution that matters greatly, that respects all of its members, and that is strongly devoted to their personal growth and development. These goals, and the strategies by which they are implemented, will preserve and reinforce WPI’s intrinsic values and qualities while enabling the university to engage this new century from a position of increased strength and creative leadership.