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Welcome, Recognition, and Resources for Faculty

DEPARTMENT(S): 
August 16, 2022

This message was sent to WPI faculty.

First and foremost: Welcome back and Happy Academic New Year! Students and faculty have begun to return to campus and the energy is amazing. 

I want to recognize the many faculty who have been working throughout the summer. Many of you advised projects and taught regular courses, developed and tested new courses, spent many hours on research and in your labs, and advised research students (at all levels, including graduate students to undergraduate students as well as teachers and even high school students). 

I also want to thank the faculty, staff, and students who continued working on the Mental Health Implementation Team (MHIT) throughout the summer. I was proud to be co-chair of the MHIT Academics section before being appointed Interim Provost, and I’m so pleased that their work is providing new perspectives and new resources for students and faculty. That work has been collected in a new document on the Canvas site of the Morgan Center for Teaching and Learning (see QuickLinks: Strategies for Centering Well-Being in WPI Courses). Please take time to review and use the material in your own classroom and lab as you see fit.

Topics include:  

  • Setting the Tone: The Syllabus and The First Day of Class
  • Building Flexibility Into Your Courses: Considerations for the Syllabus 
  • Lecture Capture and Zoom: A Double-Edged Sword 
  • Being the Champion Our Students Need: Well-Being Resources and Reinforcements 

You’ll also find a link to the WPI Educators Information Exchange, a Teams site through which many of you have shared suggestions, questions, life hacks, and tips for effective and rewarding interactions with students. Please visit, use, and add to the resources. 

I won’t mention that we follow a Monday schedule on the first day of classes. (Dean of Undergraduate Studies Arne Gericke will take care of that!) I do want to remind you that six Wellness Days have been built into the 2022-23 academic calendar:  

  • September 23, 2022: Wellness and Community Day 
  • November 7, 2022: Wellness and Community Day 
  • December 13, 2022: Wellness and Rest Day 
  • February 1, 2023: Wellness and Community Day 
  • February 24, 2023: Wellness and Rest Day 
  • March 28, 2023: Wellness and Community Day 

Please keep these dates in mind when planning your courses and lab work. While there will be some special events and special programming for these days, remember that the intent of the Wellness Days is to allow members of the community to take time from work and classes to relax, reenergize, and connect.  

I also want to mention that WPI is now offering Kognito, a 45-minute online, interactive session to help provide a foundation of knowledge regarding mental health issues and suicide prevention. Additional information on the importance of this effort will be coming soon, but I encourage you to log in with your WPI credentials as soon as you are able, even before classes start. Everyone on campus—students, faculty, and staff—is expected to complete this Kognito module by mid-October.  

Happy New Year!
Art Heinricher
Interim Provost