CAS students receive a dynamic education, both inside and outside of the classroom. They are encouraged to think beyond their majors while finding real-world applications for their interests. The 2018/19 academic year saw advances and innovations in experiential learning, classroom curriculum, and career preparation that will help us ready our students for the challenges and opportunities they will face in their careers and their broader lives.
Last fall, another excellent class of first-year students matriculated at CAS. While numbers don’t capture the full range of talent and energy each class brings, they do tell a story. Forty-four percent of students in the Class of 2022 placed in the top 5 percent of their high school classes. The Class of 2022 had an average SAT score of 1413 (out of 1600), 20 points higher than the previous class. The increasing selectivity of our admissions allows BU to attract well-rounded students who will become tomorrow’s leaders, citizens, and thinkers.
The Class of 2022
Wide range of geographic backgrounds
The Class of 2022 has a wide range of racial, ethnic, and geographic backgrounds. They represent 46 states and 54 countries. Twenty-five percent are international students, with the largest numbers coming from China, India, and the Republic of Korea. Of the domestic students, 43.7% are Caucasian, 29% are Asian, 15.3% are Hispanic, 10.6% are African American, 0.7% are Native American, and 0.7% are Hawaiian/Pacific Islander.
These students came to CAS with a diverse range of academic interests. The most popular intended majors were biology, psychology, computer science, economics, neuroscience, and international relations.
Diversity and Access
A main goal of the college continues to be providing access to higher education for talented students from all racial, ethnic, and economic backgrounds. In 2018/19, we continued a multi-year push to fundraise for endowed, need-based scholarships. Students like Joana Barbosa Teixeira benefit greatly from such scholarships. Joana graduated in 2019 with a degree in biochemistry and molecular biology with help from the Dr. Marion R. Kramer Award, given to high-achieving female students majoring in the biological sciences.
We also encourage individual departments to play a leading role in supporting students from diverse backgrounds. Last year, the Computer Science (CS) Department became a BRAID Affiliate school. The Building, Recruiting, and Inclusion for Diversity (BRAID) initiative aims to increase diversity among undergraduate majors in computer science departments, with particular attention to women and racial/ethnic minorities. This affiliation could have a big impact on campus, as CS has grown in popularity at CAS in recent years and there are currently 678 CS majors in the college.
An Evolving Curriculum
Collaborating and learning across traditional disciplines can foster new thinking and breakthroughs. For years, CAS leadership has worked to break down disciplinary boundaries and promote interdisciplinary programs and research. This past year we made further strides in this direction, developing a range of new cross-disciplinary majors: Classics & Archaeology; Linguistics & Computer Science; Middle Eastern and South Asian Languages & Literatures; and Statistics & Computer Science. We also added a BA/MA degree option in Classics & Archaeology and participated in the development of a new minor in Innovation & Entrepreneurship, administered through the Questrom School of Business. All of these programs launched this fall for the 2019/20 academic year.
CAS also launched two new interdisciplinary minors in the 2018/19 academic year: Asian Studies and Urban Studies. Together, these new and revised programs give CAS undergraduates additional, customized academic options that are tailored to emerging opportunities presented by the global economy.
BU Hub: Skills for Today’s World
The 2018/19 academic year saw the launch of the BU Hub, with freshmen in the Class of 2022 fully participating in this new University-wide general education curriculum. BU Arts & Sciences faculty members helped lead the development of the Hub, which seeks to educate students who are reflective, resourceful individuals ready to live, adapt, and lead in an interconnected world. Through the Hub, every BU student completes coursework (usually 10–12 courses) that together covers six areas or “essential capacities”: philosophical, aesthetic, and historical interpretation; quantitative reasoning; scientific and social inquiry; communication; diversity, civic engagement, and global citizenship; and the intellectual toolkit (including skills like critical thinking, collaboration, and innovation).
The Hub places the arts and sciences at the core of a modern university education.
The Hub places the arts and sciences at the core of a modern university education. Over two-thirds of the courses offered in the Hub are through CAS, with the college contributing approximately 500 Hub-approved courses in the first year. In this way, the new curriculum continues and enhances the college’s role in providing a liberal arts and sciences education to all BU students. The Hub also allows CAS students to take more classes in BU’s professional schools, which will enhance their arts and sciences education.
Many CAS academic departments and programs have embraced the opportunities presented by the Hub. The Core Curriculum, a CAS interdisciplinary program, was able to include the entirety of the Hub capacities and units into its academic program. Additionally, many CAS faculty members, departments, and programs participated in BU Cross-College Challenge (XCC) projects. XCC is an intercollege, project-based component of the Hub, open to juniors and seniors. History of Art & Architecture Professor Daniel Bluestone led an XCC research project, in collaboration with the School of Public Health, investigating issues around affordable housing and the 100 Homes Program in Somerville, Massachusetts. Senior Lecturer Sam Myers of the Writing Program, in conjunction with the Wheelock College of Education & Human Development, taught an XCC class on reexamining Jim Crow, which included students reading pieces from Martin Luther King, Jr. (GRS’55, Hon.’59) and bringing their learning to local high schools.
