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Faculty urged to challenge talented student body

(5-5-2000)An audience of more than 100 attended the May 3 Faculty Day event in Gasson 100 to hear University President William P. Leahy, SJ, and Academic Vice President and Dean of Faculties John Neuhauser report on the changing face of Boston College. The University, said Fr. Leahy and Neuhauser, continues to attract gifted students and this fall will welcome its strongest-ever freshman class.

Neuhauser reported that the 2,191 members of the class of 2004 were selected from an applicant pool of approximately 21,000. As evidence of BC's increasing attractiveness, he noted that this year 400 fewer applicants were offered admission, yet the class size is only seven less than that of a year ago. He said statistics on selectivity and yield also improved over last year.

Fr. Leahy called Boston College a "desired environment" in which to do intellectual work, and said that as the quality of students increases the University must ensure that students are being effectively challenged. He also gave updates on the state of BC's physical plant, including proposed changes to the five-year master plan that call for additional campus housing for 800 students. This will be accomplished in part by creating more rooms in the top levels of Upper Campus dormitories and moving offices out of Lower Campus residence halls following the construction of a new administrative building behind O'Neill Library.

Guest speaker University Historian Thomas H. O'Connor, who joined the faculty 50 years ago, described how the changes Boston College has experienced throughout the last century have mirrored the changes within its faculty. But with the transition to a larger, more diverse faculty that is committed to research and scholarly excellence, O'Connor said, comes the danger of "faculty fragmentation." He urged a return to the spirit of community that typified the University's faculty in previous generations.

Faculty Day also included the announcement of the 1999-2000 Distinguished Teaching, Research and Service Awards. Prof. Frank Gollop (Economics), Prof. Dayton Haskin (English) and Assoc. Prof. Cynthia Lynn Lyerly (History) won the teaching awards. Research awards were presented to Vanderslice Professor Amir Hoveyda, Prof. Marilyn Cochran-Smith (LSOE) and Assoc. Prof. John Fourkas (Chemistry), while Prof. Joellen Hawkins (SON) and Prof. Demetrius Iatridis (GSSW) were honored for service.

For more on Faculty Day, read the May 11 Boston College Chronicle.

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