“Is the WPI Plan transferable to other universities? If the intent is to simply install the major components at another university without going through the planning and visioning process, the answer is almost certainly, “no.”, wrote Prof. John Orr in the book authored through articles by Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) professors in 2011 titled, “Shaping our World: Engineering Education for the 21st Century."
The WPI Plan components that Prof. Orr listed were:
- Student flexibility in program planning within broad guidelines
- A grading system that encourages academic risk taking and cooperation among students
- An outcomes orientation with respect to all academic activities
- Emphasis on both theory and the practical application of that theory for a useful purpose via substantial projects
- Seven-week terms with relatively few academic activities per term.
- Emphasis on student responsibility for learning.
Diaspora University continues to go through the planning and visionary process that will see the WPI Plan components transferred to Diaspora university. The founding of Diaspora University was started by WPI professors, the late Prof. Arthur Gerstenfeld (1927-2022) and the late Prof. Raphael Njoroge (1939-2014), when at WPI in the 2000s.
The Diaspora University Town (DUT) - Master Development Plan (MDP) is set up to achieve the WPI plan and specifically the Project Based Learning system.
Having Diaspora University develop Diaspora University Town not only creates a project-based learning system through the town development, but also the design of the town supports the university curriculum, staff and student’s needs.
WPI Plan has project-based learning centers in so many countries including four in Africa. Namibia, South Africa, Morocco and Ghana. The DUT plan will also lead to a WPI project center in Kenya.
Diaspora University, like WPI, will open project centers. The centers will be open in the 47 counties and in the neighboring East and Central Africa.
The Diaspora University project centers, like the WPI project centers, will advance knowledge, research, quality environment and resource productivity in the communities.
(Dan Kamau, formerly of Worcester, MA, is the Diaspora University Trust – Executive Trustee www.dut.or.ke and a Director in DUT Credit Ltd www.dutcredit.co.ke Dan can be reached via Email firstname.lastname@example.org )