Bernard M. Gordon Prize

NAE recognizes the WPI Plan and four WPI faculty members with the prestigious Bernard M. Gordon Prize

The National Academy of Engineering recognized Worcester Polytechnic Institute with the 2016 Bernard M. Gordon Prize for Innovation in Engineering and Technology Education for the WPI Plan, the university’s revolutionary project-based approach to education. The award also recognizes the leadership and contributions of four faculty leaders who continued the development and growth of opportunities offered by the WPI Plan.

The award was given “for a project-based engineering curriculum developing leadership, innovative problem solving, interdisciplinary collaboration, and global competencies,” and is shared by Diran Apelian, Alcoa-Howmet Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Director of WPI’s Metal Processing Institute; Arthur Heinricher, Dean of Undergraduate Studies; Richard Vaz, Director of the Center for Project-Based Learning; and Kristin Wobbe, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies. It was presented at WPI on April 15, 2016, by NAE president C. D. Mote Jr.

Diran Apelian

Diran Apelian is Alcoa-Howmet Professor of Mechanical Engineering at WPI and Director of the university’s Metal Processing Institute.

Arthur Heinricher

Arthur Heinricher is a Professor of Mathematical Sciences and the Dean of Undergraduate Studies.

Richard Vaz

Richard Vaz is the Director of the Center for Project-Based Learning and former Dean of Interdisciplinary and Global Studies, where he oversaw the expansion of WPI’s Global Projects Program for nearly ten years.

Kristin Wobbe

Kristin Wobbe is the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies and was a significant driver of the development and implementation of the Great Problems Seminar.

The Gordon Prize is an annual award recognizing new modalities and experiments in education that develop effective engineering leaders. It includes a $500,000 award, half of which will go to the university in “support of the continued development, refinement, and dissemination of the [WPI Plan].”

C. D. Mote Jr.
NAE president

“I am pleased to recognize the 2016 Gordon Prize recipients and Worcester Polytechnic Institute for their transformational program to develop engineering leaders prepared to tackle society’s greatest challenges.”


Read more on the WPI Plan, recognized for its revolutionary project-based approach to education.