Johns Hopkins University
Offering comprehensive undergraduate education as well as graduate training, the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences is the direct descendant of the original Johns Hopkins University. Today it is the core institution of the Johns Hopkins complex of schools, centers, and institutes. A century and a quarter after the University was established, the Krieger School still follows the guiding principles of Hopkins' visionary first president, Daniel Coit Gilman, whose educational precepts keep the Krieger School not just up to date but actually at the forefront of knowledge.
The plan that Gilman devised and began to carry out in 1876 established Johns Hopkins as the nation's first research university - that is, an institution in which every faculty member was actively engaged in original investigations. Today, each of the School's approximately 275 faculty members is expected to spend as much time on research as on teaching. As a result, inquiry and the creation of new knowledge are the engine and fuel that drive both instruction and learning in the School for its approximately 2800 undergraduates.
Though innovative, Gilman's approach also fully valued the traditional disciplines. In patterning the new institution after the European model to which he had been exposed as a student, Gilman preserved the elements of a classical education. Following that ideal, in its 23 departments, the School gives balanced attention to the disciplines that fall into the general categories of the humanities, the natural sciences, and the social sciences.
The research university concept mandates that the substance of the diverse disciplines always be under scrutiny and question, and that the boundaries delimiting academic fields be porous and under constant outward pressure. The result is a community charged with intellectual energy. Academic rigor and independent thought are the School's hallmarks. Notwithstanding its small size, the School is on a par with outstanding U.S. universities that are many times its size and far richer in resources. Unfortunately, while Hopkins' undergraduate programs are among the most distinguished academically, not all aspects of the undergraduate experience reflect the highest possible quality. As part of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) reaccreditation process and the University-wide examination of undergraduate education, the Krieger School has identified a number of areas for enhancement. Simply put, we want to do superbly what President Gilman advocated when he set forth the challenge to "prepare for the service of society a class of students who will be wise, thoughtful, progressive guides in whatever department of work or thought they may be engaged."
The Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Sciences is, historically and at present, the intellectual heart of the Johns Hopkins University. The Krieger School is a leading research and educational institution with an abiding commitment to excellence in the humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences. In the broadest sense, our mission is discovery: the creation of new knowledge through research and scholarship, and education of students, graduate and undergraduate, through immersion in this process. The School's research mission is fundamental to its educational objectives and infuses its undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral programs with unique learning opportunities.
More than a century ago, Johns Hopkins created the first research university in the United States with the opening of the School of Arts and Sciences. Then, as now, the union of research and teaching at all levels provides a distinctive learning environment and the synergy that enables the School to compete with institutions possessing significantly greater resources. Large enough to provide a broad education, yet small enough for focused individual work, the School builds upon the strength and diversity of faculty and student interests, achieving its success through rigorous selection of faculty and students, and the carefully and creatively focused use of its resources. Throughout its history, the School has successfully pursued a strategy of selective excellence. In the coming decades, the Krieger School must continue to identify and pursue those scholarly and scientific areas in which we are positioned for international leadership, and we must continue to foster an international emphasis in our programs, students, intellectual agenda, and impact. Scholarly and scientific expertise need respect neither national boundaries nor traditional disciplinary ones.
The Krieger School's unique character is based on this commitment: to choose carefully what is worth pursuing and then to do so without compromise. In its most basic form, our mission is to preserve and nourish that character and thereby to instill in our students the highest standards of intellectual achievement and an enduring commitment to self-initiated learning and discovery.
The statement of mission and vision for undergraduate education proposed by the Commission on Undergraduate Education is very much in keeping with the objectives of the Krieger School. Fundamentally, we expect students to become engaged global citizens; to exhibit critical thinking skills; and to be prepared for and drawn to a lifetime of learning. We think we provide superb preparation for advanced study and professional training and that our graduates are supported in these aspirations at a high level.
With respect to more specific elements of the CUE statement, effective writing and communication is certainly a shared goal. It is addressed by the curricular requirement in writing, the emphasis given to writing across the curriculum, and the proposal for departmental consideration of opportunities that would especially cultivate oral presentation skills. Each year the undergraduate neuroscience honor society sponsors a research symposium which is open to students from all disciplines. This opportunity for students to present their research findings is but one example of creative approaches to this challenge. Our distribution requirements ensure educational breadth across the broad disciplines of learning. As will be noted further, experience with the process of knowledge creation and understanding of the research enterprise is perhaps one of the most distinctive features of the Hopkins undergraduate experience.
While there is no one formula for cultivating the appreciation for diversity that is endorsed in the undergraduate mission statement, Hopkins offers many curricular opportunities to explore diverse cultures in a variety of disciplines and inter- disciplinary programs and also a significant number of events outside the classroom that celebrate diversity. These include an annual CultureFest, an international affairs symposium, a diversity leadership awards ceremony, and numerous presentations by cultural groups. Planning is beginning for the major campus- wide event proposed by CUE. Cultural sensitivity also is emphasized by the signals sent by administrators, as, for example, in an annual letter from the Chaplain to faculty calling attention to the religious holidays celebrated by many faiths.
Finally, Hopkins provides numerous opportunities to develop the habits of community service and civic engagement, both in Baltimore and elsewhere through internships or our semester in Washington. From the time they arrive on campus and have a Day of Service as part of the formal orientation week, students are actively encouraged "to give back" and the statistics on student volunteerism bear this out.
Undergraduate Arts and Sciences and Engineering students are admitted to the Johns Hopkins University through a selective and individualized process that includes both a binding Early Decision and regular admission plan. The criteria include academic strengths as well as the potential to contribute to University life and to take full advantage of the educational opportunities offered here. Academic strength is judged by the high school record of achievement in a rigorous program of study, by standardized test scores, and by evidence of intellectual curiosity and engagement as reflected in essays and teacher evaluations. Personal qualities are important as well, and here the achievements outside the classroom, as evidenced by the student's self-reported activities and essays, factor heavily. Each application is read twice and rated by both subjective and objective measures according to a scale developed to reflect qualities along four dimensions. The senior admissions team conducts a final review of the freshman class. As in any selective process, there are strong cases to be made on behalf of many more applicants who are qualified to do the work than can be accommodated in the spaces available. A premium is placed on students who show evidence of high motivation and a willingness to take charge of their educations.
Over the past ten years, the growth in the strength of the Arts and Sciences and Engineering admissions applicant pool is striking. Applications for this year's entering class totaled 10,022, up 30 percent over the 7695 applicants in 1994. More competitive financial aid packages contributed to an improved yield rate of 35 percent (up from 28 percent ten years ago). The University's admit rate, therefore, declined from 44 percent to 30 percent, a very positive development in terms of the selectivity of the freshman class. The specific data for Krieger School freshman are similarly impressive: 7964 applications; an admit rate of 24 percent; and a yield rate of 37 percent. While the admit rate compares reasonably well to the COFHE cohort of universities, the yield rate still lags the strongest of our peer group. A major admissions challenge is to have Hopkins become the first choice for many more students. We expect that the attention to the undergraduate experience and increased scholarship endowments will, over the next five year period, be reflected in a higher rate of matriculation among students who are admitted.
The Class of 2007 numbers 1050 (Arts and Sciences and Engineering combined) and is the most diverse group of students ever to enroll at Johns Hopkins. There is great geographic diversity with 47 states and 22 countries represented among the four percent of the entering class that has foreign citizenship and an additional four percent of international students who are permanent residents. Increasing the numbers of international students in the applicant pool has been a priority, and significant gains are being made. Almost half of the class comes from the mid-Atlantic region, while 17 percent is from the West Coast, and roughly 10 percent each from New England, the South, and the Midwest.
The best news is a record percentage of underrepresented minority students and of women. In the past several years, a priority concern has been identifying the reasons for, and eliminating the causes of, diminishing interest among women at each phase of the admissions process. Over half of the 678 students enrolling in the Krieger School are women, and nearly one in five is a member of an underrepresented minority group, with nine percent being African-American, eight percent Hispanic, and one percent Native American. About 20 percent are Asian American. These percentages represent significant improvement over several prior years when our underrepresented minority numbers plummeted. The School has made improvement in this area a high priority and has invested additional resources in staff and funding for minority recruitment programs; the results are showing. It is even more important, however, to ensure that the students who come here are successful, and we have underway analyses of the retention rates and the experience of minority students so that we will more fully understand whether the support being provided is adequate and effective.
The class of 2007 also reflects a higher level of diversity of intellectual interests, as called for by CUE, with about a quarter having a primary interest in one of the humanities, another 29 percent in the social sciences, and about 42 percent in the natural sciences. Even greater intellectual diversity is desired to utilize more effectively faculty resources and to enhance the intellectual atmosphere. Achieving a better balance among academic interests is a complex problem, since some of our strongest applicants are in the areas in which we want to control enrollment in order to more equitably spread the teaching load and to ensure the quality of the programs that have given us a very high profile among prospective students. A particular challenge for us is constraining the number of students with medical school aspirations in our entering class. In many ways, they are the core of our recruitment strength, but too much of a good thing puts undue pressure on the service teaching of many departments and has a negative effect on other students who feel less valued than our science majors.
The academic preparation of Krieger freshmen is outstanding with a mean unweighted GPA of 3.64 and a median GPA of 3.7. Combined SAT scores average 1361, with a median of 1375. Although many fewer high schools now report rank, 76 percent of Krieger freshmen were in the top 10 percent of their high school class. The rigor of students' high school programs is impressive. Over two thirds of the enrolling first-year students took five or more Advanced Placement classes.
