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Undergraduate Studies takes multipronged approach to Sustainable Inclusive Excellence

DEPARTMENT(S): 
June 17, 2022

The Office of Undergraduate Studies (UGS) developed a strategic plan to demonstrate leadership commitment, engagement, and support to diversity, equity, and inclusivity (DEI) practices in its many units – Academic Advising, Army & Air Force ROTC, Mass Academy of Math & Science, Morgan Center for Teaching and Learning, Robotics Resource Center, and STEM Education Center. Collectively, the different units under UGS have worked to integrate diversity principles, equitable treatment, and inclusive leadership practices into leader development; continued opportunities for DEI learning through shared readings and discussions; and partnered with others at WPI in providing campus-wide DEI educational opportunities that promote greater institutional capacity, social responsibility, and individual agency to advance sustainable inclusive excellence at WPI.

Some notable DEI learning events on campus to support an inclusive campus culture have included:

To align with the university’s goal for STEM access and retention, the Mass Academy has reexamined its admissions process and has done intentional outreach and targeted email campaigns to families from underrepresented communities. Likewise, STEM Education Center has partnered with ODIME and LSAMP to promote its Teacher Preparation Program to diversify the K-12 teacher workforce.

Units within UGS have also developed PreK-12 STEM outreach and educational efforts that are intentionally designed and implemented with community organizations that serve low-income and historically underrepresented groups.

  • The Robotics Resource Center (RRC) tailored their State grant as a STEM Challenge Partner to support teachers from Title 1 schools with professional development and supplies, enabling their students from low-resourced communities to engage in hands-on robotics.
  • The Teacher Preparation Program (TPP) facilitates pre-practicum experiences at Girls, Inc. and coordinates Noyce summer internships at the Latino Education Institute and Boys & Girls Club.
  • The STEM Education Center hosts a Campus Compact AmeriCorps VISTA to create and support on-going volunteer opportunities for WPI students in the Worcester community to support Worcester Public School students and families.

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    WPI Black Student Union (BSU) student volunteering at the Black Excellence Academy in Worcester.
  • Mass Academy students held tutoring sessions for the Worcester Abby Kelley Foster Charter School that provided opportunities for academic intervention and sustained mentoring relationships. In addition, Mass Academy's Community Service club (MACS) partnered with WRAP (Worcester Refugee Assistance Project) to facilitate weekly STEM activities at their center, providing mentorship and engaging hands-on activities to students of all grade levels. 

As an exemplar in equity in research, UGS has expanded research opportunities through the Early Research Experience in E-term (EREE) to serve more WPI students from low-income, first generation and/or underrepresented groups. EREE has been highly popular among WPI students and faculty, and the program provides targeted programming and community building to create a sense of belonging. EREE has been able to be successful for 4 summers due to partnerships with various campus offices and funding from different sources (e.g., WIN, LSAMP).

Demographics of EREE Student Cohorts from 2019 – 2022: 

Year 

Total applicants 

Accepted students

Women students

URM students

First gen students

2019 

106 

17 

17 

2020 

128 

24 

19 

12 

2021 

224 

20 

10 

12 

2022 

182 

38 

24 

12 

Supporting the SIE goal of innovation and equity in teaching/research, the STEM Education Center integrates equity, inclusion, and social justice in its consulting and trainings with PreK-12 educators, WPI students, and WPI faculty, as well as in their grants. Some examples include: