Planning for the Future
The environment in which we plan for the next five years is more complex, more uncertain, and potentially much more adverse than when we established our current plan five years ago. Among the key challenges are restraints on Federal spending, which will lead to low growth or decline in research expenditures, and the effects of the recession, which has left fewer families able to afford the full cost of a private education.
Our overall objective is to advance Arts, Sciences and Engineering as the heart of a major research university. To do this, we must strengthen our faculty and their research profile, invest in new faculty positions in key domains where we have an opportunity to build distinction, and increase our faculty's competitiveness in securing grants. And we must continue to strengthen our position in undergraduate education.
Our 2008 strategic plan foresaw growth of 25% through 2016, taking our faculty to 400 and our undergraduate body to ~5000, with commensurate growth in graduate programs. The plan also projected the introduction of new undergraduate degree programs, and faculty investments in new research initiatives.
Our 2008 plan has served us well. In undergraduate education we have introduced 14 new majors and have exceeded all our targets for increases in numbers and quality. The one area in which we have fallen short of our goal is faculty growth.
Plan in Progress – Undergraduate Education
Concerns about tuition costs, questions about the value of a liberal education, and perceived advantages of the merits of online instruction have fueled widespread public discussion of higher education. To help us respond to these issues, two committees were formed last summer. They recently submitted their reports. One committee was asked to recommend how we might best deploy technology, in all its modern forms, to strengthen teaching. The other committee investigated how we might develop distinctive opportunities for students to engage in research or undertake major projects, in ways that take full advantage of our faculty expertise and the residential experience the College provides. For more information, read Dean Lennie and Dean Feldman's memo to AS&E Faculty and Staff.
The recommendations contained in these reports will be discussed in the coming months in a variety of venues, including the College Curriculum Committee and the AS&E Faculty Council. To send us comments directly, click here.