The strengthened admissions position in the Krieger School is attributable to substantive improvements in the quality of the undergraduate experience; to a more effective recruitment strategy, including enhanced publications, communications, and "customer service"; and to more competitive financial aid programs. Hopkins had been lagging its peers in the attractiveness of its need-based grant programs, but a major gift has made possible lowered loan expectations and increased flexibility in assessing need and in packaging need-based grant awards. Further, the University has been able to create two highly competitive need-based awards, the Bloomberg Scholarships and Trustee Scholarships. These provide especially attractive packages for approximately 140 students in each class. Need- based programs are supplemented by several important merit-based scholarships including approximately 20 Hodson Trust Scholarships valued at $21,500 per year. Another major gift has allowed the creation of the unique Woodrow Wilson Undergraduate Fellowship Program that now supports almost 100 students who are particularly motivated to pursue independent research. The fellowship provides up to $10,000 to entering students in support of research expenses, including travel, equipment, and the use of archives or laboratories.
Despite a much strengthened admissions posture, challenges in student recruitment remain. Investments in the human, physical, and technological infrastructure necessary to support a first- rate admissions and financial aid operation are essential to meeting these challenges. Planning is underway for a Visitor's Center, and should the project proceed, it would provide new quarters for the Admissions Office and allow decompression of the Financial Aid Office in the vacated space. The development of the full capacity of the SCT Matrix integrated student information system is key to having the data management and communications capability on which sophisticated recruitment and financial services programs depend. Equally important is attracting and retaining the highest quality professional and support staff. This will require reviewing the position grade levels of all the staff and improving professional development opportunities as well as working conditions. The Office of Undergraduate Admissions has had less experienced staff (both in the selective admissions field and at Hopkins itself) and more turnover than is healthy for a competitive program that puts a premium on personal attention in the admissions process and gives admissions officers a substantive decision-making role. The staff in Student Financial Services is stable with significant education and experience as aid administrators. Working conditions are very cramped, however, and position grading issues also need to be resolved.
A strong admissions program also requires the support of other key constituencies, and progress has been made on addressing these needs. Faculty involvement has been strengthened with the establishment of a Faculty Committee on Admissions. More faculty contact with admitted students has been facilitated through new communications with prospective students and additional yield events. This will be extremely important in supporting admissions efforts to recruit more students in the humanities. Alumni involvement also is important as a way to enhance outreach efforts to prospective students and to strengthen alumni ties to the University. The effort to involve more alumni has been a collaboration between the Office of Undergraduate Admissions and the Alumni Association, and it has now been institutionalized by the creation of an associate director position, co-funded by the alumni and admissions offices. A new handbook for alumni volunteers also has been produced, and more training programs have been developed to improve the effectiveness of alumni as they interview students, represent Hopkins at admissions fairs, and host various recruitment events. The Office of Student Financial Services also is strong in its outreach, with on-going efforts to educate guidance counselors and other community and constituent groups as to the availability of assistance.
Other primary challenges to a strong admissions position are financial. The competitiveness of our financial aid packages cannot be maintained without major increases in scholarship endowment. Compared to our peers, Hopkins is very tuition dependent for its financial aid budget. About 24 cents of every tuition dollar is devoted to undergraduate need-based student financial aid. To keep this discount rate from growing, we are forced to make difficult choices. We do not have the luxury enjoyed by better endowed peer institutions that can state unequivocal commitment to the joint principles of need-blind admission and meeting the full need of all students. While Johns Hopkins generally has operated according to those policies for about 95 percent of the class, it has always been necessary to protect the core budget by the qualification "to the extent the budget will allow." There is discomfort with this approach philosophically and practically. In practical terms, this means students who file late, or who demonstrate needs greater than the budget can support, may be denied assistance for at least two, if not for all four, years.
With respect to more formal aspects of Standard 8, all admissions and financial aid policies and procedures are stated clearly in admissions and student financial services publications and are available on the web. The policy on transfer credit appears in the academic manual, the academic catalog, and on the website for the Office of Academic Advising. The admissions website includes a question and answer section related to transfer credits. The web also provides interactive tools to support the financial aid process, such as a calculator for families to determine their need and assess their eligibility for financial assistance. Through online access, students can check for required forms, file their applications, verify the status of their applications, and sign for loans.
The Admissions Office engages in a variety of assessment activities to ascertain the effectiveness of its recruitment programs and student selection. Aid and admissions administrators also carefully monitor national trends and peer data from COFHE members. Obviously, the growth in quantity and quality of applicants is a key measure of program effectiveness as is increased yield of desirable students. A study of the correlation between admissions criteria and academic performance also was undertaken two years ago, and the results confirmed that the admissions rating criteria are predictive of academic success.
A full array of student services supports undergraduate students in the Krieger and Whiting Schools in realizing their academic and personal goals. The experienced and well-trained professionals who staff these service areas adhere to an educationally sound philosophy of student development and see their role as contributing to the overall goal of helping to prepare students to be informed and engaged global citizens. Over the past few years, as part of the effort to enhance the quality of student life, changes have been made in the organizational structure for the delivery and oversight of these services. A major objective has been to effect stronger coordination among the offices. A Dean for Student Life is responsible for those areas of student affairs that include student development and programming; student involvement; residential life; judicial affairs; orientation; athletics; student volunteerism; and student mental and physical health and wellness. A Dean of Academic and Enrollment Services is responsible for academic, career, and preprofessional advising; registration and records; admissions and financial aid; and international student services. Both these individuals report to a Vice Dean for Undergraduate Education who oversees these areas and ensures that they support the educational missions of both the Krieger and the Whiting Schools. It is a primary goal of the schools to better integrate life inside and outside the classroom.
The services provided to students are fully described in the undergraduate catalog, a freshman academic handbook, an undergraduate academic manual, a student handbook called The Compendium, numerous individual brochures, and websites that have been recently upgraded to provide fuller descriptions and additional interactive links. Parents also have been given complete descriptions of policies governing students and of the programs and services offered as well as advice on how they can support their sons' and daughters' educational development in a newly created parent handbook called Advising Hopkins Students.
Since the range of student support and the various services are described fully elsewhere, the following comments summarize only highlights and evaluate strengths and weaknesses of key areas. Last spring, in an initiative parallel to the Commission on Undergraduate Education, a Homewood Student Affairs Task Force was convened to develop a broad vision and long-range plan for student life and academic and enrollment services offices that would support the overall thrust of CUE recommendations. The Task Force reaffirmed a statement of mission and expressed a commitment to help every student have a successful experience that includes physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being, as well as the opportunity to build skills in problem-solving, hone critical thinking and communication skills, develop leadership potential, grow in appreciation for the importance of civility, and engage in public service. The Task Force also outlined a plan for regular assessment and reporting on activities and accomplishments in support of this mission. The plan calls for continuous improvement through benchmarking student services against accepted best practices. A template has been developed for an annual report to document outcomes, the effectiveness of structure and processes, the health of the organization, and goals that would advance the program in the coming year. Already in place is an assessment initiative through which the directors of each of the student life areas conduct a self-assessment of their own efforts against specified standards in each professional area.
A general observation about student support services is in order. Like many other things at Johns Hopkins, the approach to campus activities has been very decentralized. Programming is largely student driven and implemented; such student entrepreneurship is very much in keeping with the Hopkins culture. Moreover, student ownership of social life has resulted in leadership development and the creation of stimulating events that serve particular organizations and interests very well. While activities abound, there are, however, fewer school traditions and events that unite the student body. These require staff support and infrastructure to relieve students of the burden of execution as well as planning complicated programs. We are enhancing staff support in programming major attractions and campus-wide celebrations. A similar issue exists with new student orientation. Unique among universities, the orientation of new students and their parents is planned and operated largely by students. While this approach has many merits, not the least of which is that the program is judged to respond well to the concerns of those it serves, it is not clear that the delegation is effective in all respects. Some modifications may be in order.
Among the most important of the student support services is advising. Five different Hopkins offices provide formal advising services, and many more offer counsel on a variety of issues. Over the past several years, major attention and resources have been committed to enhance these individual services and to develop greater coordination among the advising services so that the system is more seamless. The newly created Council of Homewood Advisors works to ensure that wherever a student enters the system, he or she is channeled appropriately. The Council also is a vehicle for comprehensive attention to and discussion of advising issues. For example, a Sophomore Task Force has been established to review the sophomore experience and to design programs to alleviate the academic and social aspects of the infamous "sophomore slump."
The Office of Academic Advising has as its primary charge promoting intellectual exploration and providing counsel and encouragement to students so that they can find courses, majors, and other educational experiences that suit their curiosity, interests, and talents. Freshmen are given special attention by academic advisors in this office which also coordinates the faculty advising system. After the first year, students see a faculty advisor every semester. Study abroad advising is provided here also, as are workshops, tutors, and study consultants. The office, under the leadership of an Assistant Dean, has developed enhanced processes for identifying, developing, and presenting outstanding undergraduate students for major fellowship programs. This year these efforts were rewarded with a Rhodes Scholar, two Marshall Scholars, and a Mitchell Scholar. Academic Advising is dedicated to raising the level of satisfaction with advising. Toward that end, it has developed an instrument to assess student satisfaction with the advising system and with advisors. It also has supported educational offerings by creating a pilot Freshman Study Group Program designed to develop a supportive learning community of students taking a cluster of three related courses. Each study group is supported by a study consultant. Because Academic Advising also has formal responsibility for monitoring the academic status of students and ensuring that degree requirements are met by all degree candidates, a number of important records functions devolve upon the office. It has been resourceful in developing clear communications about academic policies and procedures, both in print and online, and in creating degree audit instruments so that students can fully understand degree requirements and assess their progress.
