U.A.P.C. Plans To Release Revised Draft

By Sean Smith
Staff Writer

The University Academic Planning Council plans to release a revised draft of its recommendations for Boston College's long-range academic goals shortly, in preparation for its final report to University President J. Donald Monan, SJ.

The revised document will be the result of a series of UAPC meetings this month to discuss reaction to the council's preliminary report, which it released in late January. Following distribution of that report, the University community was given a period of five weeks in which to respond. These comments provided the basis for discussion as the UAPC considered changes to its original draft report, said UAPC Co-chair Robert Newton.

"We had over 200 pages of responses, from individuals and groups," said Newton, the associate academic vice president. "Our impression is that the University community took the draft report very seriously. Clearly, it stimulated a lot of thoughtful reactions."

"The volume and character of the responses we received is a very positive sign," said UAPC Co-chair Michael Smyer, associate vice president for research and dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. "They reflect a broad range of disciplines and interests across the University. Each member of the UAPC received a package containing the complete set of comments, so everyone has had a chance to reflect on them. They've seen the thoroughness with which people have addressed issues and the frequency with which certain subjects appear."

In its original report, which followed 18 months of work, the 24-member council of administrators and faculty proposed five major goals and strategies to achieve each goal. It advocated strengthening support for professional and graduate education and affirming research as central to the University's mission. The recommendations also emphasized the University's Jesuit liberal education tradition; stressed rigorous intellectual development and personal formation as characteristic of its undergraduate education; and proposed diversity, technology and internationalization as distinctive features of the Boston College environment.

While the University community's response to the draft covered all aspects of the document, including its style and presentation, Newton said the largest number of comments involved the sections on research, undergraduate education and the University's Jesuit and Catholic identity.

During its recent meetings, the UAPC addressed concerns that an emphasis on research might lead to a "two-tier" faculty or create unrealistic standards for promotion or tenure. Newton said the UAPC report envisions a strong emphasis on both research and teaching in hiring, promotion and reward systems, and members discussed ways of clarifying that in the revised document.

The comments regarding the UAPC's statements on the Jesuit-Catholic tradition at Boston College indicated a wide range of views, Newton said. The council considered suggestions to make the report express the Jesuit and Catholic ethos more effectively, while at the same time sufficiently communicating the importance of inclusion of other religious traditions or viewpoints, he said.

"The vigorous discussion of BC's Jesuit and Catholic identity we are seeing on campus as a result of the UAPC initiative is really positive," Newton said. "This is a conversation of great importance to the University and the report will reflect this."

Newton said the council hopes to develop a revised document quickly and to provide opportunity for response from the University community prior to submitting its final report to the president.

"We have been impressed by the time and effort people have taken in reflecting on the draft report," Newton said. "As a council, we are committed to closely examining the observations about our recommendations. In the end, we are confident it will result in a much stronger plan for Boston College's next decade."

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