December 03, 2013

• Each month President Phil Ryan offers students the chance to grab his attention during his Student Office Hours. This is a chance for students to approach the president with a concern, a question, a need for advice — or simply to make an introduction.  This practice continues a tradition that other presidents have upheld—and one he is glad to promote.

On average, about 20 students stop by during these hours. “We discuss everything from a student struggling with financial aid and the ability to pay for his next semester, to an invitation from a fraternity member to attend a social event, to a graduate student who wants to talk about WPI’s philosophy of theory and practice, to how we consider ethical questions around the use of technology,” explains Ryan.  “A group of freshman students came by last month just to visit and get acquainted.”

For this president, being available to the student body in this way isn’t just to answer a question or two; it’s more about fostering WPI’s culture of availability and openness. “In some cases it’s simply about building a relationship so that perhaps when something deeper crosses their mind, there will be no hesitation to approach me or someone else who can help. It’s about the environment we promote — a very personable one.”

This month’s Student Office Hours are Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2–3:45pm. These are brief walk-in meetings (not by appointment), first-come, first-served. The President’s Office is located on the first floor of Boynton Hall.

Doreen Manning