President Leshin with Deans Jackson and Sheller

From left, Dean Debora Jackson, Dean Mimi Sheller, and President Laurie Leshin

Featuring Deans Debora Jackson and Mimi Sheller

LL: I’m so excited to be here with our two newest deans. The Global School and The Business School are essential to WPI, helping to provide our STEM students with the critical skills that help them transform lives and make meaningful impact. Talk to us about that.

MS: Thanks, Laurie. The reason I came to WPI was because I love the way STEM education is integrated with business and with global learning, with projects and with teamwork and interdisciplinary work all around the university. I think that’s just so important for STEM students to learn those skills. The Global School is on this fantastic growth trajectory to really expand that kind of education.

DJ: We’ve been conferring business degrees at WPI for over 70 years, and have been able to take business principles and technology and bring them together to make an impact on developing sustainable solutions for responsible global impact. That’s what we do. And that’s what’s so exciting.

LL: Yes, and more of our students need to get those skills, even if they aren’t getting a degree in The Business School. You’re both developing great new programs for our current students, also for returning alumni and postgraduate degrees. What are some of the new programs in The Business School?

DJ: At the undergraduate level, we are so excited about a new course that we’re offering in D-Term called “WPI Means Business.” I call it a survey course that will allow students to get exposure to several business disciplines—entrepreneurship, value creation, marketing, finance—so that they can understand how it might impact their careers. And then at the graduate level, we’ve redesigned all of our graduate programs to be online, as well as on campus. The online format is delivered asynchronously—exactly how learners want to learn today.

LL: Perfect. Really responsive to what we’re hearing from our alumni and others about what they want from us. And The Global School has exciting new programs, too.

MS: Yes, we recently launched the new master’s degree in community climate adaptation at a crucial time, when we are seeing the drastic impacts of storms, flooding, drought, and fires, locally and globally. When the United States needs to launch a new workforce in climate adaptation for communities, we hope to be preparing our students for those jobs.

LL: And just really the first of many new programs coming out of The Global School, in addition to continuing to deliver our signature Global Projects Program, available to all of our students. So, really exciting.

MS: Absolutely! We also are working with other WPI schools on new interdisciplinary graduate programs in key areas such as Science and Technology for Innovation in Global Development, Global Health, and Transregional Studies, all of which include WPI’s model of global project-based teamwork.

LL: You both are new in your roles over these past few months. Debora, you are a two-time WPI alum and a former trustee. You obviously know WPI well. Mimi, you are brand new to our community. I would love to hear from you both what’s really struck you in your first weeks and months in your roles as deans. What’s got you excited?

DJ: You’re right, I’ve seen WPI for decades—as a student and as a trustee—and now being able to help shape and pour [knowledge] into the students, the way that others poured into me when I was at WPI, is really exciting.

MS: And for me, I’m just so impressed by how collaborative it is here. I’ve reached out to engineers, to folks in The Business School, arts and humanities, and social sciences. And the students are open-minded, they’re engaged—it’s a wonderful atmosphere to work in.

LL: So great to hear. Just endless possibilities, right? I’m so happy that you’re both here at WPI, leading two amazing schools.

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