Distributed February 23, 2002
News Service Contact: Mark Nickel
Initiatives for Academic Enrichment: A Summary
The Corporation of Brown University received and discussed a set of Initiatives for Academic Enrichment at its regular winter meeting Feb. 22-23, 2002. The trustees and fellows unanimously endorsed them. A summary of the document presented to the Corporation follows here.
Go to: Elements | Budget | Financing | Conclusion | News Release 01-090
Brown University holds a place of preeminence in U.S. higher education. Founded almost two hundred and forty years ago at a time of social and religious foment, the University has withstood many decades of change in educational values, civic structures, and societal outlook. Yet, throughout decades of shifting demands and changing economic circumstances during which thousands of institutions have ceased to be viable, Brown University has not only survived but is today stronger than ever. The University is prepared to face further decades of societal change with the confidence that it will emerge centuries hence with the same enduring commitment to preparing students for useful and lasting contributions to society.
While the University has withstood well ceaseless and challenging change, it has not done so without the most careful, wise, and generous stewardship. That stewardship has rested to a large degree on the exceptional capabilities of the seventeen presidents who have led the University as well as on the steadfast and able oversight of Corporation leaders and members. The greatest stewardship a university can have resides in the ability and engagement of its faculty, for it is they who shape curricula, prepare students for lives of high attainment, add to the global base of knowledge, and determine the university’s academic strength from generation to generation. In addition, tens of thousands of graduates of the University have remained involved in University life in myriad ways and made an outstanding contribution to the success of Brown: providing advice from the vantage point of their many professions, supporting the University financially, recruiting students who continue the important achievements of their predecessors, and otherwise maintaining a steadfast interest in the fate of their University. Thousands of individuals who did not graduate from Brown have also been faithful stewards of Brown’s future: parents of students, leaders of corporations and foundations, academic and civic leaders, city and state officials and citizens, and many others who have understood the critical role that a university of Brown’s stature plays. Students of Brown have been among the most exacting and inspired stewards of Brown’s mission, each generation contributing lasting improvements for the next generation. Able administrators and staff have worked tirelessly and enthusiastically to further the aims of the University over the decades. It has been said that it takes a village to raise a child. One could just as rightly state that it takes a legion of committed participants to make a university thrive over the centuries.
The pride and success that come from past efforts, however, are insufficient to guarantee future strength, and past success in stewardship does not ensure a sound future without a continuing commitment to robust support and guidance of the full academic endeavor. The future preeminence of Brown will depend on a number of factors. The University will need to address vigorously its ever changing needs if it is to continue in a leadership position in higher education. The pace of change in society today, the shifting claims and desires of the public, and the tremendous strains and challenges societies face on a global basis all suggest a need for universities that are adept at change, attuned to the broadest scope of learning, and able to classify rapidly and integrate usefully disparate knowledge and varying technologies. Brown should have a decided advantage over its peers because it has attributes that foster these qualities.
With a size that is ideal for collaboration across walls of thought and practice, Brown affords a natural environment for sustained strength at a time of immense upheaval. Brown should continue to take advantage of its size, location, and linkages to demonstrate and instill unusual adaptability, inventiveness, and creativity. The modern university is the site of many barriers to knowledge. Created ironically through the rise of excellence in disciplines and facilitated further by funding structures that tend to reward narrow, deep productivity, modern universities have found it difficult to erase the structures that often arbitrarily limit inquiry. However, collaboration has been extensive, legendary, and successful at Brown, often leading to the development of new areas of knowledge.
