With a watchful eye toward data and trends, WPI has announced its intention to welcome its community back to campus in the fall. While we expect to see more students, faculty, and staff on the Hill, not everyone will be able to return—for a variety of reasons. Which means the university had to get busy doing what we do best: problem solving. In order to provide the entire community with the flexibility it needs, the new academic year will be driven by science, and powered by technology, ingenuity, and personal responsibility.
“Bringing together a community in the midst of a pandemic requires careful thought and orchestration,” says President Laurie Leshin. “The health, safety, and well-being of this community remain our top priorities. Of course, it is also of paramount importance to help our students reach their education and career goals, and enable our educators, researchers, and innovators to do the kind of work our world needs now, more than ever. These are priorities worth balancing, so we are doing all we can to provide choices in how we learn, teach, and work.”
TechFlex: Highly Flexible Academic Options
Given that we don’t know how the pandemic will impact our community this fall—either individually or altogether—classes are being designed so that the experience is outstanding whether delivered remotely or in person. While the majority of graduate classes will be taught remotely, to the extent possible, undergraduate students will have choices in how they take classes—in-person, virtually, or a blend of both. WPI is calling this approach “TechFlex,” and it has been created specifically to suit our curriculum and our needs. TechFlex reimagines when, where, and how we teach and learn. It also allows us to continue our distinctive project-based approach. Additionally, TechFlex helps WPI adhere to state and university guidelines regarding safe social distancing and classroom capacity by limiting the number of people in classrooms, labs, and other spaces, thereby supporting the health and safety of students, faculty, and staff.