Preparing students for tomorrow’s economy

Brown offers a wide range of programs that help both undergraduate and graduate students acquire the knowledge, skills and ways of thinking they will need to succeed in tomorrow’s economy – and that are needed for the rebuilding of Rhode Island’s economy as well. Below we highlight just a few examples.

A new School of Engineering

Engineering has been taught at Brown since the mid-nineteenth century, and the University has a long tradition of successfully integrating the study of engineering into a broader liberal education. In 2011 the University reached an important milestone in the program’s ongoing development, with the formal creation of a new School of Engineering. The new school seeks “to address the challenges of an increasingly complex world in which advanced technology – and society’s understanding of it – are critically important.”

Establishment of the School marks a major commitment by the University to strengthening its engineering program – through, for example, the hiring of thirty new faculty members over several years. As of the fall of 2011, 391 undergraduate and graduate students were enrolled in Engineering. As discussed in Part Four, Brown’s engineering students and graduates have become major contributors to innovation and entrepreneurship in Rhode Island.

Connecting students to Rhode Island’s life sciences industries

Since it started in the 1990’s, the University’s Biomedical Engineering program has become the most popular concentration among undergraduate engineers at Brown.  The program takes advantage of Brown’s strengths in engineering and in medicine, and offers students at all levels a wide range of research opportunities, both within the University and in collaboration with its affiliated hospitals.

Engaging students in the study of business and entrepreneurship

Started in 2005 as Commerce, Entrepreneurship and Organizations, the C.V. Starr Program in Business, Entrepreneurship and Organizations (BEO) engages students in the study of – and prepares them for careers in – business and entrepreneurship. Since 2005 the program has become one of the most popular undergraduate concentrations at Brown.  (Additional detail on BEO is provided in Part Four of the report)

Developing Rhode Island’s physician workforce

As the only medical school in Rhode Island, the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University is a leading educator of the state’s physician workforce. In the fall of 2011, 417 students were enrolled in Alpert Medical School; and in 2011-2012 the School awarded 78 MD degrees. Based on data obtained from the Rhode Island Department of Health, we estimate about 7 percent of the state’s licensed physicians earned their medical degree from the Alpert Medical School as of 2009.

Medical education at Brown reached an important milestone in August 2011 with the opening of the Alpert Medical School’s new Medical Education Building at 222 Richmond Street in the Jewelry District – the first building designed and developed specifically for the Medical School since it was founded in 1972.  The additional space provided by the 134,000 square-foot building will allow the Alpert Medical School to increase enrollment to about 480 by 2015, and will provide a greatly improved learning environment for medical students.   

The Alpert Medical School also oversees graduate medical education – the training of residents and fellows – at its affiliated teaching hospitals. In the fall of 2011, 725 residents and fellows were enrolled in the Graduate Medical Education program and assigned to affiliated Rhode Island hospitals – about 75 percent of them to Rhode Island Hospital.

Brown University also contributes to the continuing education of medical professionals in Rhode Island. In 2011, the University offered 51 continuing medical education programs. About 59 percent of the 2,894 participants in these programs lived in Rhode Island.

Protecting the public’s health

Brown’s Public Health Program – the only program of its kind in Rhode Island – prepares students to address some of the most critical health issues facing communities throughout Rhode Island and the U.S., and around the world, including alcohol abuse and addiction, obesity, diabetes, aging, health care delivery and end-of-life care.  The program offers undergraduate concentrations in community health and biostatistics, master’s degrees in public health and biostatistics; and doctoral programs in epidemiology, biostatistics and health services research.

As a result of the program’s continued growth and the success of its research enterprise, in 2013 the University’s Board of Trustees is expected to approve a proposal to create a new School of Public Health at Brown.

Preparing executives to succeed in the global economy

In the spring of 2011, Brown and Instituto Empresa (IE), one of Europe’s leading business schools, enrolled the first students in a new international executive MBA program. The fifteen-month program combines on-campus courses in Providence and in Madrid with an on-line component; and combines IE’s strengths in business education with Brown faculty members’ understanding of the economic, historical, political, environmental and cultural context within which global business is transacted. Twenty-three students completed the program and were awarded the MBA degree in June 2012.