It goes without saying that the education that Brown provides at both the undergraduate and graduate levels must not only remain relevant to the evolving needs of society but must also provide insights and solutions on which scholars will build future advances in knowledge. The rapidity with which knowledge and technology advance today has become all too evident. While a few fields will not be dramatically altered by this pace, most will be profoundly shaped by it. Whether, for example, we anticipate the startling changes wrought by computer imaging that alter the nature of theoretical and applied learning or whether we contemplate the ways in which artificial language production or robotics alter long-held assumptions about our dependence on basic human cognition, in myriad such ways we can recognize in the future university the irrevocable site of constant, rapid change in the understanding and application of new knowledge. In the future, faculty will not only continue to teach but will evermore so be required to direct us in what is useful to retain in a knowledge-rich environment. They will demonstrate for students how to organize, absorb efficiently, and make use of such knowledge in the service of the functional, and especially important, of improved lives that extend on average years longer. Brown’s faculty, because of their familiarity with the broad interdisciplinary base of knowledge, can provide useful leadership to industry as well as to the academic world on how knowledge itself should be interpreted and shaped in the coming decades.
In that complex interactive world that we all anticipate, Brown’s mission is as relevant and salient as ever. A university-college that manages the tension between teaching and research, Brown is deeply committed to both. With an enviably selective undergraduate student body that learns interdisciplinarily from the creative format of the undergraduate curriculum and a graduate population that neither overwhelms the college environment nor gets lost in it, Brown is distinctive in higher education. It must remain so.
At the same time, Brown must continue to excel in all that it offers educationally. To have a superb undergraduate body today implies an obligation to afford the best that education can provide in range of instruction, direct academic supervision, small scale learning, excellent facilities that enable the best learning, and structures that assist with the integration and breadth of preparation needed for a purposeful life after college. The excellence of our student bodies affords Brown the opportunity to raise revenue from students who can afford to pay for university matriculation. However, Brown’s intense and fitting aspirations as a leader among selective universities would make any reliance on economic wherewithal in admissions decisions implicitly undesirable. It is important for Brown to implement a need-blind approach to admitting students. This change would result in an even stronger undergraduate student body.
Our graduate and professional students represent another quarter of excellence for Brown. Today, Brown graduate and medical alumni have risen to prominence in a diversity of fields across higher education, industry, the health professions, and public life. Especially pronounced has been the impact of the Medical School on health care in the State of Rhode Island. Brown graduate alumni are leading institutions and transferring knowledge, discovering new products and compounds, and saving lives. The primacy of these efforts attests to the importance of the graduate and professional program at Brown. In future years, the efforts of our students will become even more important. Going forward, to ensure the excellence of the graduate program, we need to support graduate students so that they can focus on their studies and achieve the advances that one expects in connection with original research and higher study of the first order. Excellence in graduate and professional study is a direct avenue to an improved society; this, too, is a fundamental aim of Brown’s mission. To influence and improve society is an important dimension of Brown’s history and will be vital to the University’s future distinction.
Our students succeed not simply because they are able, committed, and hard working but because their years at Brown expose them to some of the best practitioners and theorists in their fields. Since the beginning of learning, apprentices have found their way to achievement through the intermediary of an accomplished guide who shows them a shorter route to knowledge. That shorter route has allowed each new generation of learners to add to the intellectual capital and human understanding available to society. The continuing exponential growth in knowledge is the result of this extraordinary transfer of knowledge from generation to generation. The more able the guides, the more profitable the learning process. The more time these practitioners have to organize, improve on and shape the transfer of that knowledge, the better served students are and the more productive they in turn become.
In order to remain a robust site for the production and communication of knowledge, Brown faculty must have the resources at their disposal that facilitate excellent teaching and research. At a minimum, salaries and benefits must be competitive, their work sites well equipped, and their time for professional renewal must be provided through leaves and periodic release from teaching duties. The future of Brown cannot be secure without a program of support for faculty that will ensure Brown’s continuing to attract, retain, and support outstanding scholars.
The initiative that Brown is undertaking has a very specific aim. It is not an all-encompassing plan for Brown’s future nor does it attempt to answer all questions about where Brown will go in the future. It is an effort to nourish some programs that need to be strengthened, to support others that are on the threshold of preeminence, and to ensure that Brown’s most highly regarded programs retain their leadership position. Its aim is to take advantage of important opportunities, redress some lapses, and act quickly in a time of rapid change to ensure that Brown does not lose step with its peers in providing the best education to the brightest students that our country and many other nations produce. The imperative for these changes is our students; they are simply too valuable to society to be deprived of the proposed enhancements to Brown’s strengths.
