The Fred Harris Daniels Foundation Gives WPI $90,000 to support project based learning

Contact: WPI Media Relations, 508-831-5616

WORCESTER, Mass. - June 24, 2003 - The Fred Harris Daniels Foundation has pledged $90,000 toward Worcester Polytechnic Institute's (WPI) Project-Based Learning Community academic initiative, providing office and classroom space on the first floor of Daniels Hall on the campus.

"We are delighted by this gift that will underwrite the internal renovations to Daniels Hall, which formerly housed the campus bookstore," says John F. Carney, provost at WPI. The space will be modified to create two Project-Based Learning Community rooms.

"The Project-Based Learning Community is a tutorial for freshmen students who enroll in three classes that meet daily in a single room. The students complete projects linking the subjects while studying the fundamentals in small groups," notes John F. Zeugner, professor of history and an organizer of the program. "All student activity is measured via explicit outcomes that students must accomplish to finish the Project-Based Learning Community experience. These two learning spaces will be available to the students 24-hours a day, seven-days a week. Three professors teach and function as learning coaches for each community, with an emphasis on peer exchange among the students. This instructional approach was piloted at WPI last year with a program grant from the Davis Educational Foundation."

Students took physics, calculus and a core humanities and arts course including projects in the history of science and contemporary controversies.

"The Daniels family has an extended historical connection with WPI, beginning with Fred Harris Daniels (WPI class of 1873 and a founder of Norton Company)," explains Carney. "His three sons, F. Harold Daniels, a WPI trustee, recipient of an honorary doctorate in 1941, and president and later chairman of Riley Stoker Corporation, Dwight C. Daniels and Clarence W. Daniels, dedicated a new residence hall on campus in 1962. The building was named Daniels Hall in honor of their father, and it is this building that the new gift allows us to renovate and use for this innovative program."

About Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Founded in 1865, WPI is a pioneer in technological higher education. WPI was the first university to understand that students learn best when they have the opportunity to apply the knowledge they gain in the classroom to the solution of important problems. Today its students, working in teams at more than 20 project centers around the globe, put their knowledge and skills to work as they complete professional-level work that can have an immediate positive impact on society.

WPI's innovative, globally focused curriculum has been recognized by leaders in industry, government and academia as the model for the technological education of tomorrow. Students emerge from this program as true technological humanists, well rounded, with the confidence, the interpersonal skills and the commitment to innovation they need to make a real difference in their professional and personal lives.

The university awarded its first advanced degree in 1898. Today, its first-rate research laboratories support master's and Ph.D. programs in more than 30 disciplines in engineering, science and the management of technology. Located in the heart of the region's biotechnology and high-technology sectors, WPI has built research programs - including the largest industry/university alliance in North America - that have won it worldwide recognition.