Q&A with New Provost Sophia Maggelakis
Fresh off formally introducing herself to the Wentworth Institute of Technology community at this week’s university forum, Sophia Maggelakis, Ph.D. is hitting the ground running in her new role.
As senior vice president for Academic Affairs and provost, Maggelakis is aware of the strong work that takes place at Wentworth and she looks to add to it through innovative ideas and decades of collegiate experience.
We sat with Provost Maggelakis to ask about her background, her approach to Wentworth, and what she likes to do outside of the university.
Greg Abazorius: What initially drew you to Wentworth?
Sophia Maggelakis: I see Wentworth as a university of choice—extremely relevant, future-focused, and career-focused. As we know, it was founded in response to the skill gap brought by the Industrial Revolution. This has come full circle. Today, we are faced with skill gaps in several fields that make up the fabric of Wentworth’s academic portfolio.
Wentworth is well-positioned for greatness and to address the needs of a fast-changing society and industry by staying true to its mission, building on its strengths, and continue to empower learners with the skills they need to be successful in the global marketplace.
Abazorius: What makes this university unique in your view?
Maggelakis: Wentworth has advanced by developing and supporting relevant academic programs that are responsive to evolving market needs and preparing graduates for successful careers. Our student-centered education and the portfolio of our programs, focusing on STEM, architecture, design, and business, along with the required co-op and hands-on experience, prepare students to respond to the current skill gap and to become future leaders.
Our students are taught by caring and supportive faculty who are dedicated to their mission as educators and contribute to the intellectual growth of our students. Additionally, Wentworth has been recognized in national and regional rankings for its high return on investment and alumni occupational earnings power–both very important.
I feel honored and privileged to be part of Wentworth’s professional family.
Abazorius: Having started at Wentworth roughly a month ago, what has been your early impression of the community here, and what are you most looking forward to when it comes to working with everyone?
Maggelakis: I have not had the chance to meet with all our faculty, students, and staff yet—which is my goal—but based on the few meetings I had so far and on what I have heard, I am looking forward to collaborating and engaging with everyone. I’d love for us to build upon our strengths, reinforce emerging areas, and identify strategic areas of growth so we can embark on the journey that will help us write the next chapter of Wentworth. I am passionate about higher education, and I would like to use the experience I have gained during the past 20 years as an academic leader to make a difference and have a positive impact.
Abazorius: I know that you were most recently at Rochester Institute of Technology in New York. How are you enjoying Boston thus far?
Maggelakis: I have visited Boston many times, but this is my first time working in the area. Boston is one of my favorite cities because it’s an academically and culturally vibrant one. It offers many social and economic opportunities and benefits for our students and all of us.
Abazorius: What stands out as one of your proudest moments at RIT?
Maggelakis: Achieving our goals through teamwork, cooperation, and collaboration. It is my strong belief that people are our most important asset, as it’s the people who make a university great. Recruiting excellent faculty and staff is crucial to achieving our goals and to the success of our students. As an academic leader, I have focused my efforts towards building strong collaborations and motivating and inspiring the stakeholders of our community.
I am very proud of the many achievements of the academic units and programs I have led, which have been accomplished through teamwork, cooperation, and collaboration. Together we fostered the value of a well-rounded education, built strong student and faculty bonds, expanded the experiential education for learning, built signature academic programs, established new research and scholarship areas, and had an impact on student, faculty, and staff success.
Abazorius: Do you have any hobbies outside of the education realm that people would be interested in?
Maggelakis: I like swimming, hiking, bird watching, gardening, dancing, and discussing philosophy and art.
Abazorius: How would you describe your approach to higher education?
Maggelakis: To foster love for life-long learning and an appreciation for the value and transformative power of education in changing lives and our world. I view education as the most precious gift we can offer to our society, an incubator for new knowledge and discoveries, and as a catalyst for economic development and a healthy society.
It is my strong belief that our mission as academic leaders is to educate students, so that they not only have successful and fulfilling careers, but they also develop strong acumen for civic engagement.
Abazorius: Inclusive Excellence is paramount among Wentworth’s goals—what is your approach to that idea in particular?
Maggelakis: I regard everything we do through the lens of diversity, equity, and inclusion, teamwork, cooperation, and collaboration. It is important that we focus on recruiting and retaining students, faculty, and staff from underrepresented groups, build a community of equity, and foster a welcoming environment that supports and accepts all members of our professional community, makes respect a core characteristic of engagement, and promotes a truly inclusive culture and a diverse community in which we support, trust, respect, embrace, and uplift one another.