Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) seeks a collaborative intellectual leader to serve as the inaugural Dean of its new Global School.
Building upon 50 years of success of The WPI Plan, The Global School is being established to further distinguish WPI’s unique approach to education and research, one that positions STEM professionals to address challenges in communities worldwide. The inaugural Dean of The Global School will report to the Provost and work with the President, fellow Deans, faculty, students, and off-campus partners around the globe to expand and deepen WPI's global reach.
The Dean will grasp and appreciate the full range of global learning activities and programs at WPI and knit them together into an integrated and powerful whole. Graduate programs, research activities, on- and off-campus partnerships, and expanded initiatives in areas such as energy, food security, health, poverty, sustainability, and water—all these are potential areas of attention for the inaugural Dean. The successful candidate will possess a terminal degree and professional experience commensurate with an appointment at the rank of full professor, and have a record of global engagement, partnership, and institutional capacity-building.
A search committee has been formed and Isaacson, Miller, the national executive search firm, has been retained to assist in this recruitment. Confidential inquiries, applications, and nominations should be directed to the firm.
BUILDING ON THE WPI PLAN
The foundation of WPI's educational model is the WPI Plan—a commitment to intensive learning, active intellectual engagement, collaboration, and open-ended project work. The WPI academic year is divided into seven-week terms (four in fall and spring combined, and two during an optional summer term). During each term, a student typically takes three 3-credit-hour course-equivalents. Emphasis is placed on student-generated exploration, solutions to real-life problems, and an expanded world view. In addition to two required projects, each worth nine credit hours, students are frequently working on projects within their courses. Most projects are undertaken in teams; all of them have a strong orientation to the real world. WPI students work on scientific, technological, and societal problems on behalf of businesses, government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and global communities.
When the WPI Plan was developed—and the academic year calendar was reorganized into seven-week terms—it meant that students could work together on projects anywhere in the world. WPI first established a project center in Washington, D.C., 50 years ago, then expanded in subsequent years within the United States and to Europe, Asia, and Central America. Since then, student interest has continued to grow: this year, students are working in 34 countries on every continent except Antarctica.
Current global learning opportunities are provided through:
- The Global Projects Program
- The Great Problems Seminar
- The Grand Challenges Scholars Program
- The Global Lab
- Undergraduate programs in the areas of International and Global Studies; Economic Sciences; Science, Technology, and Policy; Science and Engineering for Development; and Environmental and Sustainability Studies. In addition, there are areas of expertise in the Humanities and Arts that foster intercultural competency and collaboration, such as Modern Languages and Global and Regional History.
- Area studies programs in Latin American Studies and the China Hub, as well as emerging activities in Africa, the Middle East, Central Europe, and Oceania.
VISION FOR THE SCHOOL
The Global School presents a unique opportunity to leverage WPI’s many decades of experience in global and project-based STEM education to position the institution to make an even greater impact on pressing global challenges. Under the leadership of the Dean, the school will expand research and teaching opportunities, and make good on WPI's strategic plan's promise to offer meaningful global learning opportunities to all WPI students. Within the school will be the first-year Great Problems Seminar, the Global Projects Program, and graduate programs in related areas.
In coming years, it is expected that The Global School will develop new, integrated interdisciplinary undergraduate and graduate programs, including demand-driven masters and PhD programs that build on existing undergraduate programs; spur global partnerships that support these programs and present new opportunities for institutional collaboration; create professional programs that prepare globally informed and socially conscious leaders; and nurture world class research that offers solutions to global problems.
When mature, it may be expected that The Global School will encompass 40-50 tenured and non-tenure-track faculty and approximately 100 affiliated faculty based in other units. Plans are now under way to hire additional ladder faculty, as well as to pursue joint appointments with other schools at WPI.
WPI’s commitment to global education and global engagement is comprehensive, and given the omnipresence of globally-oriented activities at WPI, the Global School will not possess exclusive oversight of "everything global." It will, however, serve as a strong force for weaving together WPI's global ambitions. The Dean of The Global School will be a visible advocate and champion of those efforts.
ROLE OF THE DEAN
The Dean of The Global School will oversee and build robust, successful interdisciplinary globally focused programs at WPI. In this work the Dean will cultivate and welcome ideas and activities from across the campus, and will work assiduously to engage external communities (regionally, nationally, and globally, from the nonprofit world, including government, as well as from industry) and international alumni in WPI's initiatives. As would be expected at an inherently collaborative institution like WPI, deans in general do not preside over autonomous entities walled off from other academic units. But this principle is particularly relevant to The Global School, whose inaugural dean must be wired to reach out, partner, and co-create.
The Dean will sit on WPI’s Management Council, the President’s senior team. The Dean also will be a member of the Academic Affairs Senior Leadership Team.
OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES
The inaugural Dean of The Global School will be empowered to:
- Build The Global School, organically and intentionally.
- Develop exciting, compelling academic programs.
- Increase visibility and support, internally and externally.
- Recruit, retain and develop an outstanding and diverse faculty body for The Global School.
WPI is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate against applicants due to age, race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, veteran status, or disability. We are looking for individuals who value creativity, diversity, inclusion, and collaboration.