Preprofessional Advising serves the needs of significant numbers of Hopkins students who are headed for professional school programs in health, law, or business. An additional staff member has been added to the staff to support the demand for advising. The Office is reviewing its programs to determine the most effective interface with academic and career advising services and how best to provide advice through a combination of publications, technology (e.g., websites and software programs), general information programs, and individual advising sessions in order to give the highest level of service and support. The Office also oversees several programs that allow students to gain experience and exposure to the professions.
The Career Center offers students guidance through all facets of the career development process, including self-awareness, career exploration, career decision-making, and career choice. The Center offers the traditional range of programs and individual counseling and is developing additional career programming for freshman and sophomore students. Another major effort is to improve marketing and on campus programming with employers, especially in support of job placement interests of engineering students. Technology has made possible many additional tools to support career planning and job placement, and the Career Center is aggressive in identifying and implementing appropriate software and web-based programs. One important new tool is FOCUS, a career and educational planning system that students may access on the web. Students are encouraged to think about the stages of career exploration throughout their years at Hopkins, and, toward that end, a four year planning guide is available online. Students express high levels of interest in internships, and the Career Center actively supports experiential learning and career exploration through such opportunities. Networking is facilitated through an alumni partnership known as HopkinsNet.
The needs of international students (and faculty) are supported by an Office of International Student and Scholar Services that, like its analogs at other universities, is struggling to respond to the challenges of new tracking and monitoring regulations and using SEVIS, while offering the best guidance to individuals and departments whose programs are affected by the changed climate for international exchange.
Many of the Student Development Programs (Student Involvement, Greek Life, Multicultural Student Affairs, and Homewood Arts Programs) are administered through offices reporting to one of the Associate Deans for Student Life. Programs are thus reinforcing, and student leaders of groups are able to do "one stop shopping" as they schedule rooms, get budget information, and consult staff about leadership development programs. The Office of Student Involvement is particularly challenged to support a growing and diverse number of student groups and organizations (at least 250 at last count). The strategy of enlisting additional faculty and staff as advisors to individual groups had the added benefit of fostering greater student-faculty interaction. The lack of adequate meeting and programming space presents an on-going problem for which the Charles Commons amenity space may provide some relief.
The staffing for Multicultural Student Affairs and the effectiveness of current programs is now being evaluated to determine how best to support multicultural student groups. Currently, the leadership for that office is provided by an Associate Dean, who, although fully committed to the program, has other demands on his time. It is interesting that while many undergraduate students perceive that there is disproportionate support for individual cultural and ethnic groups, members of those groups do not share this perception.
About 26 percent of male undergraduates belong to ten fraternal organizations, and 21 percent of women students belong to one of the four sororities supported by an Office of Greek Life. Greek organizations do not dominate the social life at Hopkins, nor do they seem to be the source of status distinctions that compromise student interaction. In fact, given the inability to offer housing to upperclassmen, the Greek organizations probably provide a valuable social "glue." Hopkins has not, however, had a coherent approach to Greek life and its relationship to other extracurricular and residential programs. A Greek Task Force has been appointed to address the value and health of the Greek system and such issues as 1) whether sophomores who live in recognized Greek houses should continue to be given an exemption from the two year housing requirement; 2) what kinds of facilities should support Greek organizations; and 3) how to manage the difficult community relations that off campus Greek housing creates for the Baltimore neighborhoods near the campus.
The opening of the Mattin Center in the spring 2001 has given Hopkins a wonderful facility to support Homewood Arts Programs. A black box theater, art studios, music practice rooms, a dance studio, a Digital Media Center, darkrooms, and multipurpose rooms for music rehearsals, etc., have enhanced both extracurricular and academic programs in the arts. The Center is heavily used by a range of student groups. With growing interest in student arts organizations and growing interest in formal instruction through a series of Arts Workshop courses, however, there are competing demands for the use of the space. In the absence of departments of studio or performing arts, alternative mechanisms need to be developed for proper faculty oversight of arts courses; these are now under review.
One of the strongest aspects of campus life for undergraduates is the breadth and depth of volunteer service encompassing such programs as tutoring and mentoring, Habitat for Humanity, Performing Arts Outreach, and health education. The Center for Social Concern and Volunteer Services oversees more than 50 such student- run service groups, several of which have sustained decades-long involvement with local schools and community organizations. The Center also serves as a home to two very large, student- initiated education organizations: Teach Baltimore and the Center for Summer Learning. It is estimated that about 70 percent of undergraduates participate in at least one volunteer activity during their Hopkins tenure. Perhaps the largest challenge in the area of community service is to decide which of the many concerns Hopkins undergraduates can best address and then to match the serious community needs with available resources. There is the further challenge of integrating the learning that occurs in many of these volunteer activities into educational programs.
Students on the Homewood campus have access to an exceptionally well-trained and experienced group of health professionals to support their physical and emotional needs. The Student Health and Wellness Center offers both medical treatment and health education and is staffed to provide flexible and responsive service. There is no charge for services. An on-call system offers 24-hour coverage, although students would like more weekend walk-in hours. A new part-time nutritionist helps students who are struggling with eating disorders. By welcoming input through a Student Advisory Committee and feedback from students in the form of exit surveys, the Center has established a reputation of being a genuinely helpful service. The biggest challenge faced by the Center is the limitation of its facilities, which are too small and too outmoded to meet student demand. New residence halls in the freshman quadrangle may provide the opportunity to address this important need.
The Counseling Center also has strong leadership and highly talented staff members who provide 24-hour coverage to meet the growing demand for student mental health services. Staff capacity to offer timely individual counseling as well as group programs and outreach is stretched. Center professionals also serve as consultants to administrators and faculty members with concerns about individual students. The Center collaborates effectively with other departments, forming teams to address difficult cases (e.g., representatives of the Dean of Students' Office, the student health service, and residential life when dealing with a student with a serious eating disorder). Indicative of the professional quality of the program, the Center recently received full accreditation from the American Psychological Association for its internship program. Hopkins can thereby refresh the staff by attracting the best counseling interns from across the country. A member of the Center's staff also helps train and oversee a group of students who, through "A Place to Talk" in the residence halls, listen to other students and help them with the strains of college life.
Residential Life constitutes a critical area of student life programs that is the focus of special attention in response to the Commission on Undergraduate Education's recommendations. While acknowledging the importance of the residential experience as a primary vehicle for student education and personal development, Hopkins has been constrained by the lack of residential facilities adequate to house all students who wish to live on campus. There is no doubt that this lack hurts the ability to develop and sustain a strong sense of community. Over the past year, a plan has been developed to improve residential life by focusing on two initiatives: the completion of a freshman quadrangle on the Homewood campus and the creation of an upper-class housing precinct across Charles Street. Both initiatives respond to CUE recommendations. In particular, significant time and effort has gone into planning for the Charles Village Project. When complete in summer 2006, the Charles Commons will not only increase the housing stock for upperclassmen by approximately 615 beds, but also will provide additional amenity space to serve the needs of many of the upperclassmen living in the surrounding neighborhoods. The planning effort for the freshman housing initiative is just beginning, but it is hoped that all freshmen may be able to share a common experience in a freshman quadrangle possibly as early as the fall 2007. This would permit major programming enhancements and would foster a sense of class unity and loyalty. In addition to the strengthened sense of community and school spirit, more students would be able to reap the educational rewards of this particular part of college life.
The residential staff operates according to a strong training and development model and includes both full-time professionals and upper-class students. One of the greatest challenges in residential life is balancing the programming needs with the obligations to operate a fiscally responsible set of housing and dining auxiliary services, the latter now under a separate management structure. While a spirit of goodwill has characterized the interactions between the relevant offices, extra effort and coordination is necessary to ensure that the programmatic vision drives the decision-making. Administrative attention needs to be directed to making the planning process for facilities additions or improvements less cumbersome.
The lack of a traditional student union means that many social programming functions are decentralized. As new facilities for residential life come online, a more comprehensive approach to extra-curricular programming will be developed to create a "virtual" student union, even if a single center in the classic sense is not possible. In particular, space in the Charles Commons will be available to meet social needs that cannot now be accommodated with available campus facilities. The Dean of Student Life is considering redefining a staff position so that there can be better integration and coordination of campus activities across the range of facilities that support student groups and functions.
Johns Hopkins students who are eager to develop their religious or spiritual life have the support of an active Campus Ministries program. Religious activities find a home in the Bunting- Meyerhoff Interfaith Center which accommodates both formal worship and informal gatherings. Under the guidance of a Chaplain and a volunteer clergy representing more than 20 faith traditions, a broad range of services and programming are offered to facilitate spiritual development and to promote religious tolerance and social awareness.
Disciplinary matters occupy the attention of student life administrators at Hopkins, as elsewhere. One of the Associate Deans of Student Life handles Judicial Affairs and ensures that students are acquainted with the provisions of the Undergraduate Student Conduct Code as well as the procedures by which matters will be adjudicated by the Student Conduct Board, the Dean of Student Life, the Interfraternity Council, the Student Activities Commission, or the Undergraduate Academic Ethics Board, according to the authority of these entities as outlined in the section on standards and policies in The Compendium. The various aspects of the system seem to work well with the most challenging issues involving complaints about student behavior off campus.