Learning Beyond the Classroom
We aim to prepare our students for life beyond college by giving them a broad range of experiential (or out-of-classroom) learning opportunities. This past year, thousands of CAS students participated in the college and University’s experiential learning programs: BU Spark!, an initiative to support student-driven innovation in computer science and engineering; the CAS On-Campus Internship Program, where students gain real-world experience working at BU; National Endowment for the Humanities internships; museum studies internships; the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program, providing faculty-mentored research experiences for students in a wide range of fields; study abroad in over 100 programs on six continents; the Honors Research Travel Program; and other initiatives.
In 2018/19, BU and CAS also expanded our experiential learning offerings with innovative new programming. Last fall, the Initiative on Cities, a University enterprise run by CAS faculty members, launched the MetroBridge program. Through MetroBridge, students use their classroom to help Massachusetts cities deal with real-world issues. Sociology Assistant Professor Jessica Simes taught the first MetroBridge class, where graduate sociology students studied the issue of homelessness and housing insecurity in the city of Chelsea through a literature review, a series of interviews with service providers, an ethnographic study, and census data analysis. The spring semester included classes tackling public transit in Everett, noise pollution in Milton, budgets in Quincy, and homeshare rentals in Watertown.
The Core Curriculum launched a new Florence Winter Break study abroad program based on the curriculum of CAS CC 201 Renaissance, Rediscovery and Reformation, which includes studying historical works by Florentine artists and writers. Nine students participated in the first trip, with scholarships to cover costs for some students.
The Student Programs & Leadership office organized four Professor Perspectives lectures for undergraduates, where students and faculty discussed topics such as climate change, fake news, and data science and politics. The BU Center for the Humanities hosted four HumaniTea talks as well, where faculty members from humanities departments shared their research and professional advice with interested undergraduates.
Student Support and Career Preparation
At CAS, we work each year to improve upon our career preparation and student support programming. In spring 2019, the Student Programs & Leadership office collaborated with CAS Academic Advising and the Center for Career Development to offer a variety of new classes designed to help first- and second-year students further define their career paths and take steps toward their careers of interest. Students choose classes focused on specific fields: health careers; counseling and the helping professions; government and public service; business, finance, and consulting; and high technology. Through discussions, activities, and guest speakers, students explore the connection between their majors and their career targets, the meaning of career fit, and how to seek out and obtain relevant experience to clarify and reach their career goals. Each participant creates a short-term action plan for their career.
We also expanded our First-Year Experience programming beyond FY101 (the flagship course that helps first-year students adjust to college life and academics). The Student Programs & Leadership office offered a series of new events and workshops to help first-year students adjust to the academic and social dimensions of the University. Fall programming included workshops on discovering your values and skills, exploring your academic and career interests, managing a personal budget in college, and preparing a résumé.
Here are a few examples of students who achieved amazing things this past year:
- Augustine Jimenez (CAS’19) won the prestigious Harry S. Truman Scholarship, a national scholarship given to college juniors for their academic success, leadership skills, and dedication and potential in the public service sphere, among other factors. As one of only 62 students selected this year, Jimenez will receive $30,000 to support graduate work, which he plans to use for law school. He hopes to one day help fight income inequality, an aspiration fueled by his work as a National League of Cities Menino Fellow with the BU Initiative on Cities.
- Hafzat Akanni (CAS’19) is the first black woman to serve as BU’s student body president. Her main goals include increasing availability of study space and affordable textbooks, better information sharing with the student body, and making gender-neutral bathrooms and living spaces available to her fellow students, a project that is currently underway across campus.
- Each year, BU is permitted to nominate four students for the Goldwater Scholarship, the premier national recognition for exceptional undergraduate students in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) disciplines. For the first time, all four BU student nominees received the scholarship, and all of them are CAS students. The winners are: Andrea Cheng (chemistry), Arnaldo Franco (biology/life sciences), Salvatore Pace (physics and astronomy), and Linda Zuckerman (chemistry).
- Archaeology majors Sydney Hunter (CAS’19) and Emma Schlauder (CAS’19) earned Fulbright Scholarships to continue their study of archaeology in the United Kingdom. Hunter entered the Master of Arts in Archaeology program at the University of Liverpool. There, she’ll research human-environmental interactions and early agricultural development in the Near East. Schlauder is using the award to attend the University of Sheffield’s Master of Science in Human Osteology and Funerary Archaeology program.