University of Rochester


November 16, 1995


The plan, announced on November 16, 1995, is a five-year program to strengthen and refocus the University of Rochester's core programs in arts and sciences and engineering. Key elements are a new curriculum for undergraduates, more selectivity in both undergraduate and graduate admissions, more merit aid for top students, and new investments in library and computer/networking resources and in campus facilities. The student body (undergraduate and graduate) will be significantly smaller, enrollment will be suspended in four doctoral programs, and the size of the faculty will decrease somewhat through attrition. The academic setting will be more residential and intimate in character.

The new curriculum

Starting next fall, the College will offer a unique -- and simplified -- system that gives each undergraduate an academic "home" in all three areas of the liberal arts -- the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences/engineering. While imposing no additional course requirements, the new program ensures a deeper grounding across the liberal arts than do traditional "distribution requirements." "This is an innovative way of making sure that our students learn how to learn -- not simply during their college careers, but for the rest of their lives," President Jackson said.

Already in place this year are Quest courses, which, in small-course settings, introduce first-year students to the ways in which faculty members (and college students) think about and conduct their research and inquiry.

Size adjustments

The freshman class will be limited to 900 students starting next fall, ultimately leading to a 20 percent reduction in the size of the undergraduate student body. (The typical freshman class size in recent years has ranged from 1,100 to 1,150.) The graduate student body will be resized by 25 percent, from over 1,100 to under 850, over the next five years through controlled admissions and the suspension of enrollments in four doctoral programs [Note: New mathematics Ph.D. program subsequently announced]. The faculty size will be reduced by 10 percent from its current 343 to 306 over five years, through normal attrition and voluntary early- retirement programs only.

Class sizes

Through a combination of resizing over the next five years, and the addition of undergraduate courses and sections in various departments, the average undergraduate class size will shrink from 35 to fewer than 30 students and the student- teacher ratio will improve.

Residential opportunities

All students will have the opportunity to live on campus if they so choose, strengthening the sense of intellectual and social community with their fellow students. Currently, campus housing accommodates three-quarters of the undergraduate population.

Merit aid

In addition to existing scholarships, the University will offer new merit scholarships ranging from $5,000 to $10,000 to academically outstanding students.

Facilities/technology investments

A gradual increase in expenditures, eventually reaching $1.8 million additionally per year, will be invested in River Campus facilities -- for example, classroom improvement and modernization, and general improvement of campus appearance -- as well as in library computing, networking, and related technological resources.

Graduate programs

Most of the College's continuing graduate programs are in the top third among their disciplines; with competitive graduate stipends and other new resources devoted to the programs, the College has set the goal of moving all of them into the top quarter.

Central administrative cost control

More than $5 million annually is expected to be saved by the end of five years in central administrative services (i.e., personnel, purchasing, facilities, telecommunications, mail, computing, and transportation) through an intensive process of "quality review" by staff managers and campus users.


The College enrolls most of the University's undergraduates (4,500) as well as 1,100 graduate students in the liberal arts, sciences, and engineering. (Other schools of the University include the Eastman School of Music, School of Medicine and Dentistry, School of Nursing, William E. Simon Graduate School of Business Administration, and Margaret Warner Graduate School of Education and Human Development.)

The College includes the departments in the arts and sciences, and in engineering:

  • Humanities:
    • Art and Art History
    • English*
    • Mod. Languages (Comp. Lit.**)
    • Music
    • Philosophy*
    • Religion and Classics
  • Social Sciences:
    • Anthropology
    • Clinical and Social Sciences in Psychology*
    • Economics*
    • History*
    • Linguistics**
    • Political Science*
  • Sciences:
    • Biology*
    • Brain and Cognitive Sciences*
    • Chemistry*
    • Computer Science*
    • Earth and Environmental Sciences*
    • Mathematics**
    • Physics and Astronomy*
    • Statistics*
  • Engineering:
    • Chemical Engineering**
    • Electrical Engineering*
    • Mechanical Engineering*
    • Optics*
    All of the above departments will continue to offer bachelor's degree programs.

  • Interdepartmental programs
    • Visual and Cultural Studies*
    • Materials Science*
*Now offer and will retain Ph.D. programs
**Ph.D. enrollments suspended (four departments)[Note: New Ph.D. program subsequently announced]

Current undergraduate enrollment (full-time): 4,500
Eventual undergraduate enrollment (full-time): 3,600
Current graduate student enrollment (full-time): 1,100
Eventual graduate student enrollment (full-time): 850
Current faculty size (tenure-track): 343
Eventual faculty size (tenure-track): 306