Athletics and Recreation programs at Johns Hopkins are a salutary adjunct to the undergraduate experience. Intramural activities attract a significant following (1146 participants were registered last year), and 27 club sports engaged more than 1300 students in everything from cricket to Ultimate Frisbee to Wing Chun Kung Fu. There are, for example, 89 intramural basketball teams, 52 indoor soccer teams, and 48 volleyball teams. Outdoor programming has evolved over the past years, and a staff member has recently been hired to support experiential education courses that encourage ethical leadership, teamwork, and character development. As an NCAA Division III institution, with only lacrosse a Division I provision, we consider the intercollegiate athletic program to be well-run with a full appreciation of the balance between a demanding academic environment and a rigorous competition schedule. The men's lacrosse team has won 42 national championships, and during the 2002-03 academic year, among the 26 men's and women's intercollegiate athletic teams, there were six conference championships in football, men's and women's soccer, women's basketball, men's fencing, and baseball. Nine programs appeared in the relevant NCAA tournaments, and the Hopkins' lacrosse team played in the national championship game.
A recent faculty review of the admission of students who wish to play competitive sports has confirmed the faculty's satisfaction that the notion of "student athlete" is far from an oxymoron at Hopkins. All admissions decisions are vested in the admissions office, and the input of coaches and the athletic director is channeled properly. Moreover, the academic performance of student athletes is strong, as evidenced by Hopkins placing 14th in the NACDA Director's Cup. Graduation rates are slightly higher for student athletes, and their grade point averages are above a 3.0, only slightly lower (roughly a tenth of a point) than all other students. A major recent challenge in athletics was external: the NCAA proposal to bar the Division III schools currently operating under an exemption from continuing to provide athletic scholarships in a single Division I sport. This would have forced a decision by Johns Hopkins and other colleges in a similar situation to move their entire sports programs to a Division I status or to attempt to be competitive in the absence of scholarships. Fortunately, the current system has been retained. It is important to seek endowment support for lacrosse scholarships now funded through the financial aid budget; this will help relieve the strain to meet the financial need of students.
A second challenge relates to the adequacy of facilities. The White Athletic Center has provided facilities for varsity athletes and a swimming pool for recreational use. The addition of the Ralph S. O'Connor Recreation Center in January 2002 has made an enormous difference by providing students and faculty with basketball, volleyball, squash, and racquetball courts, a rock-climbing wall, a weight room, and fitness training and an aerobics facility. It is open 112 hours per week during the fall and spring semesters and serves an average of 1600 people daily. More than 30 group fitness classes are offered each week. Even with this important addition, the facilities are not adequate for the size of the current student body and for the number of varsity sports that are played. While a long-term plan for facilities expansion and improvement exists, funding has not been identified.
The tradition of faculty governance is very firmly established at Johns Hopkins University and is truly part of the fabric of the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences. The approval of academic programs and academic policies is the responsibility of the faculty as are the very critical decisions about who can be invested with the status of a Hopkins faculty member. A twelve member Academic Council, elected from the Schools of Arts and Sciences and Engineering, serves as the primary mechanism for faculty governance and for ensuring ownership of academic decisions, including faculty appointments, promotion, and tenure. Working through several committees, including a Curriculum Committee, the faculty voice is definitive in matters relating to curricular requirements and school-wide academic policies. Within the departments, the faculty bears the primary responsibility for the content and rigor of academic majors, the development of individual courses, and the academic advising of students who have declared majors.
The faculty also are the foundation of the Krieger School in the sense that their research and scholarly excellence are indispensable to every aspect of the School's mission. For many years, the School has been able to maintain a level of achievement and visibility disproportionate to its small size by pursuing strategies of selective excellence in all disciplines. To maintain this leadership position, every faculty appointment must contribute fundamentally and essentially to the intellectual growth and academic prosperity of the School. This means that all faculty, in addition to maintaining research excellence, are expected to contribute directly to building and guiding the intellectual community of the School and to enriching the educational experience of our students.
The most important mechanism for ensuring that all faculty contribute at the highest level to the intellectual community involves rigorous procedures for appointment, promotion and tenure. The School is in the process of a thorough re- examination of this process, including the rank at which tenure is granted, the criteria for promotion, and the procedures that govern the review of candidates. Oversight of this process is the primary obligation of the Academic Council, according to published policies to ensure that all candidates for appointment show evidence of distinction in research and scholarship (or, in the case of junior faculty, show promise to attain it) and a commitment to teaching excellence. The Krieger School has historically not granted tenure below the rank of Professor under most circumstances, and the process of promotion to this rank thus can take as long as ten years from the initial appointment as Assistant Professor. This extended time frame makes Johns Hopkins virtually unique among American universities. While this system may have some advantages both for the School and for the faculty member, who need not be hurried in building the research record on which his or her promotion ultimately will be judged, the system also makes it difficult to attract and retain excellent faculty at the Associate Professor level and potentially has a negative impact on faculty diversity. For these reasons, the Committee reviewing the current process has recommended that tenure be awarded to Associate Professors; these and other proposals related to enhancing the review process are being vetted by appropriate faculty bodies.
It should be noted that the Academic Council reviews and approves the appointment of anyone who teaches in the Krieger School, including those who hold part-time, adjunct, and lecturer appointments. A recent study of academic titles and the criteria that pertain thereto has been completed by the Academic Council which has codified the scheme. While regular rank faculty do the bulk of the teaching at Johns Hopkins University, the Dean's Office has begun a review of instruction done by faculty not affiliated with academic departments, as in the case of the Language Teaching Center and the Arts Center, with the objective of ensuring proper academic oversight of such activities.
Once appointed, every faculty member must report annually on her or his scholarship/research, teaching, and service activities during the preceding year. Written guidelines specify the areas to be addressed, and each faculty member's contribution is discussed by the Dean and appropriate Department Chair before salary determinations are made. Teaching quality is discussed as part of this review, although the mechanisms for obtaining evaluation of teaching are not as strong, nor employed as systematically, as is desired, despite the fact that all faculty are asked to participate. An examination of the student course evaluation process is underway, with a better instrument and more effective procedures anticipated during the spring. As part of a broader conversation about the weight of teaching in the tenure and promotion process, the Academic Council also is currently discussing how best to measure teaching effectiveness and the role that student evaluation and departmental assessment should play. Consistent with the CUE recommendation, more must be done to recognize and celebrate teaching excellence, and the Dean's Office is currently considering ways to promote greater attention to the importance of this activity.
Equally important in the development of faculty is the institutional support provided for the advancement of junior faculty in the Krieger School. The Dean has strengthened the review process for junior faculty so that Department Chairs must now annually review every untenured junior faculty member and communicate the results of that review in writing, citing areas of opportunity for professional growth.
In addition to the regular rank faculty, graduate students contribute in significant ways to the School's educational mission. We are fortunate to attract superb graduate students. Their involvement in the teaching program has mutual benefit. As a research university, Hopkins views providing experience in the art of teaching as an essential aspect of the educational program for its graduate students. At present, much of the responsibility for training Teaching Assistants rests with individual departments, with the result that the quality of mentorship in this important area varies among the departments. The School is now examining how best to provide some central services that would enhance the training graduate students receive. This past fall a new edition of a teaching manual for graduate students was produced, and a revamped TA orientation program was conducted. An expanded charge is being entertained for the Center for Educational Resources in order that additional programs to address the needs of graduate students might be developed and more support for pedagogy provided to faculty. The "Buzzword Bistro" series has proved a popular means of introducing both faculty and Teaching Assistants to innovative teaching tools and strategies as well as assessment of student learning. A program of Dean's Teaching Fellowships provides to a select group of advanced graduate students a valuable pedagogical experience, while enhancing the quality of the curriculum and increasing the number of small classes offered to undergraduates. Thanks to a generous donor, graduate students also are eligible to apply to a fund for small grants to assist their professional development through conference attendance and support for research trips.
The Krieger School's 2001 strategic plan called for modest and targeted growth (about 10 to 15 percent) in the faculty over the coming decade. Due to a combination of new endowed chairs, more effective management of faculty turnover, and some opportunistic hiring in support of diversity, the faculty has experienced much of the increase that was imagined over the next several years. While this is good news for our teaching and research programs, supporting a larger faculty has added to budget stress. The full-time tenure and tenure track faculty of the Krieger School now number 273. Of these, 76 percent hold tenure, virtually all at the rank of Professor. All of the School's faculty holding regular appointments teach, with the teaching commitment balanced between graduate and undergraduate instruction. The Krieger School also has a limited number of research faculty whose primary engagement is with specific research programs, funded by external sources that direct the allocation of their time. While these faculty contribute in important ways to individual instruction in the laboratory, they are not formally involved in the undergraduate teaching program.
Whether measured by citations per faculty member, scholarly recognition as reflected in professional prizes and fellowships, or research dollars (which have grown by 45 percent over the past five years, to a total of over 40 million dollars), the scholarly and research productivity of the Hopkins' faculty is extraordinary and stands as one of the distinguishing features of this University and, in particular, its School of Arts and Sciences. Faculty are attracted to Hopkins because the University values (and expects) that its faculty will advance the frontiers of knowledge. Students are similarly attracted to Hopkins with the expectation that they will study with those scholars and researchers who are actively engaged in the process of knowledge creation and that they will have the opportunity themselves to be active participants in that process. And, as will be discussed, students have multiple opportunities to do so. Within the Krieger School, the potential conflict of "teaching versus research" is resolved by openly embracing the notion that a large part of teaching takes place through research. Compared to students at peer institutions, a particularly large portion of the Hopkins student body (about two thirds) participates in substantial research experiences.
Because of the small size of many Hopkins departments, the scholarly reputation of the University depends on every faculty member achieving world-class distinction. Small size also means that the stresses of service commitments on faculty are perhaps larger than at other institutions where there is a larger pool of faculty available to engage in the myriad responsibilities that attend to faculty, e.g., committee service both within the department and the school, assistance with student and faculty recruitment, involvement in alumni and community programs, etc. Although most faculty share the institutional commitment to a renewed emphasis on undergraduate education, many express understandable concern about how to manage the trade-offs involved with the finite resource of their time. The School is challenged to consider how economies of scale might be achieved in an environment of small departments and to determine whether any reallocations are possible, including whether there are activities now being done by faculty that might be better handled in another manner.
