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United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): WPI's Self-Study Report

The SDG Self-Study at WPI

Beginning in early 2022, a cross-university team led by Global School Dean Mimi Sheller together with Director of the Office of Sustainability, Professor Paul Mathisen, undertook WPI's first self-study on our contributions to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals.  Other members of the team included Elizabeth Dufresne and Anna Gold from the Gordon Library; Nicole Luiz from the Office of Sustainability, and professors Sarah Stanlick (Director of the Great Problems Seminar program) and Carrick Eggleston (department head for Civil and Environmental Engineering).  Led by Elizabeth Dufresne, with particular help from Nicole Luiz (Department of Facilities and Office of Sustainability), University Analytics, and the Office of Sponsored Research, the team submitted data for WPI in November 2022 to the annual Times Higher Education Impact Ranking on university contributions to the SDGs.  The ranking itself will be announced in May, 2023.  

In 2023 the team will be assessing and sharing what was learned in the first year of submission, and will continue to develop opportunities for outreach, dialog, and collaboration related to the SDGs. You can reach the SDG self study team by email at gr-sdgteam@wpi.edu.

Upcoming Events

Join us from 11 AM to 1 PM on December 5th, 2023 for a World Cafe-style conversation to share your thoughts on this process and the report. Light refreshments will be provided.

WPI Announcement Details

Seats are limited, so please register in advance!

Goals Beyond the "Ranking"

Though we are engaging in the Times Higher Education Impact Ranking, we believe the usefulness of this framework goes beyond the "ranking" aspect. We hope to use this as a starting point for benchmarking in our self-study, to get a better understanding of the cross-campus and global collaboration happening around us every day, and to share the impact of this work with others. More simply, we want to learn, understand, and support SDG and sustainability-focused work around us.

Learn:

  • which SDGs "matter the most to WPI students, faculty, staff, and leadership
  • which SDGs we are making the most progress in, and where we could do more

Understand:

  • SDG-related contributions across all WPI programs -- facilities, courses, student projects, research, operations

Support:

  • more collaboration and recruiting
  • WPI's Strategic Plan

Thank You!

Our success in achieving our first ranking by the Times Higher Education Impact Ranking program would not have been possible without the support of university leaders, subject matter experts, as well as our faculty, students, and staff.

  • Provost Winston (Wole) Soboyejo
  • Vice Provost for Research, Bogdan Vernescu
  • Chief Financial Officer, Michael Horan
  • The Global School
  • Office of Sustainability
  • The Green Team
  • The Office of Institutional Research
  • Office of Talent & Inclusion
  • Office of Sponsored Programs
  • WPI Marketing and Communications
  • External Relations and Partnerships
  • Office of Technology Commercialization
  • Department of Integrative and Global Studies (DIGS)
  • George C. Gordon Library
  • Office of Facilities

SDG Selection

To carry out the pilot year of our self-study, we engaged with the Times Higher Education Impact Ranking. This annual, global ranking system focuses on university contributions to achieving the UN SDGs. Institutions may submit data and evidence to the Impact Ranking for as few as one SDG or as many as seventeen. To be included in the overall ranking, a total of four SDGs must be submitted for evaluation. SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals is a required SDG, the other three are up to institutional discretion.

To create a throughline for continued action we based our selection around the Global School Forum themes, we hoped this would (1) increase visibility for both our self-study and the Global School Forum and (2) decrease confusion about different initiatives while gathering data from across campus, using the Global School as an anchor. We also looked at the self-reported SDG themes in IQPs since tagging began (2020), and the publication rates for WPI-affiliated researchers to ensure alignment with the greater WPI population.

For our initial Impact Ranking submission and SDG Self-Study Report, we chose to highlight these five SDGs:

  • SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 12: Responsible Production and Consumption
  • SDG 13: Climate Action
  • SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals

2023 Self-Study Report

Feedback

Thank you for reviewing the materials presented here! With this being our pilot year, we know haven't captured all the outstanding work being done by the WPI community in this short report, and we hope you will share your feedback with us about it.

Please take a few moments to answer this survey and let us know events or research we may have missed, as well as your thoughts on the format or presentation, or you can reach the SDG self-study team by email at gr-sdgteam@wpi.edu.

Thanks in advance for your constructive feedback!