Taskforce on Undergraduate Education
The Provost and the Dean of the College have appointed a Task Force on
Undergraduate Education, to review the current state of the College
and make recommendations for the future. The work of the task force
will form the core of the reaccreditation report being prepared for
the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, and will engage
the following broad questions:
(1) GENERAL EDUCATION - Are we offering Brown students the best
education we can? What do we expect our students to know as educated
women and men of the 21st century? What goals should we embrace in
encouraging students to graduate with a more fully developed ability
to write? to speak? to evaluate and critique information? to calculate
and compute? to be scientifically literate? to create? to understand
other cultures and to communicate across them? to develop the capacity
to reach nuanced moral and ethical judgments?
And how, in the end, do we convey and measure these or other
competencies that we may identify? Are there better ways to integrate
students¹ residential and extracurricular experience with their
academic programs to enable these learning outcomes?
(2) THE CONCENTRATIONS - Are we clear about the place of concentration
within a student's overall educational experience? Do our
concentrations provide appropriate depth, breadth, perspective and
rigor within their respective disciplinary and interdisciplinary
areas? Can and should they do more to help students make choices
beyond the disciplines? What role does the 'capstone' experience play
in defining and developing the purpose of concentration?
(3) ADVISING - What is our philosophy of academic advising at Brown
and how does this connect with the philosophy of education reflected
in the curriculum itself? Are our advising methods as good as they can
be in enabling students to reap the maximum benefit from the
curricular freedom they enjoy? How might they be improved?
(4) PEDAGOGY AND ASSESSMENT - Brown is a university that places
considerable emphasis on the excellence of its teaching. Is our
pedagogy equal to what our educational mission requires? Does our
teaching - the way we convey knowledge and skills and assess our
students' success in mastering them - stand up to critical scrutiny?
Does our evaluation of teaching help us to answer such questions?
The Task Force will confer broadly with students, faculty, staff,
alumni and members of the Corporation to address these questions, in
both public forums and private interviews. Their work will culminate
in a report, to be released to the Brown community in spring 2008.
Amit Basu (Chemistry)
Jason Becker (Class of 2009)
Katherine Bergeron (Dean of the College), chair
Barrymore Bogues (Africana Studies)
Sheila Bonde (Dean of the Graduate School)
Sheila Blumstein (Cognitive & Linguistic Sciences)
Rakim Brooks (Class of 2009)
Deborah Cohen (History)
Fiona Heckscher (Class of 2009)
James Morone (Political Science)
Michael Paradiso (Neuroscience)
Jill Pipher, (Mathematics)
Arnold Weinstein (Comparative Literature)