$260 Million Earmarked For Academics

UAPC implementation plans announced

By Sean Smith
Staff Writer

Boston College will hire 50 additional, full-time faculty members as part of its plan to implement the University Academic Planning Council's recommendations in such areas as faculty development, student financial aid and new facilities.

The expansion of the faculty is one piece of the University's $260-million investment in Boston College's long-term academic future. Other parts of the plan include the establishment of a Center for Ignatian Spirituality to provide faculty and staff with opportunities for exploring faith and religious questions, expansion of international opportunities to include 50 percent of undergraduates, and the construction of buildings or facilities for humanities, science and law.

The plan, formally announced at Faculty Convocation yesterday, is the work of a committee chaired by University President William P. Leahy, SJ. The implementation committee was formed last year to enact the proposals of the UAPC, which conducted an 18-month study of Boston College's academic and financial picture, along with more general market trends, and recommended broad goals to guide University decision-making into the 21st century.

"The implementation plan is the outcome of a lengthy process begun three years ago," said Associate Academic Vice President Robert Newton, the committee's coordinator and co-chair of the UAPC effort. "That process involved extensive consultation and discussion throughout the University community. The past year has been devoted to analyzing what we heard and translating it into a plan of action."

Six task forces formed by the implementation committee met during the 1996-97 academic year to advise the committee on how the University should meet the UAPC goals. Their conclusions helped form the basis for many of the recommendations summarized in a publication released this week by the committee, "Advancing the Legacy: The Implementation Plan."

The $260 million, the report said, will be used to strengthen undergraduate, graduate and professional education, reaffirm Boston College's Jesuit and Catholic mission, increase research productivity, enlarge and support faculty, and improve the quality of student life. Some investments will "improve selected programs or seize special opportunities," it said, while "most incremental funding will benefit the entire University and all its programs and schools."

"Advancing the Legacy" presents the UAPC recommendations in three sections.

The first, "Teaching and Research: Faculty Initiatives," covers proposals for attracting, hiring and retaining faculty, faculty development, and the teaching quality of graduate fellows and part-time faculty.

Specific objectives include: a $5 million endowment to provide incentive grants for research; an increase in the number of faculty utilizing computing, communication and video technology to enhance instruction; a summer seminar for recently tenured faculty to promote commitment to the liberal arts and core curriculum; and improved definition and assessment of student learning outcomes.

The section calls for construction of a $32 million humanities building as part of the proposed Middle Campus Project, an $80 million science facility, and a $12.5 million Law School classroom wing already under construction. It also proposes a $4 million endowment to establish the Center for Ignatian Spirituality.

As outlined in "Teaching and Research: Programs," the University will strengthen and support programs that have achieved "superior quality and recognition" or offer "special opportunity for quality and distinction."

The section sets priorities and goals for the professional schools, for several programs in the College of Arts and Sciences - including Theology, Biology, Political Science, Philosophy, Economics, Physics and Irish Studies - and the Jesuit Institute.

For example, the UAPC report said the Carroll School of Management will achieve "top 30 quality and recognition for our MBA program," the School of Education will rank among the "first five in educational policy programs," and the Law School will be recognized as among the 20 best American law schools and as the pre-eminent Catholic-sponsored law school.

The third section, "Student-Centered Initiatives," stresses a commitment to attract and retain "the most talented and best prepared students." The report states this will be accomplished through competitive graduate financial support; "meeting the full financial need of all undergraduate students"; enlarging the number of minority graduate fellowships; reducing the overall number of graduate students and redirecting funding to "support fewer and better students"; and establishing teaching expectations for graduate students that support timely completion of their degrees.

In addition, the University will improve selected undergraduate programs through such steps as establishing a pilot cornerstone course to introduce freshmen to Boston College's intellectual, social and spiritual life; doubling participation in the undergraduate research program; and increasing internship opportunities.

The report also calls for constructing a $27 million student center and centralized computing service center - also part of the proposed Middle Campus project - a $63 million recreational and fitness sports center, renovations to Upper and Newton Campus residence halls, and conversion of Murray House to a graduate student center.

The UAPC proposal also includes initiatives aimed at enhancing students' campus life, such as establishing a Council on Student Formation to promote faculty and staff involvement in student development, creating five Christian life communities each year for the next five years, and increasing significantly the number of undergraduate and graduate students participating in retreat programs.

Copies of "Advancing the Legacy" are available through the Academic Vice President's Office.

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