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School of Arts & Sciences Faculty by Department

Faculty in the School of Arts & Sciences use their expertise, diverse perspectives, and commitment to excellence in higher education to WPI's classrooms and labs. Collaboration across disciplines and across the university means A&S faculty leverage their work so it has the greatest beneficial impact on people and communities all over the world. 

Department Heads

Robert  Krueger

Robert Krueger

Head of the Department of Social Science and Policy Studies, ad Interim

Robert Krueger is a human geographer whose scholarship and teaching focus on creating sustainable, socially just, improvements to development projects in the global north and south. His work has taken him around the world. He has worked in countries in North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa, on issues of economic development and institutional change. His scholarship and teaching challenge conventional notions of economic development, economy-environment relationships, and social change.

Anita Elaine Mattson

Anita Elaine Mattson

Professor & Department Head-Chemistry & Biochemistry

Research in the Mattson Group is a combination of catalyst design, methodology development, and complex molecule synthesis. Our catalyst design program is focused on the synthesis and study of new families of non-covalent catalysts, including boronate ureas and silanediols, that are able to promote new reactivity patterns. The catalyst design and associated reaction development programs are currently geared toward the synthesis of enantioenriched nitrogen and oxygen heterocycles that frequently appear in naturally occurring bioactive compounds.

Kathryn  Moncrief

Kathryn Moncrief

Professor & Department Head

Kathryn M. Moncrief is Paris Fletcher Distinguished Professor of Humanities and Head of Humanities and Arts at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in Worcester, MA. She was previously Professor and Chair of English at Washington College, in Chestertown, MD where she taught courses in Shakespeare, Milton, and early modern literature and culture and received the Washington College Alumni Association Award for Distinguished Teaching. She serves as co-editor of the Shakespeare Life and Times section of the Internet Shakespeare Editions and has published widely on Shakespeare and performance.

Sarah D Olson

Sarah Olson

Professor & Department Head-Mathematical Science

At WPI, I enjoy teaching all courses fundamental to applied mathematics, scientific computing, and modeling. I look forward to mentoring students interested in working on areas in Mathematical Biology, Computational Biofluids, and Scientific Computing. I specialize in Mathematical Biology, understanding emergent properties of complex systems. The goals of these models are to understand the underlying biological processes and make predictions. Please visit my website to learn more about recent research projects.

Douglas Todd Petkie

Douglas T. Petkie

Professor and Department Head

It is my pleasure to work with students and colleagues to elevate the impact WPI has on the world. WPI has a dynamic and energetic environment with a strong focus on experiential learning and interdisciplinary research. The balance between theory and practice and the passion everyone shares for the WPI Plan and the Project Based Curriculum makes this a truly unique place, where you get degrees for project accomplishments rather than courses completed.

Reeta Prusty Rao

Reeta Rao

Professor & Department Head-Biology & Biotechnology

My research program focuses on understanding and managing fungal diseases. We primarily study Candida albicans, an opportunistic pathogen and the most prevalent fungal pathogen of humans. It is responsible for common clinical problems including oral thrush and vaginitis, but can also lead to life-threatening systematic infections in immunocompromised individuals such as AIDS patients, resulting in 30-50% mortality rates. The estimated annual cost of treating nosocomial Candida infections exceeds $1 billion per year.

Craig E Wills

Craig Wills

Professor and Department Head

My research has primarily focused on Internet application performance and measurement with more recent work examining issues related to Internet privacy. This work has led to a number of research publications and presentations as well as visibility in venues such as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and NPR Science Friday.

Jing  Xiao

Jing Xiao

Professor & Department Head

My research spans robotics, haptics, multi-modal perception, and artificial intelligence, at the intersection of computer science and engineering. There are two highly related themes in my robotics research: one is the focus on “contact sport”, i.e., the contact and interaction between a robot or a part/tool it holds and the environment, and the other is real-time adaptiveness of robots to uncertainty and uncertain changes in an environment based on perception.

Faculty Awards & Achievements

two individual headshots with Roger Gottlieb on the left and Elke Rundensteiner on the right

Gottlieb and Rundensteiner Named William B. Smith Professors

Elke Rundensteiner, professor of computer science, and Roger S. Gottlieb, professor of philosophy, have been named William B. Smith Professors. The distinguished William B. Smith Professorships were established by the estate of William Binns Smith, a local entrepreneur and 20th century industrialist. 

2020 Board of Trustees' Award for Academic Advising

Gillian Smith, director of the IMGD program and associate professor of computer science, is an award-winning video game designer with expertise in computational creativity, computer science education, and the intersection of traditional crafts and computation.


2020 Board of Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Research and Creative Scholarship

Jagan Srinivasan, professor of biology & biotechnology, is an established researcher who uses cutting-edge tools to decipher how the nervous system detects, interprets, and transmits olfactory information that impacts behavior.

2020 Chairman's Exemplary Faculty Prize

Kristin Boudreau, professor of humanities & arts, is the author of three books and numerous articles on American literature as well as articles on engineering education

2020 Romeo L. Moruzzi Young Faculty Award

Carlo Pinciroli, assistant professor of robotics engineering, uses elements of video game design in his robotics engineering and computer science courses to generate greater student participation and comprehension of the subject.

2021 Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Teaching

Esther Boucher-Yip, associate teaching professor of humanities & arts, teaches courses in the professional writing program and academic English for international students

2021 Romeo L. Moruzzi Young Faculty Award

Joshua Rohde, assistant teaching professor of humanities & arts and director of choral activities, was honored for using music to encourage students’ engagement with social justice issues.