While there is much to celebrate about the Krieger faculty, taken as a whole, faculty excellence is under pressure in three related areas. First, notwithstanding the overall growth and a number of recent outstanding additions to the faculty, marginal salaries in some areas, especially in the natural and social sciences, continue to threaten our ability to attract and retain the finest scholars, scientists, and educators. In the long run there is no higher priority for the School than the recruitment and retention of our most distinguished scholars. Beginning in January 2001, the Dean initiated a process to improve the competitiveness of faculty salaries by allocating additional resources for merit increases in all departments. Budget constraints have now hampered our plan to continue systematic increases across the board. Nonetheless, the School has been able to be proactive with a number of crucial faculty with the result that retention has improved. The School's strategy is to resist the temptation to raise salaries to a competitive level only when an external offer must be matched to attract or retain an individual; such a practice is destabilizing, demoralizing, and often more expensive than a comprehensive approach.
An identified priority of the current fund-raising campaign is to secure additional endowed chairs that offer an important competitive edge in attracting outstanding faculty members, especially if the endowments come with research budgets to support graduate students or post-doctoral fellows. It is equally important for the School to recognize and reward excellence within the standing faculty on a regular and routine basis. This recognition may be through endowed chairs as well as formal awards for research and teaching excellence, matching funds, enhanced sabbatical time or funds, post-doctoral support, or other means. The creation of Krieger-Eisenhower Chairs recognizes the totality of faculty contributions, lifting up the model of faculty who combine superb scholarship with teaching excellence and university citizenship of the highest order. It is significant that the most recent group appointed to these most prestigious chairs are current faculty members rather than externally recruited individuals.
A second pressure stems from the struggle to maintain critical mass and vitality of our research enterprise, and, here again, small size presents challenges. In many if not most academic disciplines, there is a trend toward ever increasing specialization. To pursue a strategy of selective excellence in this environment, departments in the Krieger School have responded largely by narrowing their focus to a few carefully chosen areas in which they have excelled. Relative to the size of peer institutions and to growth in enrollments, we have lost ground in faculty size; we fear that many departments have hit the limit of smallness as a virtue. In many fields, proper training at the graduate level demands a certain level of breadth, including a standard graduate core curriculum, and attracting high quality graduate students often requires diversity in the available research opportunities. At the same time, these departments are particularly stressed by large and increasing teaching commitments, both to service courses and to undergraduate majors. For these reasons, emphasis has been placed on faculty growth targeted carefully to new opportunities for excellence. Interdepartmental connections are being promoted in the social sciences. The core natural sciences and mathematics, which have not kept pace with growth in the disciplines or at peer institutions, must be expanded to provide the basis for new research as well as the interdisciplinary programs on which selective excellence depends. The strategy for the humanities is to maintain excellence and build on strength by making appointments that will have high impact across departments. To maintain the School's commitment to the liberal arts, it is important that the humanities retain its size proportional to the other areas.
Third, highly productive faculty require outstanding research facilities, modern laboratories, excellent libraries, and graduate students and post-doctoral fellows of the highest caliber. Improvement is needed in each of these areas if the Krieger School is to continue to succeed in its research and teaching missions as we have in the past. Investments in faculty must be matched by investments in research and teaching resources. The state of the infrastructure is a central issue: crucial goals include the transformation of Gilman Hall (the home of the humanities departments) into a state-of-the-art facility to nurture scholarship across the humanities disciplines, the upgrading of science laboratories (a process given an enormous boost with the opening of a new chemistry building), improvements in the teaching environment by renovating classrooms to allow wider use of instructional technologies, and the creation of new office space for faculty and graduate students, many of whom lack appropriate venues to meet with their students. Planning also is underway for a possible library expansion that would make collections more accessible, facilitate the use of library resources in our teaching programs, and provide better study space for students, including space that could be dedicated to the effective practice of group study.
While the intellectual quality of the Krieger faculty is a source of pride even in the face of these challenges, another vital challenge and serious concern involves the diversity of the faculty. Especially with respect to African-Americans, minorities are vastly underrepresented. Despite several recent key appointments, the School's track record on attracting and retaining Black scholars and researchers, compared to our peers, has been poor. Hispanics are similarly underrepresented, and while a number of senior faculty women have been appointed in the past few years, these gains have been balanced by several key losses.
With the active leadership of the Dean, the support of University officers, and the shared commitment of the faculty itself, the School is determined to enhance faculty diversity in significant measure. The challenge is particularly difficult given the overall strategy of selective excellence on which the institution's academic excellence is premised. Because the resource base does not permit full coverage of disciplines, specific subfields of disciplines have been targeted as areas in which to achieve distinction. In the absence of flexibility in fields, it is harder to take advantage of targets of opportunity. One strategic initiative that has implications for faculty diversity is the creation of a Center for Africana Studies. In addition to the exciting educational opportunities it presents for students, it is hoped that the program will serve also to attract Black scholars to Johns Hopkins.
Other steps have been taken to increase diversity and ensure equity, including a revamping of the faculty search procedures so that, before interviews begin, the Dean reviews all the short lists of faculty candidates to ensure diversity of the applicant pool. Recommendations made by a faculty committee on the status of women also have been implemented. A regular review of faculty salary equity is conducted to ensure that there are no differences attributable to factors other than measures of status and merit. The School hopes to take advantage of "Presidential Professorships" that have been created at the University-level to allow opportunistic hiring when positions are not currently available. The School also will continue to be actively engaged with the University's Diversity Leadership Council.
The School of Arts and Sciences offers 38 majors and a wide variety of courses within them. The common theme is academic rigor and the encouragement of independent research and creative thinking. Students find that they have many academic options from which to choose. They also find that, because a very favorable student-faculty ratio (9:1) has been maintained, most upper-level courses are small. In fact, 57 percent of undergraduate classes have fewer than 20 students. And, it is not unusual for students in the humanities and social sciences to have seminars with fewer than ten students. In addition to close contact with faculty, students also have access to many state-of-the-art research facilities and abundant opportunities to participate in the process of discovery that is an institutional hallmark.
All of the major disciplines of learning in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences are represented by the course offerings at Hopkins, and because many Hopkins departments are among the most outstanding nationally, students have extraordinary opportunities to study with faculty at the forefront of their fields. The catalog describes in full each of the departments and its course offerings as well as the degree requirements for each program, but it is worth highlighting the breadth of the educational programs and some of the most distinctive. In the humanities, courses are offered in the traditional areas of English and American literature, history, philosophy, and modern foreign languages, but also in classical Latin and Greek, history of art, creative writing, comparative literature, Near Eastern studies, film and media studies, and the history of science and technology. An area major is a possibility for students who have developed interdisciplinary interests. An East Asian Studies major offers students a balance of coursework in language (at least six semesters of Chinese or Japanese) and area studies, including history, comparative literature, and political thought. A major in Africana Studies has recently been introduced to tap current offerings in a number of humanities and social science departments and to cultivate additional faculty interest.
Art history students benefit from outstanding museum collections at the Baltimore Museum of Art and the Walters Art Museum as well as the many extraordinary resources of Washington, D.C. A new Humanities Seminar has been developed through the Washington Center and allows students the opportunity to spend a semester studying and interning in cultural institutions in our nation's capital. The Writing Seminars Program at Hopkins is world renown, and many students laud the superior teaching and close association formed with writers and poets who serve as the faculty for this program. Among other notable opportunities in the humanities is a program that allows undergraduate students to participate in an archeological dig in Egypt with a faculty member who recently curated a major exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution. A small but impressive archaeological museum is located in Gilman Hall and allows students to view various antiquities collected in the Near East. It contains an excellent study collection of Egyptian artifacts and Palestinian pottery.
Many students interested in the humanities find additional opportunities by taking courses at the Peabody Conservatory. The Krieger School is working on establishing closer ties between the two schools so that more students can benefit from the access to a world-class conservatory faculty. Arts and Science students may take a minor in music, and each year a number of students also graduate with double degrees. The outstanding educational breadth of Hopkins' programs is supplemented by a cross-registration agreement among the area colleges and universities that allows Hopkins undergraduates to take one course per semester at other Baltimore institutions such as Loyola University, Goucher College, Towson University, Morgan State University, the University of Maryland at Baltimore County, and the Maryland Institute College of Art. The Academic Cooperation Program has been especially supportive of the interests of students who wish to supplement their programs with courses in the fine arts, including art, dance, and theater.
The Krieger School offers a broad array of social science programs, including anthropology, economics, political science, and sociology. One of the largest majors is International Studies, a multidisciplinary program emphasizing political science, history, economics, and foreign language that was one of the first such programs in the country. Students also have the opportunity to take advantage of the proximity to Washington, D.C. by participating in the Atchison Public Service Fellowship, a new residential program based at Hopkins' Washington Center. There they study institutions of government and engage in firsthand observations through internship programs. Students also benefit from the University's Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) whose faculty offer an introduction to urban policy that includes both a seminar and an internship. Courses in several departments (political science, sociology, anthropology, economics, and geography and environmental engineering) support students with an interest in urban studies and take advantage of Hopkins' location in Baltimore, a city with all the cultural opportunities and challenges that characterize today's urban areas. Opportunities abound to integrate academic work with involvement in community service through a very active Center for Social Concern.
