WORCESTER, Mass. – Nov. 4, 2008 – After a 34-year absence, the Dean’s List is back at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI). Today, the university announced that 747 undergraduate students — nearly a quarter of the undergraduate population — achieved the criteria required for the Dean’s List for the spring semester. Of those 747 students (181 first-years, 191 sophomores, 244 juniors, and 131 seniors), more than 220 received straight A’s and all earned at least four A’s during the two academic terms that comprised the semester.
"WPI has long been known for rigorous, project-based academics. Preparing our students for important and meaningful work after graduation is a responsibility that we take seriously," said John Orr, provost and senior vice president. "While we pride ourselves on challenging our students to work harder than they ever thought possible, we haven’t always celebrated their academic successes to the fullest extent. Our main goal in bringing back the Dean’s List is to recognize their hard work and accomplishments more frequently."
The criteria for the WPI Dean’s List differ from other universities because WPI does not compute a grade point average (GPA). Instead, WPI defines the Dean’s List by the amount of work completed at the A level in courses and projects.
"WPI stopped computing GPAs in 1974 upon implementation of our revolutionary project-based curriculum," said Orr. "WPI’s style of education actively encourages collaboration and teamwork and discourages competition between students.In addition, the required major projects our students complete typically last more than a single term, and a final grade is not assigned until the project has been completed, making GPAs impractical. Our goal for the past 34-years has been to engage, challenge, and encourage our students to work together towards excellence. Now we intend to celebrate their individual achievements with more vigor and timeliness."