WPI University Lecture to Address 'The Obligation of Knowledge'

University's New Dean of Arts & Sciences Will Explore How an Educated Workforce Can Improve the Nation's Economic Vitality, Security, and Quality of Life
Media Contact
November 08, 2010


During Worcester Polytechnic Institute's (WPI) Nov. 9 University Lecture, Professor Karen Kashmanian Oates, WPI's inaugural Peterson Family Dean of Arts and Sciences, will explore how an educated workforce can improve the nation's economic vitality, security, and quality of life. Through her lecture, "The Obligation of Knowledge," Dean Oates will also address how a university and its community are obligated to respond, act, and make an impact on a student's ability to learn.  The lecture will take place from 5 to 6 p.m. in Alden Memorial.

The University Lecture Series, which is open to the public and sponsored by the WPI Office of the President, provides a forum for speakers of national and international importance to enhance scholarly and scientific learning and stimulate intellectual conversation in the community.

Oates, a nationally recognized scientist, science educator, and higher education leader, is the Peterson Family Dean of Arts and Sciences at WPI. As the inaugural arts and sciences dean at WPI, Oates oversees seven academic departments—Biology and Biotechnology, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Computer Science, Humanities and Arts, Mathematical Sciences, Physics, and Social Science and Policy Studies—as well as WPI's interdisciplinary programs in Environmental Science, Robotics, and Interactive Media & Game Development.

She is also responsible for helping promote and augment WPI's aggressive investment in the life sciences, which includes the Gateway Park development, the Life Sciences and Bioengineering Center, the George I. Alden Life Sciences and Bioengineering Educational Center, and the addition of more than 10 new tenure-track faculty members in life sciences fields over the past three years. Driven by these investments, enrollment in WPI's life sciences programs has grown 86 percent over the past four years.

Prior to her fall 2010 arrival at WPI, Dean Oates served as deputy director of undergraduate education at the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Division of Undergraduate Studies, which supports innovative programs to strengthen undergraduate education and help revitalize American entrepreneurship as well as competitiveness.

Read more about Dean Oates.