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Presidential Search Update: A Thoughtful and Inclusive Launch

DEPARTMENT(S): 
March 14, 2022

This message was sent to the WPI community.

As we embark upon the search for WPI’s 17th president, we want to share some initial information about how we are working to ensure a successful search process for the university’s ideal next leader—and the ways that you can stay informed and engaged. 

Selecting a president is one of the most significant responsibilities of the Board of Trustees and attracting the strongest possible candidates is a top priority. As we stated when announcing President Leshin’s departure, we will be listening and communicating regularly and in a variety of ways as we lead a search process that is inclusive and consultative.

You can use our newly launched Presidential Search website to check on regular announcements, to read feature stories, and to find upcoming opportunities to provide input—both in-person and online.

We are pleased to report that our community engagement work has already begun in earnest. Within these first weeks, we have already conducted 15 listening sessions with about 150 community members—including students, faculty, staff, trustees, and alumni. What we heard from the earliest sessions is summarized in a story you can access here or on the search website.  

We are so grateful for the helpful insights that have already been provided in those initial listening sessions and we offer our sincere thanks to all who participated. We look forward to more engagements and expanding our outreach to other stakeholder groups in the weeks and months ahead. Your responses are providing the critical insights that will most effectively inform ongoing engagement and communications around this important search. 

Not only is this a time of action, it's a time of reflection, which is only fitting because, for more than 150 years, WPI has thoughtfully responded to times of great opportunity. This presidential search is no exception. Already, your input shows we are aligned as a community on WPI’s well-established distinctiveness. Among other points of pride, we are hearing that you are proud of WPI’s pioneering project-based approach, its balance of teaching and research, and its pioneering a new tenure track and extended contract opportunities for full-time teaching faculty to reinforce and reward excellent and innovative teaching. We have also heard that continuing efforts to center on—and model—wellness will be essential for helping WPI students and the entire community heal from the many difficulties related to both the pandemic and our recent unprecedented losses. And while your input makes it clear there is more work to do, you are proud of the university's commitment to build a more diverse community that is better representative of the world around us.     

Across these recent listening sessions, WPI community members have recognized and expressed their deep appreciation for how well President Leshin has guided the university during her eight years at the helm. We share those sentiments, and we know she has done so with your partnership, commitment, and dedication.

We confidently look forward to identifying our next president who will lead WPI toward its very bright future, and we thank you for your continued support.

Sincerely, 

David LaPre, 74                                                                    
WPI Trustee and Chair, Presidential Search Committee

John T. (Jack) Mollen
Chair of the Board of Trustees