Building on Strength
By Joel Seligman
For many students, faculty, and alumni, the College of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering is the academic heart of our University. The extraordinary caliber of our faculty in the College, the exceptional quality of our students who study there, and the path-setting research and scholarship centered in the College have done much to establish the high national and international regard with which the University of Rochester is held.
Under the outstanding leadership of Peter Lennie, the Robert L. and Mary L. Sproull Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering, the College is laying out an exciting vision for the next decade and beyond. After review by the University Board’s Strategic Planning Advisory Committee, the College’s plan will be presented to the full board in March 2008.
Peter, along with his leadership team of Richard Feldman, dean of the College, Kevin Parker, dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Joanna Olmsted, dean of Arts and Sciences, and Paul Slattery, dean of Research and Graduate Studies, led a “ground-up” process in which faculty, staff, and students developed an ambitious plan built around powerful initiatives that will strengthen and enlarge our academic programs in several key domains:
The World Beyond the United States. Several component initiatives, including a new major in international relations, new programs focused on areas of the world, and on global issues, and expanded study abroad programs, will ensure that our students have the global perspective they need to be leaders in the 21st century.
Signature Programs that Connect the Humanities to Science and Engineering. The College is in a position to capitalize on unique University resources such as the Eastman School, and community resources, such as the George Eastman House, to develop signature research programs and curricular offerings. Proposed initiatives in music and sound; images and light; and archeology, architecture, and engineering will provide distinctive opportunities for faculty and students.
Science and Engineering Partnerships. The plans envision four new science initiatives that build on current strengths in the sciences, some of which also develop stronger partnerships with the School of Medicine and Dentistry: computational and physical biology; genomics; nanoscience and medicine; and alternative energy.
Pre-Professional Education. Many undergraduates are eager to leverage their rigorous liberal arts education with a curriculum that will help them launch their professional careers. New programs in economics and business strategies (in partnership with the Simon School) and in multiple areas of public health (partnering with the School of Medicine and Dentistry) will result in new opportunities for our students.
Professional Education. The plan calls for expanding the College’s offerings of programs (certificates and master’s degrees) that are needed for professional qualification in diverse fields.
To provide for the new programs, the College’s faculty would grow from about 320 today to about 400, over a period of 10 years. This 25 percent growth in faculty would be roughly matched by growth in the number of undergraduates from about 4,000 to about 5,000, and PhD students from about 900 to about 1,100. Even with such growth, the College would remain one of the smallest among private research universities in the 62-member Association of American Universities, allowing us to retain the intimate character that we all value.