As the chair of the Worcester Polytechnic Institute's Board of Trustees, I write in strong opposition to your article, "WPI Faculty Blast Outgoing President," which fails to accurately represent the perspective of the wider university community and our actions in searching for WPI’s next President. While the past months have brought unprecedented challenges, our community has in general responded with unity and commitment, led by President Laurie Leshin, a transformative and deeply respected figure in academia and STEM.
Based on our Board’s interaction with the WPI community, and on overwhelmingly positive responses to a recent faculty climate survey, the two faculty members quoted in your article do not in fact represent the views of the hundreds of committed faculty members at WPI.
During the past eight years, collaboration among WPI’s trustees, administration, and faculty has led to some of our proudest gains, including a new tenure track specifically for teaching faculty, contracts that include the guarantee of academic freedom that was once reserved only for faculty with tenure, and the inclusion of all faculty in governance and voting on policies, programs, and initiatives that directly affect their careers.
Immediately following the announcement of President Leshin’s departure, WPI’s Board of Trustees was in consultation with faculty governance. Every faculty member that WPI’s faculty governance leader recommended has already been given the opportunity to engage in the search process. In fact, in the month since the search was announced, WPI has engaged nearly 150 faculty, staff, alumni, trustees, and students to gain their valuable perspectives on what WPI needs in its next leader, with many more sessions planned.
The community at WPI is committed, caring, and passionate. We’re confident that the majority of our faculty and staff colleagues will continue to be thoughtfully engaged in supporting our students and moving this great University forward. The WPI Board strongly supports their work.
Worcester Polytechnic Institute