The Great Potential of Arts & Sciences


Tue, Aug 16, 2011

Dean's Message

Karen K. Oates, PhD

It has been a great year getting to know the WPI community! Since joining WPI, I’ve been meeting with alumni, faculty, parents, corporations, and current students; I am continually impressed with our community of scholars.

We are increasingly a global community; that’s one reason Provost Eric Overström has charged me with convening a task force on the globalization of WPI. We’re reaching out to distinguished alumni and friends to help us better understand the global impact of a WPI education. Over the coming months, the task force will develop recommendations for intersecting with global issues in all areas of scholarly inquiry, community service, and technological change. Many of the WPI projects are already pursued all over the globe; you will see us extending and enhancing this impact as we move forward.

As a biochemist, I know we can also enhance our impact through the life sciences. Over the last year, I’ve been working to position WPI as the destination for students who want careers in human and animal health. I firmly believe WPI should be the first choice for pre-health students pursuing a variety of majors; our project-based curriculum is tailor-made for exposure to these professions. This fall, we welcomed our first cohort of Pre-Health Scholars. These talented students (shown in the photo above) are recipients of special Dean’s Fund financial aid and are also joining me in a reading group that examines the many aspects of healthcare, race, and socioeconomic issues—actually, the Arts and Sciences. We’re using The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks as a springboard for scholarly discussion of the limits and possibilities of the life sciences.

WPI is fortunate to have a whole array of possibilities for future growth. I know we must be strategic and targeted in growing the Arts & Sciences. As I travel around Massachusetts and the country visiting with alumni and friends, my primary goal is to thank you for your support; annual and special project support gives us the flexibility we need to pursue our mission in the most targeted ways. Your support also sends a signal to major foundations and others that we are making an impact. And, I’d like to learn from you how we can enhance our programs and strengthen our alumni network.

I look forward to meeting you. There is a lot on my plate but I’m loving every moment as I move to increase the visibility of the good work we do both here on campus and in the larger community. In the meantime, please enjoy this newsletter—a small sample of many exciting alumni, student, and faculty achievements—and thank you for warmly welcoming me to WPI!


Join the conversation: click here for more information on The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.

Do you know a talented student who wants to pursue a health-related career? Click here to learn more about Pre-health at WPI.

Want to support a Pre-health student or program? Contact us for more information.

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