Imagining the possibilities. At the heart of the University is its academic energy, a kind of pedagogical engine room powering BU along its plotted course. Academics are where all parts of the University come together and affect each member of the community in ways big and small. That’s why the first section of the Annual Report is devoted to academic news from the past year. Keep reading...
The main goal of every great research university: ponder what might be and then make it happen.
Perhaps one of the most exciting “what if we tried this?” accomplishments of 2009–2010 came with the official start of University Honors College (UHC). Years in the making, UHC is an honors program for the highest achieving and most creative students from across all BU’s colleges. In UHC, students and faculty join to pioneer a new approach to liberal education, a combination of the arts and sciences (for example, literature, political science, biology) and the professional schools and colleges (including management, fine arts, engineering, law, medicine, and communication).
With its curricular and co-curricular design, UHC connects the resources and benefits of a leading research and teaching institution with undergraduate education. The first UHC students started this fall.
Rethinking How We Think and Learn
UHC isn’t the only way the University has been attempting to increase students’ ability to learn across departments and disciplines. The Provost’s office released its “One BU” Report, which makes recommendations on how to “unlock” undergraduate education by integrating activities and expanding opportunities for students across schools and programs.
One interesting result of the report came with the preliminary submissions for the first RULE grants (Redesigning the Undergraduate Learning Experience), which will support the redesign of large introductory courses in order to take advantage of innovative and successful new pedagogical practices. Successful proposals could receive as much as $30,000 a year for up to three years from the University’s Center for Excellence & Innovation in Teaching.
Other changes prompted by the “One BU” Report include the use of innovative technologies (e.g., ePortfolios) as well as simplifying University processes (there may soon be a uniform 2.0 GPA criteria for students wishing to transfer into and between colleges). The “One BU” concept, as outlined in the University’s Strategic Plan, is starting to become a reality.
The University announced three new deans who have come to BU in the fall of 2010:
Benjamín E. Juárez was appointed as dean of the College of Fine Arts. He comes to Boston from the Dr. José María Luis Mora Research Institute in Mexico. Juárez has been a guest conductor for orchestras of international repute, a producer of radio and television programs, and director of the Centro Nacional de las Artes, Mexico’s national arts center.
Kenneth W. Freeman was named dean of the School of Management. Most recently with the private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., Freeman was also CEO at Quest Diagnostics, where market capitalization increased from $350 million to more than $9 billion during his tenure.
Christopher Muller was selected as the new dean of the School of Hospitality Administration. Muller comes to BU from the University of Central Florida’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management, which he helped found in 1999. Before that, he taught at the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University, where he was named Hospitality Teacher of the Year five times.
A New Way to Power Our Thinking
This year the Commonwealth of Massachusetts pledged $25 million to help build the Green High Performance Computing Center (GHPCC) in Holyoke. In 2009, Boston University formed a consortium with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Massachusetts to collaborate on the development of the center. Each of the schools is committed to spending $10 million on the construction of the facility. Since then, Northeastern and Harvard Universities have signed up as well.
Powered by hydroelectric power from the Connecticut River, the GHPCC will provide less expensive, more sustainable computing power to handle highly complex problems such as climate modeling and the analysis of large biomolecular and genetic networks underlying human diseases.
Contemplating the Role of Non-Tenure-Track Faculty
This past year, a 13-member task force finished its two-year review of non-tenure-track faculty roles, procedures, and practices and analyzed its data on faculty composition and work satisfaction. The findings have already started to be implemented across the University and will ensure that non-tenure-track faculty have a clear path to career advancement and that there’s a system in place to recognize their work.