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Distributed February 28, 2004
Contact Mark Nickel

February 2004 Meeting of the Corporation
Corporation approves historic 15-year Plan for Academic Enrichment

The Plan for Academic Enrichment, approved by the Brown Corporation at its regular meeting Saturday, Feb. 28, 2004, outlines more than a decade of investments in Brown’s faculty, academic programs, core academic facilities, environment for student living, and the physical campus – a program that could transform the University. (See related releases.)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — At their regular winter meeting today (Saturday, Feb. 28, 2004), the trustees and fellows of the Corporation of Brown University unanimously approved a new Plan for Academic Enrichment that will substantially enhance, increase and in some cases transform the University’s academic program and core facilities during the next 10 to 15 years and beyond.

“Two years ago, the Corporation gave its unanimous endorsement to an early set of enrichment initiatives and requested that the administration continue its work and develop a more detailed and comprehensive plan,” said Brown Chancellor Stephen Robert. “The Plan for Academic Enrichment, which we approved today, is substantial – every bit as bold and ambitious as we had hoped it would be. It will guide Brown through nearly two decades of investments that will sustain and enhance an already great institution.”

The plan outlines a period of focused growth and investment that will affect every area of the University:

  • Continued expansion of the Brown faculty. A 20-percent increase in faculty (100 additional positions), endorsed by the Corporation two years ago, is under way. The Corporation has approved an annual faculty increase of as many as 13 additional positions after the original 100 positions are in place.
  • Growth of multidisciplinary initiatives and partnerships. Brown has already concluded institutional partnerships with Trinity Repertory Co. and the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole. Brown also has established the Humanities Center, the Center for Environmental Change, the Center for Spatial Structures in the Social Sciences, the Center for Computational Molecular Biology, and the Center for Genetics, Genomics and Proteomics. Additional centers may be developed.
  • Enhanced capabilities in medical education and biological sciences: Brown and its affiliated hospitals will work more closely to enhance strategic planning capacity and improve clinical medical education, research and overall Medical School facilities. A new pilot project will open admission to graduates of standard pre-med undergraduate programs.
  • Expanded support for the Public Health Program: Substantial increases in tenure-track faculty and faculty within the Department of Community Health will allow the graduate student body in the Public Health Program to double within five years. The Corporation authorized the administration to develop a plan that would consolidate the now dispersed entities of the Public Health Program in a 150,000-square-foot facility.
  • Significant new enhancements for community life. A task force of faculty, students, staff and administrators has conducted broad-based and wide ranging discussions with members of the campus community about residence halls, dining facilities, health and fitness facilities, housing options and a possible new campus center. An analysis of current facilities and needs has been performed by planning consultants Venturi, Scott Brown & Associates, and various alternatives are being considered. The Corporation authorized planning to proceed for a major renovation of the Sharpe Refectory, the development of new fitness facilities, and the analysis of alternative sites for a campus center.
  • A significant increase in laboratory facilities and other academic spaces. Two major research facilities already under way will add 270,000 square feet of research space by spring 2006. Another 250,000 square feet will be required just to accommodate faculty expansion over the next 15 to 20 years.
  • A larger and more diverse revenue stream to support the University.

Editors: A summary of the Plan for Academic Enrichment is available from the News Service.

Some of the work outlined in the plan has been under way since the Corporation endorsed the earlier initiatives in 2002:

  • Need-blind admission began with the next full admission cycle. Brown will admit its second need-blind class this fall;
  • Faculty compensation and academic support have been enhanced;
  • Fourteen new faculty positions have been authorized and filled, and searches are planned or underway for 51 more during the next three years;
  • Brown offered 138 new courses in the 2003-04 academic year, including 51 seminars designed for freshmen;
  • The Graduate School recently moved into newly renovated quarters, and graduate students have received improved health insurance and financial support;
  • The University has increased its presence in the Providence Jewelry District, including the purchase and renovation of a former factory to serve as a major new laboratory;
  • A new Office of the Vice President for Research has overall responsibility for administering the University’s research enterprise. A reorganized office for partnerships will facilitate technology transfer and research partnerships with industry.

“Brown University is an extraordinary institution with unique academic strengths,” said Brown President Ruth J. Simmons. “The Plan for Academic Enrichment will not change the character or traditions of the University; it will build on Brown’s strengths to ensure continued growth and vigor well into the future.”

Resource implications

The Corporation considered resource implications of the plan, both for incremental budget growth and for longer-term capital projects. The budget for fiscal year 2005, which the Corporation approved, will include nearly $55 million in expenditures directly related to the Plan for Academic Enrichment. That figure includes budgeted support for Academic Enrichment proposals that has been added since fiscal year 2003. The cumulative figure for incremental additions to the budget could top $115 million early in the next decade.

The Corporation also approved an investment of up to $56 million from reserves and other unrestricted funds to support the initial phases of the Plan for Academic Enrichment over the next six years. Revenue growth as a result of a major fund-raising campaign, together with other steps outlined in the plan, will allow the University to eliminate the need for such special funding after the six-year period.

Some of the capital projects are already under way. The University already has arranged funding for nearly $230 million in new buildings, space renovation and infrastructure improvements. The Life Sciences Building currently under construction on Meeting Street and the purchase and conversion of a former factory in the Jewelry District of Providence into additional laboratory space are the largest parts of that program.

Beyond those current projects, the Plan for Academic Enrichment outlines another $335 million in capital projects by the middle of the next decade. Those projects could include 150,000 square feet for faculty and academic programs, major new research space for the Program in Public Health, a new campus center, a fitness and wellness center, new parking facilities, and renovation of dining halls, residential units and other campus facilities.

The Corporation also considered a number of reports at its meeting and took the following actions:

  • Set total undergraduate tuition and fees for the 2004-05 academic year at $39,808 and set other revenue parameters (see news release 03-084).
  • Approved three senior faculty appointments and four other appointments to named chairs (see release 03-083).
  • Accepted seven major gifts, including establishment of six Royce Family Professorships in Teaching Excellence (see release 03-085).


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