Over the coming years, our planning process will address longer-term questions about Brown’s future, including the areas of study that we should pursue, the size and composition of the student body (graduate and undergraduate), the diversity of our campus, the growth and aesthetics of the physical campus, the international role of the University, the social and extracurricular environment, and so on. Indeed, over the coming year, we will undertake a priority-setting process that is the prelude to planning a fundraising campaign to assist us in supporting the many current and future needs of the University and its programs. Planning is an ongoing process involving many constituencies and the priority setting that will be undertaken over the coming years will give ample attention to all the University’s needs.
The program discribed here, by general agreement of many, supports unquestioned needs that greatly affect the success of the University. In a sense, this initiative covers basic support that is an essential platform for continued preeminence for Brown. Excellent and well-supported faculty and students are the goal of this effort. They are also at the heart of what makes a great university.
We therefore presented this proposal to the Brown Corporation with the conviction that, if it was implemented, it would lead to a significant period of enrichment of Brown’s academic mission: new and smaller courses, improved faculty recruitment, fairer opportunities for a Brown education by the best minds in the country, better research opportunities and facilities for faculty and students, improved support for our graduate students. What makes us certain of success is that at no time in recent history has the University accepted the challenge to invest so much planning and resources in such a focused way to enliven and enrich the academic program that we offer our students. The quality of Brown today is exceptional. The quality of Brown with the provision of these needed resources will be even more outstanding.
II. ELEMENTS OF ACADEMIC ENRICHMENT | [Top of File]
Any effort to improve academic programs starts with the faculty. At Brown an attempt to improve our departments and programs uncovers two immediate obstacles. 1) The small size of the Brown faculty prevents some departments from achieving the critical mass of teacher/scholars needed to offer a comprehensive curriculum and carry out a comprehensive research program; and 2) the resources provided to the faculty, including salaries, benefits, faculty recruitment and start-up funds, and academic department support, are below the level that broad and sustained excellence requires. The highest priority of this proposal is to overcome these obstacles.
Size of the Faculty: The size of the faculty has not been examined seriously at Brown in recent years, yet it is clearly impeding the University’s progress to a higher level of excellence. Class size, variety and frequency of course offerings, and opportunities for new areas of study (even our ability to cover existing areas of study adequately), are all issues directly affected by the size of the faculty. The ratio of students to faculty at Brown is one of the two highest in the Ivy League, and we are one of the few universities in the top tier not guaranteeing seminar-scale classes in every field. In addition, the limited size of the faculty makes an improved faculty leave program a near impossibility.
Continuity of strength in offerings can only be assured with a faculty of larger size. Some graduate students report that their graduate offerings are slim; and although graduate and undergraduate students benefit from studying together in some courses, there are too few specialized seminars reserved exclusively for graduate students, too few capstone seminars for seniors, and too few small classes for beginning undergraduates. In addition, the quality of faculty we are able to recruit and retain at Brown is directly affected by our ability to support a sufficient number of equally able colleagues in their own and related fields.
To improve quality, to afford new initiatives, and to address existing inadequacies, we will add twenty new regular faculty per year for the next several years, beginning with the 2002-2003 academic year. As the size of the faculty increases an additional eighty positions over the next three to five years, Brown will be in a position to improve the faculty leave program.
Faculty Resources: Among the most pressing faculty resource needs are compensation and benefits, and we propose here a faculty salary initiative that will raise our faculty salaries and benefits to a level commensurate with peer institutions. Specifically, we will add, over three years, $6 million to the base budget for faculty salary and benefits. Although salary increases will be awarded on a merit basis, these resources will help close the gap between average salaries of Brown faculty at all levels and those at peer institutions. This initiative will be instrumental in recruiting and retaining the highest performing teacher-scholars.
We will also add $4 million to the annual budget for faculty recruitment and start-up. These resources will allow Brown to meet our current start-up commitments and provide bridge funding for future start-up costs as the University expands its faculty and increases its research profile. This is an area that will need to be monitored closely inasmuch as we expect the costs associated with start-up packages to increase in the coming years.
