July 02, 2010

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Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) is one of 10 colleges and universities that should be on the radar screens of all students looking at undergraduate engineering programs, according to the editor of the 2011 edition of The Fiske Guide to Colleges, which goes on sale this month. Edward Fiske, former education editor for the New York Times, selected WPI because of its renowned "emphasis on projects and team building." The list also includes California Institute of Technology, Cooper Union, Harvey Mudd, MIT, Olin College of Engineering, Purdue, Smith, Stanford University, and Swarthmore.

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WPI is one of 300 schools profiled in the latest edition of the Fiske Guide, which features "the country’s best and most interesting colleges and universities." The 2010 edition noted that WPI is "a pioneer in engineering education [that] has built a solid reputation in the sciences. But with its ever-expanding academic curriculum, surprising devotion to music and theater, and dedication to hands-on undergraduate experiences, WPI has expanded the definition of what it means to be a tech-oriented institution. Students must complete several extensive projects, endure seven-week semesters, and engage in real-world experiences. But it's WPI’s humanistic approach to engineering that really sets it apart."

"The Fiske Guide is notable for the care it takes in helping readers understand what makes each of the colleges it profiles distinctive and worthy of consideration," said Kristin R. Tichenor, senior vice president for enrollment and institutional strategy at WPI. "It is clear that the same care has been taken in compiling this list of 10 outstanding engineering programs. I am delighted that our distinctive approach to education, with its emphasis on learning through real-world project experiences in a global, humanistic context, stood out to the Fiske editors."

The Fiske listing is the latest in a growing number of rankings that have recognized WPI for its value, academic quality, and student satisfaction. Earlier this week, a study by Payscale.com placed WPI among the top 20 schools in the nation that offer the highest return on investment (ROI), a measure intended to help students and parents evaluate the "payback" value of a student's undergraduate degree. The top 20 list included MIT, Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Dartmouth, and Stanford. Earlier Payscale.com surveys ranked WPI No. 9 in the nation for best-paid graduates and placed it in the top 10 among all schools for highest median starting salary.

During the 2009-10 academic year, U.S. News & World Report in its annual "Best Colleges" issue recognized WPI for being a best value, for its innovative educational curriculum, and for its Global Projects Program, through which thousands of students have traveled to all corners of the globe to develop solutions to real-world problems. Also, BusinessWeek ranked WPI's part-time MBA program No. 1 in the nation and The Princeton Review placed the university 20th out of 371 schools for having some of the nation's "happiest students."

About Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Founded in 1865 in Worcester, Mass., WPI was one of the nation's first engineering and technology universities. Its14 academic departments offer more than 50 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science, engineering, technology, management, the social sciences, and the humanities and arts, leading to bachelor’s, master’s and PhD degrees. WPI's world-class faculty work with students in a number of cutting-edge research areas, leading to breakthroughs and innovations in such fields as biotechnology, fuel cells, information security, materials processing, and nanotechnology. Students also have the opportunity to make a difference to communities and organizations around the world through the university's innovative Global Projects Program. There are more than 25 WPI project centers throughout North America and Central America, Africa, Australia, Asia, and Europe.