Worcester Polytechnic Institute has once again been named one of the nation's best and most interesting colleges by The Fiske Guide to Colleges. Compiled by former New York Times Education Editor Edward B. Fiske, the 2013 edition of the guide, on sale now, profiles 319 schools that it describes as the "best and most interesting colleges and universities in the United States, Canada, and Great Britain."
In addition to being profiled, WPI is included in two specific categories in the new guide: "Small Colleges and Universities Strong in Business" and "Engineering Top Technical Institutes."
In particular, the guide praises the WPI Plan, the university's revolutionary approach to undergraduate education, which combines theoretical study with project-based problem solving around the world. The guide says the Plan "is hands-on and project-based and takes a humanistic view of engineering." Additionally, the guide notes that WPI "emphasizes teamwork instead of competition" and offers a "global emphasis unusual for an engineering school."
Kristin R. Tichenor, senior vice president of enrollment and institutional strategy at WPI, praised the publication. "The Fiske Guide goes beyond baseline statistics and gives prospective students and their parents valuable insights about the quality and character of colleges," she said. "We are pleased that WPI was cited for giving students the chance to work in teams on actual problems and for taking a global perspective. These skills are critical to success after graduation."
For their part, students quoted in the new guide see significant value in WPI. One, a biotechnology major, says, "The quality of teaching is very high at WPI. All of the professors have a PhD or the terminal degree in their field and they are at WPI because they want to teach undergraduates."
WPI has been featured in numerous editions of the Fiske Guide over the years. Last year's guide summed up WPI this way: "Small, innovative, and undergraduate-oriented, Worcester Polytechnic Institute is anything but a stodgy technical institute."
In 2011, Fiske named WPI one of 10 colleges and universities that "should be on the radar screens of all students looking at undergraduate engineering programs," noting the university's renowned "emphasis on projects and team building." Similarly, the 2010 edition called WPI "a pioneer in engineering education [that] has built a solid reputation in the sciences. But with its ever-expanding academic curriculum, surprising devotion to music and theater, and dedication to hands-on undergraduate experiences, WPI has expanded the definition of what it means to be a tech-oriented institution."