Director Named for the New Center for Well-Being
Paula Fitzpatrick, PhD, joined WPI in February as the inaugural director of the new Center for Well-Being, which will provide wellness programming and support for the campus community.
As part of a holistic approach to wellness, spanning academic and non-academic aspects of the student experience and work/life balance, the Center will apply evidence-based practices to promote well-being for students and the broader WPI campus community, recognizing the importance of faculty and staff in creating, maintaining, and modeling a healthier environment for all.
“I am delighted that Paula will help make the university’s vision of wellness on campus a reality by leading the efforts to create both the physical space for the Center and new programming that aims to help students develop the tools they need for their overall well-being as they successfully navigate college life,” says Charles Morse, LMHC, associate dean and director of WPI’s Student Development and Counseling Center. “WPI planned the Center for Well-Being as part of its 2021–2026 Strategic Plan: Lead with Purpose, and the current national climate surrounding mental health and well-being has made it even more critical that we implement that vision now.”
Fitzpatrick joins WPI from Assumption University where she was the dean of the D’Amour College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, a professor of psychology, and a certified mindfulness meditation teacher. While at Assumption, she forged campus-wide collaborations between residential life, academics, and student success, and strengthened its programming for first-year students, while providing vision and leadership for the university and its faculty. She has taught many courses on psychology, including Positive Psychology: Neuroscience of Well-being, Psychology of Art, and general cognitive and experimental psychology. She is certified as a Koru Mindfulness Teacher and an MSBR Mindfulness Teacher and has taught courses including Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Koru Mindfulness, and Perception. She will join WPI as an affiliate faculty member in the Psychological and Cognitive Science program.
At WPI, Fitzpatrick will work closely with a team tasked by the university to implement recommendations developed by the Mental Health and Well-Being Task Force, a group convened last fall to assess student, faculty, and staff mental health needs in the wake of a number of student deaths at WPI. She will also collaborate with key campus partners in the university’s counseling, health services, marketing communications, physical education/athletics, residential services, and dining services offices. She will work closely with academic departments to develop opportunities for student project-based learning experiences aimed at improving campus well-being.