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WPI Plan for Diaspora - Kenya University Project

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From left: Dan, Prof. Ginzberg Dean School of Business, Dr. Endege and Prof. Starkis Head of Department, School of Business. From left: Dan, Prof. Ginzberg Dean School of Business, Dr. Endege and Prof. Starkis Head of Department, School of Business.

In the year 1999, Prof. Arthur Gerstenfeld and the late Prof. Raphael Njoroge (1939-2014) when teaching at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) would form a working partnership with an emphasis on Africa development. A University Development Plan would result from this relationship. The plan continues to progress forward. A meeting held at WPI by Prof. Michael Ginzberg, Dean of WPI Foisie School of Business; Prof. Joseph Starkis, Head of Department, School of Business; and, Diaspora Kenyans, Dan Kamau and Dr. Wilson Endege of Boston region, reviewed the current status and progress expected of university town project.

The project is a result of a university development plan that started at the WPI U.S-Africa Business conference held 2006 that about 30 Diaspora Kenyans attended to explore partnerships. Following the conference WPI professors and Kenya scholars would open meetings. Dr. Wilson Endege, then a research scholar of Harvard University, would attend the meeting held October, 2006 that kicked off the university plan. 

Through research and innovation the plan would progress. In 2009 the university development plan merged with a housing development plan that Diaspora Kenyans had started 2005 and were progressing. The innovative system that merged the plans to become University Town development plan further achieved an endowment plan for the university. The 5 year endowment plan was reviewed by Prof. Ginzberg and Prof. Starkis; they welcomed the endowment plan as a great plan.  

The discussion further explored on how “The WPI Plan,” major components would be implemented. The major components of the WPI plan that attract students from 74 countries and 49 U.S states to enroll at WPI for their undergraduate program as stated by Prof. John Orr of WPI are: “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; and Emphasis on student responsibility for learning.  

The other plans to lead to: university land and buildings; town houses; hospital to support university; and WPI project center were discussed. “Make sure I do not get Malaria,” said the Dean to which Dr. Endege a scientist in the field of medicine replied that the hospital plan would ensure this does not happen when persons are working in Africa. 

The WPI Foisie School of Business professors further noted the university plan was in line with the WPI Global studies program. The global program has led to WPI having more than 40 project based learning centers in 25 countries in the World. “The next country should be Kenya,” said Dr. Endege.  

The professors welcomed the land resource. They also liked the location close to Mt. Kilimanjaro and the proximity to the 3.5 million acres Tsavo National parks. “Are all the big five in this park?” asked Prof. Ginzberg in reference to the Lion, Elephant, Cape Buffalo, Leopard, and Rhinoceros. The answer is, “Yes.” 

The professors further welcomed the over Diaspora Kenyans who shall be involved as town house property developers and the Kenya bank working with the project. “We have over 500 Diaspora Kenyans and the bank that visited WPI involved.” The professors were happy to hear that the County Government Plan approved gave incentives. They were informed of the ongoing plan to have National Government Incentives that is progressing. 

The WPI professors also explored the security in Kenya. A recent article that will have a top design-build engineering company, Betchel, bid to construct the Mombasa-Nairobi highway to become a six lane highway answered the question on security. 

“When does the plan, we shall implement start?” asked Dean of Business School Prof. Ginzberg. The reply was: “Once we ground-break the project and kick-off the first building.” The discussion also explored the year to year development, student intake and the plan implementation resource input. Dr. Endege noted that 40 Diaspora and Kenyans PhDs are incorporated to be part of the founding faculty of the university.  

“When does the plan we shall implement start?” asked Dean of Business School Prof. Ginzberg. The reply was: “Once we ground-break the project and kick-off the first building.” The discussion also explored the year to year development, student intake and the plan implementation resource input. Dr. Endege noted that 40 Diaspora and Kenyans PhDs are incorporated to be part of the founding faculty of university.  
More information www.kenyauniversity.org
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