Institute on Project-Based Learning

The Institute on Project-Based Learning at Worcester Polytechnic Institute is the flagship offering of the WPI Center for Project-Based Learning—serving as a resource to promote and support efforts by colleges and universities looking to advance project-based learning on their campuses. The Institute is a 2.5-day intensive workshop where teams of five or more faculty and administrators work with experts to learn about project-based learning and make tangible progress to integrate best practices into their own curricula.
Institute Dates and Location In observation of the Juneteenth holiday, the Institute will run from Thursday, June 20, through Saturday, June 22, 2024, and is held at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Massachusetts. The Institute program will officially start with the opening plenary at 8:45 am on Thursday and will end at noon on Saturday with team presentations. Check-in and breakfast will be available as early as 7:15 am on Thursday morning. Teams should plan to attend the Institute in its entirety.
Who Should Attend The Institute is designed for faculty and administrators from a wide variety of institutions—including public, private, liberal arts, STEM, community colleges, and research universities—who are interested in learning about project education and advancing plans to integrate learnings into their own curricula.
Why Attend Project-based learning offers students real-world opportunities to research issues, think critically, gain new perspectives, solve problems, and develop written and oral communication skills all within the framework of a team environment and guided by engaged and involved faculty. Through the Institute on Project-Based Learning, faculty and administrators from colleges and universities around the world benefit from over 50 years of experience at WPI integrating project-based initiatives into undergraduate education including classroom projects in a wide range of disciplines, projects in the first year, major capstone projects, and community-based projects.
 What Should Participants Expect Teams from varied institutions—public, private, liberal arts, STEM, community colleges, research universities—will come to the Institute with a proposal outlining a specific goal or project they would like to advance. Each team will be assigned an Institute faculty member who will work with them to coach them through the process. Through collaborative work, the teams of faculty and administrators develop strategies to integrate project-based learning into their own undergraduate curricula, whether in general education or in the major, in one department or across the campus. Read more

Institute faculty will use proven materials and examples to help participants

  • bring project work into their own classes, seminars, and capstones, and learn how to use projects to help students make interdisciplinary connections.
  • use faculty-guided project work to strengthen service-learning, study abroad, and internship programs.
  • develop the fundamental skills needed to make project-based learning work for students, including student team formation and development, evidence-based thinking and writing, and strategies for attacking open-ended problems.
  • create faculty development plans to support project-based learning, including community networks and partnerships with external organizations.
  • use student project work as a key component for overall program evaluation and student learning assessment.
  • build relationships with teams from other institutions to share ideas and experiences.

Institute Teams Each team will consist of a minimum of five members (including a designated leader) from across disciplines and administration staff. A team’s institutional diversity helps facilitate implementing a comprehensive change in the curriculum and sustains the foundations of initiatives arising from work at the Institute.
Institute Takeaway Whether looking to bring about institutional change to support project-based learning, or to make change in general education or in the major, in one department or across the campus — each team will be mentored by Institute faculty whose expertise aligns with the team’s needs to help in the development of curricular and organizational strategies tailored to their own institutions. Teams will leave the Institute with an enhanced understanding of project-based learning and a tailored plan to advance work on their own campuses. Each team will deliver a concise presentation of its action plan to gather feedback and advice.
Institute Keynote
Randy Bass delivers Keynote address at the Institute on Project-Based Learning
Randy Bass, Vice Provost for Education at Georgetown University will deliver the Institute keynote.  He is the founding executive director of Georgetown’s Center for new Designs in Learning and Scholarship and is a thought leader in pedagogical research and an authority on inquiry-based learning. Learn more in this Q&A with Randy Bass.