WPI has long been a source of new ideas and discoveries that have shaped the progress of engineering, science, and technology. From the early seeds of modern rocketry to breakthroughs in the study of Alzheimer’s Disease, to robots that can help treat cancer and fight Ebola, WPI faculty and graduate students working together have contributed new knowledge and produced effective solutions to some of the world’s most compelling challenges. With this plan, we will elevate our research and graduate education.
Building on the university’s current and historical strengths and seizing emerging opportunities in some of the most currently important multidisciplinary areas, we will emphasize five strategic research themes where WPI can have an important impact.
- Health and Biotechnology
- Robotics and Cyberphysical Systems
- Advanced Materials, manufacturing and Mobility
- Cyber, Data, and Security Systems Engineering
- Learning Sciences and Technology
- Launch the WPI Research Solutions Institute (RSI)—comprised of multidisciplinary faculty research clusters. It will support our strategic research initiatives and develop funding opportunities and engage in translational activities with industry.
- Increase the total corporate, foundation, and government funding for research by 50% and increase the corporate and foundation portion of the research funding portfolio.
- Increase graduate fellowships by 50%.
WPI PHD PLAN
Just as WPI revolutionized undergraduate STEM education with the WPI Plan, the WPI PhD Plan will elevate our university’s doctoral programs, beginning with a program that extends a competitive advantage to our graduate students by providing a host of opportunities to further the impact of their work with us.
By 2018, we will:
- Establish Individual Development Plans (IDP) for all students.
- Launch a Center for Graduate Student Professional Development that will offer professional and career-enhancing opportunities across all disciplines.
- Offer all PhD students the opportunity to participate in global and industrial experiences as part of their graduate experience. Target is 20% in three years.
- Launch at least two interdisciplinary PhD programs in areas aligned with the strategic research themes.
COMPETENCY-BASED ONLINE EDUCATION
Competency Based online
- As part of our strategic plan, we will embrace the critical role disruptive curricular models and technologies are playing in higher education. The emerging model of competency-based online education will be key to expanding our reach in this area.
By 2018 we will:
- Offer competency based online, MS and certificate programs in Systems Engineering, and a competency based certificate program for Systems Thinking designed for students in non-engineering fields.
- Enroll at least 200 students over the next three years in these new online graduate offerings, with a growth rate going forward of 50 students/year.
- Convert three online undergraduate courses to CBE as pilots for CBE education in the residential under-graduate setting.
- Demonstrate such strong success as measured by student satisfaction and academic performance that at least three other programs will be seeking conversion to CBE format in the following year, including undergraduate courses that will provide students with greater time flexibility and help them achieve More in Four.