The Center for Project-Based Learning provides professional learning to college and university educators investing in the promise of PBL for their students. This promise can only be fully realized when we promote inclusive and equitable PBL experiences that foreground the assets and strengths of diversity.
We believe that all people bring assets to project-based learning, whether in the classroom, in collaboration with industry and non-profit organizations, or in the communities we inhabit. Our differences provide opportunities to be better together than we are apart.
We trust people when they share their experiences in their multiple, intersecting identities, including race, ethnicity, gender identity and/or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, immigration status, age, socioeconomic background, (dis)ability, and many others.
We believe that all people deserve high-quality educational experiences and meaningful lives, which cannot happen until we actively address systemic inequities within higher education.
We believe that high-quality project-based learning engages marginalized and underserved students in high-impact practices, which improve learning, self-efficacy, and career success.
We believe there is deep value in continuously reflecting on our existing beliefs about people, the world, and education—and making changes to stay authentic when we have grown.
Our Commitment to Action
We commit to translating our values and beliefs into action in specific ways and regularly assess whether we are upholding that commitment.
We encourage the exchange of ideas across the many types of educators involved in higher education, including tenure and non-tenure track faculty; librarians and archivists, instructional designers, student affairs professionals, and other staff; deans and other administrators; researchers; and, importantly, students.
We collaborate with a range of higher education institutions, including community colleges, Minority-Serving Institutions, large flagship public institutions, and small private liberal arts colleges. Because we recognize that all types of institutions have valuable insights into how PBL can support student learning, we learn from every institutional partner.
We will continue to provide professional development opportunities to those interested in using PBL 1) to teach students skills and dispositions integral to creating an inclusive learning environment, such as equitable teamwork; 2) to partner with local and global communities in culturally-responsive ways; 3) to close opportunity gaps on their campuses. We will continue to expand our offerings related to equity and inclusion and to offer connections to those who can provide capacity building that goes beyond our expertise.
We commit to growing our relationships and authentic exchanges with others committed to centering diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in higher education, broadly, and through PBL, specifically.
We will continue to amplify voices, ideas, and successes from the communities which we serve, with particular attention to making space for those who are marginalized and underserved in US society and in scholarly spaces.
We will continue to learn how to build stronger solidarity, seeking understanding and awareness of our own privileges and listening to those whose voices we have not heard or honored.
At the Center for Project-Based Learning, we work with a wide range of colleges and universities. Our clients include minority-serving institutions (MSIs) and open access institutions (OAIs) at levels that meet or exceed their representation among US institutions of higher education. MSIs and OAIs are more likely to be repeat customers and are more likely to work on institutional transformation to support PBL for all students.
Our Solidarity with Our Communities
We are able to uphold our values by collaborating with the many communities in which we live and operate. Several of our partners and thought leaders we respect have included their own pledges to uphold equity and inclusion, which we echo.
The Center for Project-Based Learning is committed to blending DEI into the full fabric of WPI. We support the DEI Team’s strategic efforts to engage the campus community in fostering authentic culture of belonging through the DEI Strategic Framework.
We also uphold the Association of American Colleges & Universities’ understanding that diversity and equity stand as “fundamental goals of higher education.” More about the AAC&U’s position and resources on DEI can be found on their Diversity, Equity, & Inclusive Excellence website.
WPI has a phenomenal project center serving our local community, the Worcester Community Project Center, which has collaborated with more than 100 nonprofit organizations and leaders to provide technical assistance to projects while teaching students about human-centered design. We have been fortunate to have the Center Director serve as a coach in our Institute on Project-Based Learning.