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Header photo: Public presentation of 65 first-year projects to an audience of hundreds of people from the WPI campus and community.

Our signature project-based approach to undergraduate education, known as the WPI Plan, helps students become better collaborators, critical thinkers, public speakers, and communicators—vital to success at WPI and the skills that distinguish WPI graduates throughout their careers.

Project-Based Learning in the First Year: Beyond All Expectations, published by Stylus Publishing, LLC., contains the collected wisdom and experiences of the WPI faculty who helped build the Great Problems Seminar (“the GPS”), which has been part of the first-year experience for more than 10 years. More than 20 faculty members have teamed up to engage students in problems in areas ranging from food and energy to health and learning. In that time, more than 2,500 students have completed more than 500 different projects in the GPS, and each year students continue to exceed our expectations.

Quotes from Foreword by Randall bass, associate professor and vice provost, georgetown university

“Project-based learning that is thoughtfully designed and equitably executed is, I believe, as central to the paradigm of higher education in the 21st century as inquiry and research has been for the past 200 years.”

“By arguing that project-based learning is part of a paradigm expansion in higher education, I am asserting that this is not merely another pedagogical strategy, trend, fad, or one of many approaches that faculty might use to enhance their teaching … This work is about a fundamental change in the kind of graduate we want to shape and produce.”

“If we were designing the university for this moment in history—given everything we know about learning and understanding, about the shifting demographics of our students, about the global challenges that face them, and about the positive long-term impact of sustained mentored work on a lifetime of engagement—I believe we would build a university education on a foundation of project-based learning.”

Project-Based Learning in the First Year contributes significantly to making the goal of developing critical action and actors real and attainable for faculty at all kinds of institutions.”

“In this holistic context, project-based learning, taken seriously and executed well, has the potential to help students connect relevance and purpose in profoundly formational ways, shaping all of the parts, as well as the whole, of an education.”