Faculty support also requires high-quality staff and resources in the departments. An increment of $2 million for staff salaries and benefits will allow us to raise the minimum hourly wage paid at Brown from $9 to $10, address salary inequities and compression, address some longstanding benefits issues, and improve our standing against the market. In addition, we plan to provide $3 million to meet needs in the operating budgets and necessary space and infrastructure in the academic departments as new faculty are hired.
The Undergraduate College & Financial Aid
We are making two changes to the University’s financial-aid policies. First, we are adopting a need-blind policy beginning with the class of 2007 (the class that will be selected during the 2002-2003 academic year). A commitment to this plan will realize a fully need-blind institution by Opening Convocation 2006.
There are several important reasons for Brown to implement a need-blind admission policy. Most importantly, with need-aware policies, excellence does not always determine admission. A need-blind policy makes explicit that the University, in its admission policies, will not compromise its commitment to excellence. Need blind would allow the University to expand access to Brown’s academic resources for a number of talented students who believe – along with high school counselors and families – that a need-aware policy may preclude them from admission. A need-blind policy would also be a signal to minority and economically disadvantaged students that we welcome their presence as scholars.
Second, we will eliminate the work requirement for first-year students and replace it with University scholarship in the financial-aid award beginning in 2002-2003. This approach will allow first-year students to devote themselves fully to the academic expectations of the Brown curriculum, to the exploration of academic and extra-curricular interests, and to learning about the broad educational and leadership opportunities available at the University.
The Graduate School
As a university-college, Brown seeks to combine the best features of a good liberal arts college and an excellent research university. However, in both external rankings and internal assessments our success is measured not by comparison with liberal arts colleges such as Amherst, Smith, and Williams but with such institutions as Columbia, Harvard, Princeton, and Yale. It is well accepted that academic excellence depends manifestly on the level and quality of faculty research and scholarship; these, in turn, derive much of their strength from the graduate programs.
At Brown, as at other universities, graduate education is an important objective in its own right. It produces natural and social scientists needed to carry out research and development in government, industry, and universities; educates scholars in the humanities and arts who enlarge our understanding of human expression and the human condition; and prepares scholars in all disciplines to become the future professoriate of our universities and colleges.
Graduate programs also benefit the University itself. The presence of very good graduate students to a significant degree defines the intellectual environment with respect to both research and teaching. The work of graduate students, particularly in the sciences, is vital to faculty productivity. In order to obtain external funding, faculty must have the time to devote to research and the support to help carry it out. Graduate students are a major part of the research enterprise and serve as collaborators and critics of new and ongoing scholarly and research projects. In the humanities, collaborative research is less common, but teaching graduate seminars and directing doctoral dissertations provide invaluable intellectual challenges for faculty, enhancing their own productivity and publication records. To an increasing degree our graduate students also function as connecting links, bringing faculty together from different disciplines for student-initiated discussions and seminars, as well for interdisciplinary dissertation projects.
There is near unanimity of opinion that improving the graduate school experience is a pressing priority. Our goal for the near term is to recruit and retain the best graduate students, enabling Brown to compete on a level with our strongest peers. In order to do so we have to improve the stipends and benefits we offer to graduate students. We will provide full health care coverage for all graduate students, a benefit that all of our peers offer. In addition we will increase our stipends across the board to a competitive level and fund summer support for students in the humanities and the social sciences.
Full health insurance coverage, at a cost of $1.05 million, will be accomplished in year one of the plan. Summer support ($900,000), an increase in TAs ($1.07 million) and improved stipends ($800,000) are also included in the plan. The funds needed for fellowship support are significant, and will need to be part of our planning for a fundraising campaign.
