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Sustainable Inclusive Excellence Update - University Advancement

August 5, 2022

Our mission: University Advancement is the capacity builder that enables WPI to transform lives, turn knowledge into action to confront global challenges, and revolutionize STEM through distinctive and inclusive education, projects, and research.  

In support of that mission, University Advancement is committed to achieving our SIE goals and contributing to the creation of a culture in which all members of the WPI community feel an authentic sense of inclusion and belonging. As a division, our SIE goals are to:  

  • Promote and encourage staff educational opportunities around topics of diversity, equity, inclusion, and access. 

  • Cultivate partnerships with corporations, foundations, government agencies, and community organizations in support of WPI’s DEI goals. 

  • Create opportunities that promote increased engagement of alumni from underrepresented and marginalized populations. 

  • Ensure that Advancement communications are representative of the WPI community, and that content and messaging reflects university-wide efforts to build and sustain an inclusive campus culture. 

  • Develop and implement strategies to raise funds in support of WPI’s DIE goals. 

These goals cut across the work of our entire division, and we have launched a number of activities over the past year aimed at addressing issues of equity, inclusion, and access. Some highlights of our efforts to date include:  

  • Established a new process for identifying training and development needs and reviewing requests, making professional development opportunities more accessible to all staff in the division. 

  • Developed and implemented a new approach for WPI involvement in Worcester community events, facilitating engagement with the community to increase visibility and expand access to WPI programs and resources. 

  • Partnered with the Alumni of Color Association to assist with their programs, including their first in-person event (Juneteenth Celebration) and fundraising for a new scholarship fund – the Dr. Debora Jackson Endowment for BIPOC Students

  • Worked with the volunteer leadership of the Women’s Impact Network (WIN) to complete a 5 year program assessment and establish future direction for the organization, with goals to increase awareness of WIN and philanthropic support for WIN Impact Grants

  • Increased the representation of diverse populations in digital and print communications and alumni programs. 

  • Created a new format for The Bridge, our alumni e-newsletter, including an affinity group spotlight to regularly feature different alumni groups. 

  • Implemented efforts to identify and recruit a more diverse pool of candidates for volunteer leadership roles, with increased diversity among new members on the Board of Trustees and Alumni Association Board of Directors. 

  • Highlighted Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion as an area of focus on Giving Day, featuring funds that support DEI efforts on campus.  

  • Partnered with the Alumni Association Board of Directors to develop and implement DEI goals. The Board has established a standing committee, whose work led efforts to diversify the board and to direct Association philanthropic gifts to support DEI fundraising priorities ($70k to scholarships for underrepresented minority students, and $10k to support Connections). 

  • Launched a targeted fundraising initiative to raise $10M annually for scholarships to increase WPI affordability and access. 

  • Identified opportunities to recognize women and BIPOC alumni in named spaces on campus and endowed funds, including the William B. Gould III ’25 Entrance (Unity Hall) and the Laurie A. Leshin Global Project Center. 

These milestones are representative of the work launched in University Advancement over the past year and highlight some of the progress we’ve made towards our SIE goals. We are excited about our ongoing efforts to increase engagement, raise funds, and cultivate partnerships in support of sustainable inclusive excellence at WPI.