As WPI grows from a small engineering college to a mid-sized, multidisciplinary university, the faculty in the department of Humanities and Arts has opportunity to reimagine scholarly and pedagogical activities within the opening spaces of emergent structures. This vision presentation is part nuts-and-bolts: workloads, service, structural re-alignment; part ethical and developmental: mentoring, inclusivity, diversification and support of all faculty and students; and part outward-facing and goal oriented. Already, the department has a number of active strengths in the university, such as majors and minors, a significant project, whole-life activities for students, and active-research faculty. Based on the strategic plan that faculty would co-create, I envision space for telling the stories of our collective accomplishments, creating opportunities such as symposia and conferences for more collective visibility, growth in HUA-equal degrees (either HUA-specific or HUA-involved interdisciplinary, possibly expanding to joint-degree partnerships with other schools or the craft center), and HUA leadership in university-wide initiatives, such as the Design Thinking and Makers Culture group or the Global School. The shift in vision would veer away from instrumentalized problem-solving and self-define a new way to talk about the education of the whole, creative human as expressive, as innovative, as reflective, and such an articulation would be at the heart of an emergent WPI Plan for the mid-sized university.
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