Academic Support Services
We are adding $1 million each to the base budgets of the Library and Computing and Information Services. We recognize that these amounts are not sufficient to meet the many needs in these areas. However, we expect to supplement this ongoing funding with significant one-time funds over the next several years to allow the Library and Computing and Information Services to address areas in greatest need of remediation. In the Libraries, this will include an off-site storage facility, acquisitions, modest refurbishments of the interiors of the main libraries, and additional support for the use of technology. The computing area has a number of infrastructure needs that can be addressed with capital funds, while the ongoing support will provide additional staffing. With a new provost and vice president for Computing and Information Services having been named recently, we will begin immediately to develop longer-term plans for each of these areas with budget estimates that more accurately reflect their needs.
Estimated Costs of the Initiatives | [Top of File]
As indicated in Table 1, over the next three years we are recommending a net addition to the base budget of approximately $36 million, phased in as follows: approximately $17 million in year one, $26 million in year two, and $36 million in the final year. sThe budget lines for the library and computing areas indicate that onbgoing funding for years two and three of this plan are to be determined through a planning process that has been initiated.
Table 2 provides an overview of proposed funding sources for the initiatives listed above. As explained in the following section, we are recommending increasing traditional revenue streams (e.g., endowment draw, tuition, fundraising), the implementation of policy changes that will increase revenue from auxiliary enterprises, and the initiation of cost-saving measures, such as managing the growth of the staff and recapturing centrally departmental salary savings to support these initiatives. Note that the proposed expenditures for need-blind admission, starting with the class of 2007, are expected to be supported through fundraising.
III. FINANCING THE INITIATIVES FOR ACADEMIC ENRICHMENT | [Top of File]
Over the last decade the University’s budget has been conservatively structured. As a result of the careful and conservative financial approach that has been followed, the University has a solid foundation on which to grow. The Brown of today is financially stronger and more stable, better able to assume additional risk and to respond to financial uncertainties. Evidence of this can be seen in a number of measures, including the increase in the market value of the endowment over the last decade from $448 million to $1.455 billion; the increase in the endowment per student over the same period from $59,000 to $196,000; the growth in unrestricted reserve balances from $2 million to $40 million; and numerous other measures of financial strength. The conservative approach to budgeting utilized in recent years also enables us to generate the resources needed for the first several years of the plan largely from within the operating budget.
Financing this proposal relies on a balanced approach to revenue. It does not depend on just one or two of the traditional sources of revenue; rather the program is funded from a number of current revenue lines, from administrative savings initiatives, and from new sources of revenue. Some initiatives, such as larger-than-normal tuition and fee increases, are suggested as temporary, short-term measures, while others, such as the number of budgeted student enrollments, represent longer-term changes to revenue lines.
Ultimately, however, the University must and will mount a major fundraising campaign to provide the underlying capital to support these increases in the operating budget. The resources needed to sustain the momentum that will be created by the initial plan and to address other critical initiatives can only be generated through a comprehensive, multi-year fundraising effort.
Tuition & Fees: We will increase total student charges by 4.6 percent for FY03, a rate of increase that is approximately one half of a percentage point higher than the average over the last six years.
Endowment Draw: The budget model assumes an endowment draw of 5.25 percent of the applicable market value for FY03, up from the current 4.6 percent, which would increase endowment income by nearly 24 percent over the amount being spent in the current year. Beginning in FY04, the model assumes that we return to a steady-state growth in endowment income of 6 to 8 percent per year. Within the current spending rules, this spending rate provides some cushion (and flexibility to increase the draw in future years) if the applicable market value declines as a result of faltering investment markets.
Brown Annual Fund/Unrestricted Fundraising: We are projecting that the Brown Annual Fund will raise $16.9 million in FY03, an increase of almost 12 percent over the FY01 total raised of $15.1 million, and 15 percent over the current year’s budget, which is $14.6 million. We are also projecting an incremental $3 million in unrestricted fundraising in both FY04 and FY05. The assumed increases are modest, especially in the years as we proceed into a campaign.
Auxiliary Operations Contributions: Brown’s auxiliary enterprises typically generate surpluses each year. We are proposing that each auxiliary service unit contribute a significant share of its annual surplus to the University’s operating budget, with the remainder retained by each auxiliary to cover equipment purchases and other capital needs. We would also institute an “auxiliaries first” policy, through which on-campus services, such as printing and catering, would always have the first opportunity to work with departments. This would enable the University to retain substantial funds on campus that are currently spent elsewhere and direct them toward the academic priorities of the University.
