PBL Podcast Series on The Academic Minute, a WAMC National Production

Five WPI faculty members were featured on The Academic Minute, a two-and-a-half minute higher ed podcast hosted by the President of the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), highlighting what’s new and exciting in the academy. In this five-part series, WPI faculty talked about research and scholarly work focused on the impact of project-based learning (PBL), as well as the dynamics of team-based high impact practices.

Hear what they had to say in these 150 second audio segments.


In this first segment on the cost of higher education, Arthur Heinricher, professor of mathematical sciences, discussed the value of project-based learning. “Project-based learning works because it’s more than a pedagogical approach, more than a way to teach better. It’s a fundamental survival skill for the future our graduates must build.”

Rick Vaz, professor of interdisciplinary and global studies, discusses the impact of PBL on women in STEM fields in this podcast segment sharing “Project-based learning could be a powerful strategy to attract and retain more talented women into science and technology fields.”

This segment features Kristin Wobbe, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, who explains how project-based learning provides benefits from the beginning, starting with the first-year.

This featured podcast segment by Geoffrey Pfeifer, associate teaching professor, focused on inclusion and equity in student project teams. Pfiefer discusses tools to address implicit bias that exists in project teams—a recurrent problem in education and the work force.

Kent Rissmiller, associate professor of social science, discusses how project-based learning can set students up for success outside school, citing skillsets that graduates develop that bring benefits to employers, in this segment of the podcast series.