Samueli School Distinguished Lecture: Diran Apelian on The "Why and How" of Project Based Learning and its Impact

Calit2 Auditorium and Atrium
Diran Apelian
Distinguished Visiting Professor
University of California, Irvine
Alcoa-Howmet Professor of Engineering
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
4 pm - Presentation
5 pm - Reception
Abstract: Since 1970, project-based learning has been the core of WPI’s undergraduate curriculum. 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 - 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. The WPI Plan will be presented and reviewed, followed by a Q&A period.

Biography: Diran Apelian is the Alcoa-Howmet Professor of Engineering and Director of the Metal Processing Institute (MPI) at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI). He has been in leadership positions at both Drexel University and WPI: Department Head; Associate Dean; Provost at WPI (1989-1997), etc. MPI is an industry-University alliance dedicated to materials processing with over 90 corporate partners. He joined WPI in 1990 as the Institute’s provost. He is credited with pioneering work in various areas of materials and metals processing. During the last decade, he has worked on sustainable development issues, and particularly, resource recovery and recycling. Apelian is the recipient of many distinguished honors and awards; he has over 700 publications to his credit; 16 patents; and 15 books. He serves on several technical and corporate boards. With his colleagues and students, he has founded 4 companies: Materials Strategies LLC; Battery Resourcers LLC; Melt Cognition LLC; and Kinetic Batteries. During 2008/2009 he served as President of TMS. Prof. Apelian is a Fellow of TMS, ASM, and APMI; he is a member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), European Academy of Sciences, and the Armenian Academy of Sciences. The 2016 prestigious Bernard Gordon Prize for Innovation in Engineering Education was awarded to WPI – and the four recipients are: Diran Apelian, Kris Wobbe, Art Heinricher and Rick Vaz.

Hosted by Gregory Washington, Stacey Nicholas Dean of Engineering

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