Enrollment Management: As part of this plan, we will begin to budget and plan for an average undergraduate enrollment of 5,645 students, which represents the average full time equivalent (FTE) enrollment over the last five years (compared to the 5,450 number used in budgeting). Having a slightly higher enrollment – in contrast to returning to the lower number of 5,450 – will require some adjustments in our budgeting and enrollment management policies and practices, and it will also increase slightly the strain on our housing capacity and other student life infrastructure. Having experienced such enrollment levels in recent years, however, we believe that these problems can be managed and the extra students can be accommodated without compromising Brown’s commitment to providing the very best education and residential experience for all our students.
We are also recommending an increase in the budgeted number of graduate student FTEs by sixty, to a total of 700. This would not increase the size of the Graduate School; it would simply budget for the number of graduate students that Brown has actually had for the last four years. By FY05 these two initiatives will add $7 million to the base budget.
Vacancy and Position Savings: Currently when administrative and academic departments have staff vacancies, they are allowed to retain the unspent salary dollars associated with those positions, and the benefits savings are captured centrally. The model assumes a change in that policy – all salary savings will now be recaptured from departments – which will generate approximately $2.5 million in newly available funds in FY03 and FY04, and $2.7 million in FY05.
Simultaneously, we propose to institute a vacant position review process. Whenever a department wishes to fill a vacant staff position, the request will be reviewed by a committee that will determine whether or not the position is necessary in light of the mission and academic needs of the institution. For planning purposes we are projecting that we can realize $2 million from such a policy in FY04, and $4 million in FY05.
Bond Issues: Several years ago, the Corporation Committee on Budget and Finance determined that long-term debt is an appropriate mechanism to finance capital projects, one that would also ensure that the University is maximizing its resources that are actively invested. On June 30, 2001 the University’s outstanding long-term debt stood at approximately $110 million. The Committee also determined that Brown has the capacity to borrow at least an additional $200 million.
In December 2001, the University issued $55 million of variable rate debt to finance several projects, including the renovation of the Pembroke dormitories, a library storage facility, the construction of a facilities management building, and the refurbishment of much-needed academic space. As we refine our longer-term plan, we would expect to propose additional borrowing for other capital projects.
Reserves and Contingencies: Current uncommitted reserve balances total about $40 million. These balances have been increasing steadily since 1980 when they totaled a mere $2 million. Currently, income on these reserves, about $1.1 million, flows to the operating budget as part of our short-term cash management income. We will eliminate the budget’s reliance on this reserve revenue. This will enable us to use these reserves as a true contingency fund to cover fluctuations in spending.
IV. CONCLUSION | [Top of File]
This academic enrichment initiative is an opportunity, we believe, for Brown to take advantage of numerous opportunities for the enrichment of its academic offerings. It represents many years of planning with the assistance of student, faculty, alumni, and staff constituencies. In addition, previous administrations have built an excellent financial foundation that allows Brown to advance its mission in a new, dynamic, and increasingly robust way.
Understanding fully that while pockets of excellence are useful, we propose a program that aims to increase broadly the strength of the University in a range of ways. Improved recruitment of faculty; up-to-date facilities in support of teaching, learning, and research; small class settings for first-year students; improved support for graduate students; and need-blind admission all point to one priority: that of academic excellence. We believe that this should remain the undisputed priority for Brown, even as we continue to emphasize the importance of our offerings in non-academic areas. Emphasizing this goal for the next decade, we will continue our planning process in the coming years with an exploration of how to maximize our efforts in the service of this specific goal.
