Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 65.01
Liaison Paul Mathisen
Submission Date May 23, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Worcester Polytechnic Institute
IN-25: Innovation B

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Liz Tomaszewski
Facilities Systems Manager/Sustainability Coordinator
Facilities Department
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Name or title of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:
Creation of the Center for Project-Based Learning at WPI

A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome that outlines how credit criteria are met and any positive measurable outcomes associated with the innovation:

The new center builds upon the university’s 45 years of leadership in this impactful form of education, as well as the overwhelming success of the Institute on Project-based learning, which the university launched in partnership with the AAC&U in 2015. The Center for Project-based Learning will deepen the level of support that WPI provides to colleges and universities who are looking to implement project-based learning on their own campuses, where technological solutions address environmental, societal, and economic issues. The core focus is sustainability in both the project curriculum and in the promulgation of teaching.
Since 1970, project-based learning has been the core of WPI’s undergraduate curriculum. Known as the WPI Plan, this approach builds upon WPI’s core philosophy of balancing theory and practice in education. The WPI Plan is a flexible and academically rigorous program that synthesizes classroom experience with projects that challenge students within important professional and social contexts. Throughout their four years at WPI, students work closely with faculty—and each other—on projects that allow them to apply their acquired skills, knowledge, and abilities to develop solutions for authentic, open-ended, real-world problems affecting social, economic, and environmental matters—both within their own communities and in communities around the globe, through WPI's 45 off-campus project centers. Working within their major and in general education, the WPI Plan allows students to master critical thinking, sharpen research skills, fine-tune written and oral communication skills, and connect their learning to local and global issues. Examples of projects that resulted from this program include: Engineering and Education for Affordable, Sustainable Rainwater harvesting in Fundacion Paraguaya. This project addresses the 663 million people who still lack access to improved water sources. Rainwater harvesting offers a solution, but is often unaffordable for poor families. This project aimed to make rainwater harvesting more feasible through the design of educational materials and inexpensive water storage tanks. Another project, Alternative Water Treatment – Designing a floating island that integrates social and technical elements at the American Farm School. This project addresses the unsustainable practice in Greece of using 86% of its freshwater resources for agriculture. The project team proposes a multipurpose floating island that works alongside its water recycling system to conserve freshwater for irrigation. Another project, Matching Supply and Demand in the Responsible Fishing Supply Chain Based in Costa de Pajaros, assisted the MarViva Foundation in identifying and connecting the prospective supply and demand for responsibly-caught fish in a new supply chain based on Costa de Pajaros, Cosa Rica. Nearly all of the projects from this project based learning process address sustainability matters.


Which of the following impact areas does the innovation most closely relate to? (select up to three):
Curriculum
Research
Public Engagement

A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise or a press release or publication featuring the innovation :
The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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