A committee of high-level administrators is at work this summer laying the groundwork for implementation of the University Academic Planning Council's recommendations, which were accepted by the Board of Trustees in May.
The UAPC formally ended its 18-month study of Boston College's long-term academic mission with the release of its final report, "Advancing the Legacy: The New Millennium," which it submitted to the Board of Trustees on May 31 at a special session prior to the board's regular meeting.
After studying Boston College's academic and financial picture, along with more general market trends, the council proposed five broad goals to guide University decision-making into the 21st century.
It advocates strengthening support for professional and graduate education and affirming research as central to the University's mission. The recommendations also emphasize the University's Jesuit liberal education tradition; stress rigorous intellectual development and personal formation as characteristic of Boston College's undergraduate education; and propose diversity, technology and internationalization as distinctive features of the BC environment.
At the special Board of Trustees session, chaired by Trustee Susan M. Gianinno, four UAPC members reviewed the societal and national trends which set the context for the report's major points. University President J. Donald Monan, SJ, discussed the nature of Catholic and Jesuit identity, while Academic Vice President and Dean of Faculties William B. Neenan, SJ, addressed support for graduate students. Associate Vice President for Research and Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Michael Smyer, who co-chaired the UAPC, shared observations about the current state of research in higher education. Finally, Carroll School of Management Dean John J. Neuhauser talked about issues in undergraduate education.
Trustees had the opportunity to respond to the presentations, with most of the discussion centered on the areas concerning Jesuit and Catholic identity, and research.
UAPC Co-chairman Robert Newton, the associate academic vice president, said the Implementation Committee now will work with deans and faculty to actualize the UAPC goals. The committee includes Fr. Monan, Fr. Neenan, Executive Vice President Frank B. Campanella, Financial Vice President and Treasurer Peter C. McKenzie, Newton and Smyer.
Smyer said the University community will play a significant role in planning for the implementation.
"Administrators, faculty and staff contributed to the UAPC study through various meetings, forums and questionnaires," he explained. "Now, the next step is to move forward and take advantage of some existing groups, such as individual educational policy committees, and put together other groups to work on specific issues.
"This will enable us to link the consensus we achieved through the UAPC initiative with the resources needed to attain those goals the 'Advancing the Legacy' report has spelled out," Smyer added.
The document outlines several strategies to achieve each prescribed goal. Among the recommendations for undergraduate education, for example, are an emphasis on full-time faculty responsibility for undergraduate teaching (including the core curriculum), more effective measurement of teaching effectiveness and more explicit assessment of learning outcomes. Discussing Jesuit and Catholic identity, the UAPC said the University's residential life should integrate students' intellectual and personal lives, and promote "reverence, respect and service to one another."
Newton said the "Advancing the Legacy" document will be made available to the University community electronically and through other means over the summer [the UAPC home page can be found at /bc_org/avp/acavp/uapc/default.html]. This will help ensure better communication and awareness among schools, departments and offices as the Implementation Committee continues its work, he said.
"The UAPC process will shift in a number of areas," Newton said. "It will concentrate on designing measurable outcomes for these broad goals. The focus now will be on how to begin realizing each goal and whom to involve in that effort."
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