A large number of undergraduate students are attracted to Johns Hopkins because of the strength of its science and quantitative studies programs, and indeed, there is much to offer at the undergraduate level with coursework in biology, biophysics, chemistry, cognitive science, earth and planetary science, mathematics, physics and astronomy, and psychological and brain sciences, as well as the opportunity for complementary coursework in the engineering departments of the Whiting School. Undergraduates receive strong encouragement to undertake research under the direction of faculty members. It is not unusual for students to be co-authors on scientific papers or to participate in poster sessions at professional meetings. Physics majors, for example, have the opportunity to work in state-of- the-art facilities and to participate in research projects at the forefront of condensed matter physics, high energy physics, and astronomy, including a digital sky survey which is mapping the universe. The fact that the NASA Space Telescope Science Institute is located on campus offers other additional benefits to students with focused interests. Majors in Earth and Planetary Science have notable opportunities to become engaged in fieldwork.
One of the most popular majors is neuroscience, a rigorous preparation for advanced study in a doctoral program or medical school. Students have the option of a four year B.A. program or a five year combined B.A./M.S. program that also includes a yearlong intensive laboratory experience. The program offers both a broad overview of the field as well as more advanced training and research opportunities in one of three areas of concentration: cellular and molecular neuroscience, systems neuroscience, and cognitive neuroscience. All undergraduate neuroscience majors (approximately 150 at present) are required to complete two semesters of independent research. Many of them fulfill this in laboratories at the School of Medicine that has for nearly 20 years housed one of the top-ranked graduate neuroscience departments in the country. Thus, this program facilitates interactions between the undergraduates at Homewood and the world-class faculty at the School of Medicine. For students interested in studying the interactions between behavior and biology, a specialized natural sciences area major combining coursework in fundamental areas of biology and neuroscience with psychology, anthropology, and sociology is offered through the David S. Olton Behavioral Biology Program. Another of Hopkins' distinctive programs is Public Health Studies. In light of the opportunities that are created by having as one of Hopkins' academic divisions the largest and arguably most distinguished School of Public Health in the country, it is not surprising that it is the third largest major.
In addition to programs in modern foreign languages (French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and German) and classical Greek, Latin, and modern and biblical Hebrew offered through Arts and Sciences departments, a Language Teaching Center provides instruction in Chinese and Japanese and less commonly taught languages such as Arabic, Hindi, Kiswahili, Korean, and Persian. A cooperative program with Goucher College also facilitates a full range of courses in Russian language and literature.
Study abroad is actively encouraged, and students may opt for Hopkins administered programs or one of many other approved programs organized by other universities. Some programs are offered at Hopkins' international centers, including a villa in Florence, Italy and a center in Nanjing, China which houses a summer language program and a graduate level program in Chinese and American Studies. As a member of the Berlin Consortium, Hopkins also is able to offer students the opportunity to study for a semester or a year at the Free University of Berlin. During a typical year, over a hundred students engage in foreign study in dozens of countries around the world. Administratively there are few barriers to study abroad, but the large number of science and engineering majors means that, compared to peer universities, a smaller percentage of Hopkins students ordinarily participate. There is less flexibility in course selection for science majors, and the sequential nature of much of the coursework makes it difficult for science students who want to complete programs in time for medical or graduate school application to have the freedom to spend a semester away from the campus. The development of innovative international programs that would accommodate the needs of these particular students is being pursued.
In addition to regular semester courses, students at the Homewood campus can participate in an optional three week Intersession term in January during which a variety of credit and noncredit courses and activities are offered. No extra tuition is charged for these short courses. Students are encouraged to use this time to explore new interests and to enjoy the opportunity to concentrate on one subject. Departments have been encouraged to offer Intersession courses with their full-time faculty, but generally this period is viewed as a very valuable opportunity for concentrated periods in the laboratory or for research-related travel, and it is difficult to entice regular faculty to participate. Moreover, it probably is a better utilization of faculty resources to have full-time faculty teaching during the regular academic semesters when more students can take advantage of the resource. A number of programs have been developed that include foreign travel for students, and while these are quite popular, students and administrators are concerned that the extra cost associated with these programs makes them inaccessible for some students. Despite the success of many specific courses, students are, overall, not satisfied with the range of Intersession course offerings. After some internal assessment, we have decided to orient the program more toward coursework that is innovative and to encourage wider use of adjunct faculty and graduate students to develop courses that would supplement the regular curricular offerings. In light of the shortness of the Intersession period and the limited student contact hours, the amount of course credit that can be earned during Intersession is under review.
Students in the Krieger School are eligible to receive credit for work done elsewhere according to policies outlined in the Undergraduate Academic Manual. The general guidelines are that students may transfer up to 12 credits from courses taken at other institutions, whether before or after matriculation, excluding credit earned through Advanced Placement examinations, International Baccalaureate courses, and other foreign certificate courses, and those taken through approved study abroad programs.
All new academic programs must be reviewed and approved by the Curriculum Committee, a committee of four faculty and four student members that operates under the aegis of the Academic Council. In addition to required review of new majors and minors, the Committee looks periodically at the effectiveness of other curricular requirements. For example, the Committee has just heard a report on the writing program and has looked recently at several issues related to the designation of individual courses for purposes of the distribution requirement. The Curriculum Committee also monitors the success of initiatives designed to enrich the curriculum, such as the proposal to develop additional freshman courses, especially seminars. The development of an online Spanish language course, the first such course in the Krieger School, has raised the issue of the appropriate use of non-traditional delivery modes, and the Committee intends to pursue consideration of the circumstances in which online courses may be offered.
Approximately every five years, each academic department is reviewed by the Academic Council. The review includes consideration of both undergraduate and graduate programs, as well as the scholarly standing and morale of the department. While this mechanism has been a useful form of assessment, and one that has helped departments to establish an agenda of improvement that can be monitored by the Dean's Office, it has not focused with specificity on the full array of issues that relate to the quality of the undergraduate program. Thus, beginning in the spring 2004, the Krieger School has plans to initiate a review of undergraduate major programs, consistent with the recommendation of the Commission on Undergraduate Education. The template that is being developed will ask the departments, under the leadership of their Directors of Undergraduate Studies, to consider a series of questions that addresses not only program goals, but also appropriate measures of success in terms of learning outcomes. Datasets are being developed to provide departments with information about major requirements and notable programs at other universities as supplemental contextual materials. Since their official designation in the fall 2003, Directors of Undergraduate Studies (many of whom were previously departmental coordinators) have been at work following up on a series of recommendations to strengthen support for undergraduate majors made during the past academic year. We see many signs of initiative in the form of new course offerings and better rationalized course sequences, the development of study abroad programs, planning for laboratory enhancements, and programming that facilitates faculty-student interaction.
The intertwining of research and teaching at the undergraduate level is one of the distinctive features of a Hopkins education, and no discussion of a Hopkins education would be complete without a discussion of research opportunities for students, just as no discussion of the Hopkins faculty would be complete without acknowledgment of their primary engagement in discovery. Because of our small size, students are encouraged to participate actively in scientific and scholarly research through partnerships with faculty and graduate students in specific projects and by interacting with scholars in small classes where the critical thinking associated with the research process can be most effectively conveyed. Intellectual partnerships with students and engaged faculty mentors are essential to the success of this "hand-tooled" model of undergraduate education. Students should leave Hopkins having been exposed to the methods and virtues of disciplined inquiry and with an abiding commitment to self-initiated learning and discovery.
Students have multiple opportunities for independent study and research, whether for credit or experience. The Woodrow Wilson Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program mentioned earlier in the discussion of financial aid, pairs students with a senior faculty mentor. Students pursue their research throughout their tenure at Hopkins, either in a series of projects in one or disparate fields, or they choose to focus on a single long-term project in one field. The list of the projects undertaken by currently enrolled Woodrow Wilson Fellows is particularly impressive. Another related opportunity to complete original research is supported through Provost's Undergraduate Research Awards. Each year, approximately 50 students are awarded up to $2,500 for projects to be completed over the course of a summer or a semester. The projects are presented in a year-end poster session with presentations that are remarkable in their scope and sophistication. Undergraduate neuroscience students also have initiated a research symposium where students in various disciplines make formal presentations at a daylong symposium dedicated to their original work. Most of these research experiences are the result of student-initiated contacts with faculty whose research is of interest. Students frequently describe being struck by the receptivity of faculty to their involvement in their laboratories. The School of Medicine and the School of Public Health are incalculable assets to Hopkins undergraduates in the quality and quantity of research experience and mentorship that they afford.
While there are these signs of vigor and many indications of excellence in undergraduate affairs, sizable growth in the undergraduate student body at Homewood in the last fifteen years, along with minimal growth in the size of the faculty, has unfortunately placed the School at risk of losing an essential dimension of "hand-tooled education." In several disciplines, especially in the natural and social sciences, class size has been increasing, service teaching is crowding out upper-level seminars, and an increasing number of majors makes it ever more difficult for departments to manage. Laboratory courses in particular have suffered and raise issues of diminished intellectual value and possibly safety considerations. All of this necessarily implies fewer faculty-student interactions of the sort that makes Hopkins distinctive. The problem is exacerbated further by the changing composition of the undergraduate student body. For a variety of reasons, including growth in the number of engineering students, the burden has been increasingly borne by the natural and social sciences. At the same time, the humanities, despite its exceptional quality, have many fewer students and majors. Whereas growth in the size of the faculty will surely help to ease this burden, particularly in the natural and social sciences, so too must the School attract more high quality students interested in the humanities and eschew further growth in enrollments among over- represented majors. The Admissions Office is undertaking vigorous recruitment programs aimed at attracting humanists.
