Message from the Provost
Welcome to WPI, the third oldest technology-centered university in the U.S. This is an amazing time to be at WPI. Our world-class educational programs and burgeoning research enterprise continue to attract top-tier students and world-class faculty members.
Students come to WPI to be at the forefront of their fields. Here starts the process of linking those ambitions to solving such urgent issues as developing new sources of clean energy and resolving long-standing health threats, protecting natural resources and growing world economies. No matter what their paths, our students all learn how to weave together theory and practice, which our founders believed to be the dual foundations for grooming technology innovators and business leaders. This model is as relevant today as it was at the dawn of the American Industrial Revolution. Across our history, WPI students have learned to see the value of different perspectives and the breakthroughs that can come from unexpected alliances. As we face the urgent need to solve the great problems of our times, a WPI education has never been more relevant, valued, and impactful than it is today.
Educators and researchers choose WPI because they believe in the superior results of an educational model based on collaborative projects. Top researchers appreciate the way we break down the traditional barriers between academic departments, university and corporate research programs. Collaborations are easier on our small campus, while our extensive resources make important work possible. In turn, our faculty researchers have shared their research by creating the first international conferences on such diverse topics as first responder location, wireless geolocation, surface metrology, and advanced implantable neuroprosthetics.
WPI has literally eliminated walls on campus to promote greater cross-pollination of ideas between departments, faculty members, researchers, corporate sponsors, and even startup companies based on the grounds of WPI. We have broadened the definition of “core” science and engineering studies, creating groundbreaking centers of study for bioengineering, biomanufacturing education and training, industrial mathematics, life sciences, robotics, resource recovery and recycling, and STEM education. In these centers, undergraduates work on projects alongside graduate students and faculty, often in partnership with government agencies, educational, institutional, and corporations.
Our project-based approach, which is embedded in every aspect of study, has become the subject of deep curiosity in academic circles, wondering if it can be replicated. We keep terms short and classes small. The study is more intense, but so is the support to help students succeed. From our award-winning first year programs, to the low student to faculty ratio (14:1), students do not get lost in a crowd here.
When you build an institute on sound principles, it will last. When you build with foresight, it will be a model in modern times. We invite you to study us further.
Eric W. Overström, Ph.D.
Provost and Senior Vice President