The Sustainable Inclusive Excellence Action Plan is WPI's strategic approach to actualizing a culture of inclusion and belonging at WPI. This initiative spans 3 phases designed to engage our community in WPI’s mission and values, center the voices and lived experiences of marginalized and underrepresented communities, and collaborate in the development of action plans to blend DEI into the full fabric of the institution.
WPI’s mission includes maintaining a campus community where each person is welcomed, valued, and feels a sense of belonging. Diversity, inclusion, and equity are crucial to our success as a leading research and technology institution because they impact the experiences of each and every member of our campus community.
Working Together for a Welcoming Campus Community
WPI’s approach to diversity, inclusion, and equity makes our campus a community where members feel an authentic sense of belonging. As part of our efforts to make conversations and strategies more consistent, WPI will use specific definitions when talking about these topics. Following the definitions set by of the New England Resource Center for Higher Education (NERCHE), an organization committed to a collaborative change process in higher education, WPI has established guidelines for what we mean when we talk about these topics. NERCHE convened a group of prominent, expert chief diversity officers across New England to define the terms "diversity," "inclusion," and "equity."
Individual differences (e.g., personality, learning styles, life experiences) and group/social differences (e.g., race/ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, country of origin, physical or cognitive abilities, as well as cultural, political, religious, or other affiliations) that can be engaged in the service of learning.
Creating opportunities for equal access and success for historically underrepresented populations, such as racial and ethnic minority and low-income students, in three main areas:
- Representational equity: the proportional participation at all levels of an institution
- Resource equity: the distribution of educational resources in order to close equity gaps
- Equity-mindedness: the demonstration of an awareness of and willingness to address equity issues among institutional leaders and staff
The active, intentional, and ongoing engagement with diversity—in people, in the curriculum, in the co-curriculum, and in communities (intellectual, social, cultural, geographical). This engagement with diversity has the potential to increase one’s awareness, content knowledge, cognitive sophistication, and empathic understanding of the complex ways individuals interact within systems and institutions.
WPI's Values Statement
We are a community that stands for civility and respect. We stand for acceptance of others and champion those who may need compassion and understanding. We are an inclusive community that respects peaceful discord and upholds a fundamental belief that all members of our community deserve to feel safe. Our collective mix of thoughts and experiences enrich those fundamental values that have long guided our university. As we navigate through times of change, know that our values remain.
Project Inclusion at WPI (WPI PI) is a three-year campus self - assessment to support the university in creating a campus environment that is accepting and welcoming to all. Under its guidelines, WPI PI establishes goals around diversity, inclusion and equity for students, faculty and staff (learn more by clicking on the Project Inclusion tab at the top of the page). The Daily Herd recently caught up with Peter Hansen, humanities & arts professor, director of the International & Global Studies program, and co-chair of Project Inclusion’s Rubric Steering Committee (RSC), to take a deeper look at Peter's involvement within the Rubric Steering Committee and the Project Inclusion initiative as a whole. Read more about it here.
STEM Faculty Launch Workshop
Finding a tenure-track position in a STEM field is tough, but if you’re not prepared, it’s even harder. And you still have to excel when you land your dream job. WPI runs an annual STEM Faculty Launch workshop for graduate students and postdoctoral students (women and underrepresented people of color are encouraged to apply) across the country who are seeking those roles. Our faculty expertise and nuts-and-bolts career advice for future academics helps brings diversity to academia.
WPI Recognized as Top Producing Institution of Gilman Scholars
The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship supports undergraduate U.S. citizens of limited financial means to study abroad. WPI was named a Top Producing Institution for the 2016-17 academic year, earning additional recognition as a top producer of STEM students and scholarship winners. Meet the three scholarship winners.
Student Groups Celebrate Diversity
There are many opportunities on campus for students to connect with others who share their interests and experiences through programming and events and student-run organizations. From Black History Month to Passover Dinner, WPI students have access to a wide variety of different initiatives, programs, and resources that celebrate culture and identity, give a voice to a diverse student body, and raise awareness through education and ongoing dialogue. Some active groups include the Alliance, the Black Student Union, the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, the International Student Council, Muslim Student Association, the Society of Asian Scientists & Engineers, the Brazilian Student Association, Japanese Culture Club, Active Minds, and the Gender Equality Club.
Dear World LIVE @Worcester Polytechnic Institute
On March 20th, WPI welcomed Dear World to campus, an interactive art on skin projected that provided an opportunity for students, faculty, and staff to share meaningful experiences that have helped shape their lives. The collaborative event sponsored by multiple departments on campus, was a different way to begin a conversation about sharing stories and the power in storytelling. We learned that while there are many experiences that make us unique and diverse, there are many shared experiences that can bring us together.
WPI Stands Against Racism
Stand Against Racism is a signature campaign of YWCA USA to build community among those who work for racial justice and to raise awareness about the negative impact of institutional and structural racism in various communities world-wide. This campaign is one part of the YWCA's larger national strategy to fulfill their mission of eliminating racism. Founded by YWCA Trenton and YWCA Princeton in 2007, Stand Against Racism quickly grew to a national presence by 2010, when an additional 80 YWCAs across the nation participated and institutions began partnering with them. In 2018, over 470 Stand Against Racism events were held nationwide, in nearly every state. Participants included over 190 YWCAs, as well as state and local governments, schools, nonprofit organizations, various companies and small businesses, houses of worship, and more. Last year’s campaign also featured over 20 national partner organizations, including the United State of Women, Moms Rising, the American Constitution Society, Planned Parenthood, the Women’s March, and others. Every year, WPI stands tall as one of the many participating institutions in campaigning with YWCAs across the country to provide resources to women, children, and families in need. It is in our mission, through our research, and in the things we build and put out into the world. We have always pressed forward for change and will continue to do so.
Assisting International Students
As home to the Office of International Students and Scholars, the International House at 28 Trowbridge Road offers advice, guidance, and a welcoming space for international students at WPI. With extensive knowledge of essential services and issues of concern to international students, the team here supports the academic, professional, and personal growth of students while ensuring a smooth transition at WPI.
Dean of Students Office
The Dean of Students Office is located in the Rubin Campus Center. The staff coordinate a wide array of services, programs, and activities designed to support the academic success and personal development of WPI students, and places a strong emphasis on creating a community at WPI in which every student is respected for their individuality and unique contributions. The Office coordinates the WPI Care Team, a group of professional staff members that meets weekly during the academic year to address the safety, welfare, and academic success of students, as well as overseas the University Judicial Process.
WPI's Welcoming Environment
WPI is committed to an environment welcoming to all. We ensure inclusive spaces including several Gender Inclusive Restroom Locations and a nursing room in the Gordon Library that can be reserved here. And the staff at the Gordon Library has complied a Pride Resources (PDF) list for access to the thousands of journal articles, newspaper articles, streaming video and other media referencing LGBTQIA+ issues. WPI also has OASIS House, a designated safe space for the community.
Using Preferred Names and Finding Gender Inclusive Restrooms
WPI's Strategic Plan includes a commitment to a campus that welcomes everyone. In taking steps toward that inclusive atmosphere, students, faculty, and staff may choose to have preferred names featured on their ID cards and are encouraged to use preferred pronouns on office signs or in email signatures. Read more about preferred names and gender inclusive restrooms at WPI here.