A number of administrative changes are designed to assist us in this renewed focus on our academic excellence. We recently announced the appointment of a provost who will not only serve as the chief academic officer but who will, as the second to the president, lead the campus in ensuring that, in all dimensions of our work, we are supporting our academic priorities. The provost will lead the implementation of one of the most important faculty expansion programs in higher education and set and maintain standards for departments as they undertake recruitment of faculty. A new executive vice president for planning has been appointed to ensure that our planning is ongoing, of high quality and consistent with our long-term goals. We have undertaken a search for a new senior vice president for advancement who will help to organize our strategies for communicating with and eliciting the help of Brown’s many supporters. The success of this effort will depend on the enthusiasm that these priorities command within the community of foundations, corporations, friends, and alumni who would support Brown’s mission.
A number of other important changes are designed to ensure that we do not lose sight of our academic priorities. The office of the dean of the faculty will receive additional support and staffing to be able to respond more quickly to instructional needs and opportunities in scholarship. Our small size should enable us to be more responsive on these questions, allowing us to be more appealing as a prospective employer than many of our larger peers. Additional support for faculty travel to learned societies, more attention to nominating faculty for prizes and awards, and additional support for faculty development are just some of the ways in which a better staffed and supported office can help the faculty realize their goals more quickly and efficiently.
The offices of the dean of the college and the vice president for campus life are being given additional financial flexibility so that they can support student projects more readily. This is important in an environment in which we encourage students to take initiative, to create new avenues for improved learning, and to try novel research projects. Recently, the dean’s office decided to fund an extensive project with a civil rights archive, giving Brown students as well as their faculty supervisors an opportunity to work first hand with original material that could lead both to near-term student theses and essays as well as longer-term book projects. This kind of endeavor should be a regular occurrence in an environment in which undergraduates as well as graduate students have the capacity for empirical and original work. It should be understood to be a routine feature of study at Brown University. Numerous other changes are underway to ensure that we are organized in every way to support the goals implicit in this proposal.
Where will the implementation of these plans lead us and how will Brown be different if all of our resources (human as well as capital) are deployed to serve these needs? While it would be difficult to be precise about where improvements will occur, we can spell out the ways in which we hope to monitor these improvements.
Quality of Academic Programs
Following the proposed investments, we would expect to see within a decade the following positive changes:
This is an ambitious set of expectations, to be sure, and in order to meet these expectations over time, we will need to add to this program of academic enrichment a number of other improvements. Over the 2002-2003 academic year, the executive vice president for planning, with the president, will lead a year-long priority-setting process that will design a comprehensive set of projects for a longer horizon that will increase our ability to realize these goals. That process will include debating the variety of needs on the campus and assisting the provost and president in devising a table of needs for a fundraising campaign. That priority-setting process will have widespread involvement of campus groups as well as Corporation members. We will insist, throughout that process, on a result that leads us to raise the underlying capital for many of the proposals in the academic enrichment plan as well as capital funds for the physical improvements needed to support true academic excellence. Our living environment will receive considerable attention in our forthcoming planning; an expansion and improvement of undergraduate and graduate housing is a necessary component of academic excellence in an increasingly competitive environment. In addition, spaces for athletics, performing and creative arts, and other endeavors will need attention and resources.
We have emphasized throughout this discussion that these improvements are merely a beginning. We will have to increase the start-up funding for faculty well beyond what is represented in the proposed three-year budget. In addition, the Library and Computing will require investments well beyond what is represented. We contemplate that fundraising and one-time capital investments will be applied in each of these areas while our fundraising catches up to our ongoing operating needs.
We believe that this initiative represents a definitive means for Brown to advance its academic mission at a time of tremendous improvement across higher education. The investments made in universities in the past decade have been virtually ubiquitous: far ranging physical improvements, increased faculty salaries, new academic programs, complex research structures, new teaching and research relationships. Brown will need to continue to review these enhancements, taking from the best of them ideas for how to maintain Brown’s unique advantage as a university-college. At the same time, Brown should continue to go beyond the imitation of its peers to discover new ways of bringing knowledge to the rising generations.
Brown’s future is assured. Its academic mission remains important and relevant for coming times. However, the important opportunity to build on the excellence of its programs should not be missed. We believe the program that we offer allows us to begin to do that in the ideal way – supporting those areas that most bring a great university to life: its faculty and students.