The Interdisciplinary & Global Studies Division (IGSD) has been receiving inquiries from sophomores who are planning to complete their IQPs off-campus next year, and are now making decisions about their courses for next year.
As a reminder, students in the Global Projects Program are required to complete ID 2050 Social Science Research for the IQP, in the term prior to attending their project center. You need not register for ID 2050, but should leave space in your schedule for this course, which is 1/3rd unit. It normally meets Monday and Thursday evenings. At the same time, you will complete 1/6th unit of Pre-qualifying Project (PQP) with the advisors scheduled to travel with you. So, the expected course load in the term before your project is 1 1/6th unit – a bit of an overload.
ID2050 is a writing-intensive course and students complete a lot of work outside of class time. For that reason, we strongly discourage any additional overloading during the preparatory term. Entry to each ID 2050 section is dependent upon the location of the project, so we in the IGSD will register you for the course. IQP and PQP registration occurs when you begin ID 2050 and after your project teams are formed. It follows a different process and your advisors will assist with that.
We have also received inquiries about the prospect of travelling to project centers next fall.
We do not yet know how domestic or international situations will change in response to the coronavirus. At this time, our hope - and our core planning assumption - is to start the new academic year as we always do, adapting, of course, to evolving health and safety requirements and best practices. However, we recognize that our actions must fall in step with society’s ability to manage the virus. The health and safety of our community remains our top priority, and the university is deeply committed to doing our part to help mitigate spread of the coronavirus.
Accordingly, we have not made any final decisions about A- or B-term travel. However, I can share a few things:
First, as always, we will prioritize the safety of students and faculty as we make all decisions regarding travel to project center sites. And if we are able to operate our global programs, we will not require that students or faculty travel, if they believe travel would be unsafe. We are committed to ensuring that students enrolled in projects for next year have access to those project opportunities whether or not they are able/willing to travel, so we are investing planning and effort to ensuring that we are able to deliver our outstanding educational experience in any and all potential scenarios. If some students are traveling and others on the team are not, we’ll work remotely with students to ensure that teams succeed.
In order to continue to make good progress toward graduation, you should plan to complete your IQP in the term in which it is currently scheduled.
We have a full roster of students committed to programs next year, with very limited openings. We also do not have the ability to move faculty advisors who are already committed by site and term. So, unfortunately, moving A-term projects to C-term is just not feasible. Our faculty advisors and ID 2050 instructors are already scheduled to be working every term next year.
Our planning will continue throughout the course of this pandemic, and we will share updates as we have them. We recognize that the uncertainty is stressful and frustrating. The entire Global Projects Program team is eager to resume programs, and we are carefully monitoring the ongoing situation here in the U.S. and abroad. Throughout this pandemic, WPI is following the guidance and direction of local, state, national and international public health experts, and will make all decisions and adjustments based upon comprehensive data and expert recommendations. Of course, our ability to travel will also depend upon such factors as the ability of a host community and sponsors to welcome incoming students, the potential requirements for travelers to test negative to the virus test in order to get a visa, etc.
As you can see, there are many variables involved. So, in the meantime, be productive and well, and please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions that you may have about your individual situation, or for more information about resources available to you to help you in this current term. We are happy to help.
Dean of IGSD, ad interim