Turning from program to infrastructure, the Krieger School's academic programs are supported by appropriate library and other learning resources, facilities, state-of-the-art equipment, and professional staff. With over 2.5 million volumes, the Sheridan Libraries are among the top research libraries in the country, and the other components of the Hopkins library system (the Welch Medical Library, the Mason Library, the Friedheim Music Library and several special collections) provide outstanding additional resources for further exploration of focused interests. All components have not only extensive traditional collections of monographs and periodicals, but also expansive collections of electronic resources. Because of the heavy research orientation of the faculty, not only are the scholarly library resources well-developed, but so, too, are the resources for scientific experimentation. Students thus have access to the same equipment as researchers, such as scanning electron microscopes and the new nuclear magnetic resonance instrumentation. In addition, departments such as Physics and Astronomy and Biology offer undergraduate students specially designed advanced laboratory courses focused on state-of-the-art research equipment that is often shared with departmental research faculty.
The Krieger School provides substantial technological support for its undergraduate programs, although there is no shortage of interest in, or of need for, additional resources. Generally, the School provides a number of department specific computer facilities, a major Computer Laboratory, as well as several smaller computing clusters distributed throughout the School. In addition to the fully wired Hodson Hall classrooms, several classrooms have computer stations at each seat. Further, wireless access is available in the major public facilities and outdoor areas and in most of the larger classrooms. Programs have been developed to allow students to purchase hardware and software at competitive prices, and site licenses are available to reduce further the cost of key software.
The effective use of information technology requires not only the proper equipment, but also, equally important, adequate levels of staff support from those with appropriate expertise. A faculty member has been recently appointed Director of Information Technology for the Krieger School to ensure that faculty and students' needs for technology resources are met. A 24-hour help desk is available to students, faculty, and staff who have computer or software problems and need consultation. This resource is backed up by the expertise of HITS (Hopkins Information Technology Services.) A strategic decision to move individuals with disciplinary specialties from a central Homewood Academic Computing organization into the academic departments has had very positive consequences for the integration of technology into courses and also for the administrative efficiency of the departments. Over the past five years, the number of IT Discipline Specialists has been increased, such that all the departments and programs in the Krieger School now have coverage from one of 16 specialists who play a key role in supporting the teaching, research/scholarship, and service missions of specific departments at the program and at the end user level. Many of our science departments with the most up-to-date computing facilities, for example Physics and Biophysics, have developed creative curricula utilizing this sophisticated technology.
The Center for Educational Resources (CER) assists faculty who wish to extend their instructional impact by connecting digital technologies and innovative teaching strategies. Partnerships in art history and biology, for example, have resulted in exciting educational resources for students, including a digital slide library that helps students prepare for exams and conduct critical analyses of art works, and an interactive "voting" system that allows instructors to gauge student understanding of material. Through the Technology Fellowship program grants, additional digital course resources have been spawned.
A Digital Media Center ("where art and technology merge") provides important support for students who want to explore creative new ways of making art with emerging technologies. The Center is essentially a multi-media studio that nurtures students' creativity and allows them to work on both academic and non-academic projects, under the guidance of professional staff, including digital music and digital video specialists.
The School is supported by additional infrastructure administered by the University's central information technology organization that is responsible for maintaining the University's networks, including the wireless network. Each of the schools is represented on a variety of planning committees and information technology councils to ensure that school needs are being met by central initiatives, including the important and expensive effort to create an integrated student information system (ISIS) and an even more daunting undertaking, dubbed HopkinsOne, to provide an integrated administrative information system across the University and Health System.
While many of our facilities for advanced work are among the most sophisticated, there is reason to be much less satisfied with our general classrooms. Hodson Hall, a new classroom building, came online within the past two years and offers the kind of learning environment that we would like to provide more widely. It features high tech, multimedia "smart" classrooms; too few of our more traditional facilities are able to offer as comfortably appointed and technologically equipped surroundings. In fact, a source of faculty concern is the state of our teaching plant. A needs assessment has been conducted and a plan for upgrading teaching facilities has been developed, but funding must be identified before the necessary renovations can be begun. Depending on the economic outlook and the outcome of state budget discussions, we may be able to move forward this spring with the first phase of general classroom renovation. Among the anticipated benefits from a change in the weekly class schedule are some additional flexibility and better utilization of classroom space.
Hopkins undergraduate students enjoy a great deal of freedom in shaping their educational programs. They are expected to exercise responsibility for academic choices and to take ownership of their education. This flexibility has been a hallmark of the educational philosophy at Johns Hopkins throughout its history. But, students do not operate without framework; nor do they operate without support. In recognition of the value of a liberal education, faculty and University officials have set forth guidelines and requirements to help students distribute their learning across major fields. As noted in the Undergraduate Academic Manual, this process of formulating a coherent, yet wide-ranging course of study that both recognizes the student's gifts and encourages new interests is a process of gradual shaping and careful consultation. Faculty advisors, professional staff in the various advising offices, graduate teaching assistants, and undergraduates all contribute to the process.
First-year students are encouraged to explore widely and to make a "commitment to wander." In fact the introduction to the Freshman Academic Handbook is entitled "An invitation to explore," and the rationale for and benefits of not limiting educational choices are conveyed in written materials and in regular contacts with advisors. All first-year students are designated as "pre-majors," and not until late in the second semester are students asked to declare a major. Since it is sometimes well-intentioned family members who add to the pressure to restrict choices to those "practical" subjects, the rationale for educational breadth also is conveyed to parents through the Parents' Handbook. Because Johns Hopkins attracts, and, in fact, is a particularly good fit for students with focused interests, we do find that because of plans for advanced study, many students often become somewhat instrumental in their approach to their education and make choices based on an unnecessarily narrow view of what careers require. The antidote to this problem is not, our faculty believes, equally prescriptive direction via specific core courses assumed to be of value to all students. Rather, it is affirmation that getting an education is about making choices, and that coming to understand one's intellectual interests and how to stimulate and satisfy them requires some latitude to decide. The worksheets in the Freshman Academic Handbook and the interest inventory in the FOCUS program that is made available to students online offer tools for thinking through those choices in preparation for meeting with advisors. So, too, do the MERLIN system of online peer evaluation for undergraduate courses and the ACE Guide.
To graduate from Johns Hopkins University, students must satisfy the requirements of a major; fulfill a University writing requirement; fulfill the University distribution requirement of earning at least 30 semester credits in courses coded for areas outside the area that includes the major department (excluding courses that are prerequisites for required courses for the major); and complete additional courses needed to meet the minimum degree requirement of 120 credits. For purposes of satisfying distribution requirements, the disciplines generally are divided into clusters of academic areas: humanities, natural sciences, social and behavioral sciences, quantitative and mathematical sciences, and engineering. Individual courses are each given an area designation to assist students in selecting courses that provide intellectual breadth. Further specifications apply as follows: Math and Science majors must complete at least 18-21 credits of the required 30 credits in courses that are designated humanities or social science; Humanities and Social Science Majors must take at least 12 credits of the required 30 credits in courses designated natural science, quantitative, or engineering. These requirements are clearly described in several official publications. The main point is that the distribution requirements are simple, and they strike a balance between encouraging exploration and curbing intellectual freedom.
The Krieger School is strongly committed to fostering the development of sound writing skills, and undergraduate candidates for the B.A. are thus required to take at least four courses that are writing intensive. There are several options to satisfy this requirement. First-year students are encouraged to take a course in Expository Writing (taught through the English Department by trained instructors) that is designed to prepare students for the wide variety of writing challenges they will face during their college experience. A second option is to take any one of a number of courses designated by a "W." Among these are courses that emphasize writing in the major; these courses are taught by faculty or trained instructors who have expertise in writing and in the content area. A third alternative is to take "Introduction to Fiction and Poetry," a writing and reading course designed to introduce prospective majors to the Writing Seminars, but open also to non-majors. While the writing courses generally have been appraised favorably, a newly appointed Director of the Writing Program has been bringing creative ideas and additional rigor to the program.
There is no school-wide foreign language requirement, but the study of a foreign language is encouraged as part of the process of preparing to be an informed global citizen sensitive to the cultural differences that enrich the human experience. Many majors require the study of a foreign language and encourage students take advantage of study abroad programs; these factors contribute to healthy foreign language enrollments.
No one educational experience is designed to address the goal of information literacy. In fact, the understanding and skills necessary to find, evaluate, and apply information is arguably part of every course and every major at Johns Hopkins in that no academic paper, no essay examination, and no laboratory report could be written in the absence of knowing how to frame an argument and how to marshal evidence. This process is fundamental to demonstrating critical thinking skills. Among the most important partners in students' efforts to master primary sources of information in the library and, increasingly, through electronic sources, are the staff of the Sheridan Libraries at Johns Hopkins. They provide excellent support through an array of orientation programs for new students and discipline-specific workshops offered by 14 Resource Services Librarians who make it their business to be conversant with all the major sources of information for someone wanting to be literate in a particular field. The role of the libraries in promoting information literacy among students, faculty, and staff is important enough to warrant citing some the following examples of their activities, which included over 100 such sessions involving more than 2500 participants during the last academic year:
Discipline-specific instruction in information and library use, primarily in conjunction with the subject liaison librarian model. This instruction takes the form of individual and small group research consultations; course-related, classroom-based library instruction; orientations to the library's services, collections, and principal resources in a particular discipline; and development of online and print curricular materials to assist students and faculty in navigating and evaluating information sources and content.
