Phase II - Continue to Strengthen Undergraduate Education
Enhancing undergraduate education has been a key priority of the Plan for Academic Enrichment since the plan’s inception. Significant progress has been made in virtually all areas of the undergraduate experience, from course offerings to advising, financial aid, and co-curricular programs. The fall 2008 report of the Task Force on Undergraduate Education provided a roadmap for continued improvement in the three main areas of liberal learning, advising, and teaching. By the end of the 2011-2012 academic year, all fifteen of the Task Force’s major recommendations will have been implemented.
The net addition of approximately 100 new faculty through the Plan has had a significant impact on the quality of undergraduate education by allowing us to introduce a first-year seminar program, increase the number of courses more generally, and provide more opportunities for student-faculty interaction. Moreover, the increase in the number of faculty, combined with the addition of new multidisciplinary programs, has led to greater student involvement in research.
Channeling PAE resources into financial aid has allowed Brown to be “need blind” in its admission decisions, to offer financial assistance to more international students, and to assure all students that they can afford to come to Brown regardless of their family’s financial circumstances. This aid has helped improve both the quality and quantity of the undergraduate applicant pool in recent years and puts Brown in the enviable position of selecting and enrolling an increasingly talented, diverse, and accomplished student body.
The new Phase II objectives below strengthen and expand the goals for undergraduate education established in 2004. These new objectives also provide a level of specificity and relevance based on the extensive review processes undertaken during 2007–08. The current status report is designed to capture activities related to Phase II since our last status report in October 2010.
- Develop a more robust and integrated academic advising program for Brown undergraduates, through all four years and across all disciplines and concentrations
- Support the teaching mission of the faculty by providing increased resources for curricular development and collaborative pedagogy, including resources for multidisciplinary concentrations and innovative training in the sciences
- Significantly increase the opportunities for creative, independent, and global learning experiences for students by augmenting undergraduate teaching and research awards (UTRAs) and internships
- Significantly increase the opportunities for students to interact with faculty outside the classroom through programs in the residence and dining halls and in other areas of the campus to promote a shared sense of community and to further Brown’s educational mission
- Improve support for extracurricular and co-curricular programs and activities, and strengthen the connections between those programs and the academic lives of students. Improve facilities and program support for athletics and physical education, student performances, and other student activities to enhance the experience of students involved in those activities and in the greater Brown community
- Increase the amount of regular rehabilitation and redesign of the residence halls, with the goal of maintaining a consistent cycle of major renewal. Create more and better community spaces within the residence halls for formal and informal academic programs, social gatherings, collaborative study, and recreation; and provide better support for the effective educational use of those space
- Adopt the goal of increasing the percentage of undergraduate students living on campus from roughly 80 percent to 90 percent as soon as ﬁnancing allows
- Improve financial aid packages significantly to reduce the burden on students and their families from loans and other components of the expected student and family contributions. Continue to make improvements as needed to remain competitive with peer institutions and to assure that the best students will be able to attend Brown without regard to their families’ economic circumstances