The COVID-19 pandemic posed an existential threat to the WPI community. This is the story, told in 13 chapters (three of which you will find only here on the digital home of the Journal), of the process and the people behind WPI’s response to this monumental challenge.
How was it done? First, it was a matter of thoughtful preparation and sound planning. For having built an emergency response infrastructure well before the virus arrived, the university was prepared to mount a comprehensive, coordinated, and data-driven response—one that involved the entire campus.
Second, it was accomplished with foresight, perseverance, and care for others. For it was only by staying ahead of the curve, acting with intelligence and compassion, and always putting the health and safety of the community (our North Star) first, that WPI was able to weather the storm and emerge a smarter and better institution.
- A Perfect Storm of Goodness: How the Coronavirus Emergency Response Team navigated the crisis
- A Steady Drumbeat of Information: WPI takes on “TLDR” and other realities of communicating with a diverse community during a pandemic
- All Hands on Deck: The membership of the Coronavirus Emergency Response Team changed from time to time as the team evolved through several phases reflecting the changing needs of the university.
- Answering the Call: When the pandemic struck, the WPI community was there to help
- Bringing the Students Back: Reopening the campus in the fall of 2020 was a step into the unknown
- Budgeting for the Unknown: In a year marked by uncertainty, WPI budgeted conservatively and weathered a financial storm.
- Building a Response: Spaces, equipment, supplies take on a new significance during a pandemic
- Confronting the Other Virus: WPI offers a clear, compassionate, and immediate response to a national reckoning around racism
- Despite the Pandemic, Project-based Learning Thrived: With the rise in remote learning, WPI’s signature approach to education seemed more relevant than ever
- Health on the Line: How WPI built a health infrastructure to help manage a global pandemic
- Innovation Couldn’t Wait: How Research Rolled On**: WPI researchers found creative ways to keep their projects moving ahead
- Lessons Learned and a Better Normal: President Leshin looks at the hard-won lessons of the past year and a half and how they will make WPI a better university in the years ahead.
- New Modes of Teaching**: Getting students and faculty members back in classrooms required technology, transparency, collaboration, and a healthy dose of community
- A COVID-19 Timeline: A look back at events that first occurred in late December 2019 all the way to August 2021.
- Thinking Global While Staying Local**: In a year when global travel was not possible, WPI launched The Global School and creatively pivoted its Global Projects Program
** digital exclusive