Course-related instruction in the use of Special Collections, which include various types of materials that may be unfamiliar to students of the 21st century. A Hopkins class is often the first time students are introduced to medieval codices, early printed books, Papal bulls, historical manuscripts, Renaissance maps, or nineteenth century sheet music. Library instruction classes unlock the potential of primary source materials for students in undergraduate survey classes as well as graduate and undergraduate seminars. Sessions teach students both how to locate these non-traditional materials as well as how to interpret them. Librarians work with faculty members to plan the class to address the pedagogical goals they set and to draft in-class exercises or follow-up assignments to reinforce the lesson. Types of lessons include introduction to printing history and transmission of texts; analysis of the physical presentation of the information and how this affects its reception; and how to locate and interpret the texts.
Instruction in dataset manipulation and geographic information systems (GIS) for students from a variety of disciplines.
Course-related instruction in library and information use for expository writing, technical writing and writing and research methods courses.
Librarian-taught credit courses for targeted populations covering information sources and their use.
These activities take place by way of responding to a set of articulated learning objectives (depending on audience and place in the curriculum):
Understanding of the basics of information organization in the JHU libraries;
Framing a research question, identifying an information need, formulating a search strategy;
Exploring different types of information resources, e.g., primary vs. secondary sources in a given discipline; characteristics of scholarly vs. popular vs. trade publications, understanding the production of information in one's discipline (the information cycle);
Understanding concepts of information searching and retrieval that may be applied to different information resources and among different disciplines; and
Development of strategies for critically evaluating information sources and content; understanding how to incorporate evaluation methods into the information retrieval process.
The library evaluates its effectiveness in meeting these general educational goals through a number of assessment strategies, including monitoring the number of faculty who request sessions or return for sessions to support new courses; "as we go" assessment - using class exercises that explore and provide immediate hands-on experimentation and practice; post-session exchanges between students and library staff; and assessing faculty commitment to library instruction through faculty participation in individual library instruction session planning and debriefings with faculty after key assignments or papers are graded.
In support of the Commission on Undergraduate Education, a great deal of data was gathered to evaluate the quality of the undergraduate experience. Some of the data sources had been available on campus in previous years, but had not been subject to rigorous analysis, nor had the results always received the attention that was warranted. For the Krieger School especially, the CUE process served to affirm the value of serious institutional research to assess our programs and to inform decision-making about enhancements.
Data from the Admitted Student Questionnaire make clear that among students' main motivations for attending Johns Hopkins are the high academic reputation and graduate school acceptance rates. The track record of Hopkins graduates in successful application to professional school is impressive, with more than 90 percent of those who apply to medical school and 95 percent of those who apply to law school gaining admission, according to the Preprofessional Advising Office which carefully evaluates the results of professional school admissions each year. The success rate at placement in medical school, at twice the national average, is even more impressive when one considers that essentially 100 percent of Hopkins applicants to M.D./Ph.D. programs are accepted. COFHE surveys also document the fact that eighty percent of Hopkins alumni go on to earn graduate degrees within 10 years of graduation, perhaps the highest percentage of any university in the nation. For those students who want first to work, the Career Center reports that, within six months of graduation, 90 percent of new graduates looking for jobs are employed. And, equally important is the qualitative assessment of Hopkins graduates shared by professional school admissions officers and employers who continue to recruit Hopkins graduates because they are confident in their ability to succeed.
This year, data were obtained from the Association of American Medical Colleges, and an assessment was conducted of Hopkins' students GPAs and their performance on the Medical College Admissions Test compared to aggregate data from a peer cohort. The study demonstrated that Hopkins students perform well, and this, we believe, is additional evidence that the required pre- med courses are in fact meeting their goals.
At the School level, we have not systematically assessed the admissions success of those students applying to doctoral programs in each of the disciplines, but the consistent feedback from departments who do follow the progress of their majors is that their best students do very well in competitive graduate programs. As noted earlier, we certainly know that our top graduates are competitive for the most prestigious fellowships. We intend to encourage more departments to survey systematically their graduating students about their experience in the graduate school application process and, just as important, to ask the alumni of their programs how well-prepared they were for graduate study in specific fields. This is important in providing the departments with more systematic feedback about outcomes.
More careful attention is being paid to retention data and to understanding the causes of attrition. The freshman to sophomore persistence rate is very high (approximately 96 percent in the past few years), and overall graduation rates are substantially higher than the national averages. Compared to our peers, however, the four year and five year graduation rates (about 80 and 86 percent, respectively,) are somewhat lower. We are seeking to understand better the causes of this. An exit interview instrument has been drafted for use with all students withdrawing from the Krieger School to help determine the reasons for their departure. Although a differential is not uncommon, we are particularly concerned about the retention gap between African-American students and other students.
Among the most compelling outcomes data reviewed as part of the CUE study were the results of surveys of student satisfaction. Both an Enrolled Student Survey and a Senior Survey showed that the vast majority of Hopkins students were satisfied with their overall Hopkins education, but many fewer were highly satisfied than most administrators had been aware. The CUE Final Report addresses many of the areas of dissatisfaction with recommendations for improvement, and there is no need to detail the strengths and weaknesses cited therein. Before the CUE proposals even were fashioned, however, a working group of deans from the Krieger and Whiting Schools and Homewood Student Affairs was convened to assess the survey results and implement immediate action in several areas. This task force met over a period of nine months to identify "quick fixes" for the issues causing the most serious morale problems (e.g., the food), while the Commission was completing its work. Not only did the group take actions that had substantive effect, but also the process itself solidified the constituency for undergraduate education.
In addition to satisfaction data, the COFHE Senior Survey provides very helpful outcomes information about the extent to which students are involved in certain activities, e.g., there is documentation that Hopkins students indeed are engaged in the process of discovery through a variety of research experiences. Perhaps the most intriguing data are those self-reported gains in various aspects of undergraduate education, although it is not entirely clear how good a measure self-assessment is for educational gains. Overall, Hopkins students report comparable gains in most areas, but there are a few aspects where the gains lag those reported by students at peer institutions, and we plan to seek fuller understanding of these differences, some of which may be discipline-specific when we re-administer the survey this spring.
The response rate to the College Student Experiences Questionnaire was sufficient to allow a breakdown according to several of the largest majors, and these analyses were shared with several departments. COFHE is offering an alternative Enrolled Student Survey this spring, and Hopkins is planning to participate. The goal would be to have a response rate sufficient to allow us to provide additional feedback to departments. Because two thirds of the Hopkins undergraduate student body are either science majors or engineers, it is important to disaggregate the data about aspects of the academic experience.
As compelling as any quantitative data were the substantive comments written by many earnest students. This was such a rich qualitative source of students' assessment of their Hopkins experience that copies of the several hundred comments were provided for review by appropriate administrators. Recognition of the value of this resource has prompted consideration of conducting in-person exit interviews of a sample of members of each graduating class to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the Hopkins undergraduate experience. We plan to develop a set of structured questions (different from the exit survey of students who withdraw) that could be addressed to seniors in 45- minute interviews by approximately 20-25 faculty and administrators, each interviewing about 10 students. Subsequently, each interviewer would summarize the main themes and issues, and all interviewers would then gather to discuss the findings and to identify issues that should be given priority attention. Over time, this process would not only yield valuable guidance, but it also would send a strong signal to our students about the extent to which we are interested in student assessment of the Hopkins experience.
In addition to the above sources, numerous special studies have been conducted during the past few semesters as part of our effort to be more analytical about academic programs and policies as well as student learning outcomes. In the fall semester 2002, the Office of Academic Advising completed a curriculum review of distribution requirements and requirements for each of the majors at Hopkins and comparable data on general education and major requirements for a select group of peer institutions. An underlying concern is whether some of the Hopkins programs have such extensive major and related requirements that students lack sufficient flexibility beyond the major.
A number of other specific issues also have been examined. For example, a study of the grades earned in various kinds of independent study and research courses has just been completed, and the general policies governing how credit for independent exercises should be determined are scheduled for review this spring. The Office of Academic Advising also has begun collecting course syllabi. We find significant variation in their organization and effectiveness. As a matter that has traditionally (and appropriately, we believe) been the prerogative of individual faculty members, we are considering approaching this issue through the departments and their Directors of Undergraduate Studies who may want to organize a discussion of best practices in this regard. This would include a discussion of the specification of learning goals and how these may differ among the disciplines. On a related note, a syllabus insert on academic integrity has been prepared, and we will urge that it, or an appropriate variation on it, be systematically incorporated. More broadly, we are now preparing to report to the faculty on the implementation of a set of recommendations that strengthen support for academic ethics. All of these data will be factored into the reviews of undergraduate majors when they are begun this spring.
A significant amount of comparative data also has been gathered from our peer institutions to provide a context in which to evaluate our programs and policies. By way of another example, our effort to attract more humanities majors involves reviewing the distribution of students among the disciplines at peer universities and also looking into College Board data to understand the level of humanities interest among high school students.
One of the overarching objectives for the coming spring is to formulate a serious research agenda that will include a plan for survey research and special studies with an indication of which of these will be done each semester, annually, or periodically. The plan also will address the expected follow-up to the more routine reports on teaching loads, grade distributions, and course enrollments. To support these efforts, administrators and faculty now have additional resources that were not previously available, at least not at a sufficient level of sophistication to allow full utilization of institutional research for decision-making. A University Office of Institutional Research has been established to provide leadership in data-reporting and analysis and in institutional assessment and student learning outcomes. A major focus of early efforts is to build the kinds of databases that will facilitate serious institutional analysis. Further, to support enrollment and academic services, a Coordinator of Enrollment Research has been appointed for the undergraduate program. We intend to work toward creating a culture of institutional research that will allow us to be systematic in our approach to ongoing assessment.
Go to Middle States Commission on Higher Education Self-Study Report
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