From the Dean: Growth and Diversity

Dean Cudd
ANN E. CUDD, Dean of Arts & Sciences

T his past year was one of progress, growth, and new beginnings at the College of Arts & Sciences. We welcomed talented new faculty and students to campus, inaugurated a state-of-the-art student collaboration space, and celebrated exciting growth in our master’s programs. It was also a year of remembrance, as the CAS community mourned the passing of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel, longtime senior associate dean Susan Jackson, and William Fairfield Warren Professor Howard Eichenbaum.

As you read through this document, you’ll learn about the progress we have made on important fronts, including increasing diversity in our student body and faculty, providing enhanced experiential learning opportunities to our students, expanding our research impact, and enhancing our academic programs.

One of the most exciting developments this year was the opening of the CAS Think Tank, a state-of-the-art student collaboration and study space in the main CAS building. We decided to design the Think Tank after hearing from leaders in the CAS Student Government about the need for more study and work areas. The new space includes a wide-open room on two levels where students can study, a conference room, several huddle rooms, movable whiteboards, and multiple flat-screens that connect to computers—ideal for going over presentations, multimedia projects, or homework assignments. This space makes CAS feel more like the academic home that it is, allowing students to stay here after class rather than relocating to a café or dorm lounge.

This year, we also made great strides in our effort to increase diversity at CAS. In last year’s annual report, I discussed how a BU-wide committee had been established to determine how the University might increase its faculty diversity. This year, I constituted a committee to create a Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan for CAS. The work of this committee will help further our mission to serve the public good by educating and nurturing research, learning, and discovery—best achieved through a diverse, inclusive, and accessible environment for all.

The College of Arts & Sciences has continued to flourish, growing in all facets from faculty hiring to undergraduate education to graduate programs. This year, we hired 30 new professors across 15 fields and disciplines. These outstanding scholars are leaders in their fields and will bring a wealth of knowledge and research experience with them when they join CAS this fall. In graduate education, we saw a record-setting matriculating class of 313 MA and MS students this past year, a testament to the strength of our master’s programs in an increasingly competitive market.

Our undergraduate offerings expanded this year. We created 71 new undergraduate courses and expanded internship and experiential learning programs. Faculty are currently creating courses for the BU Hub, which will launch in fall 2018, offering a University-wide, learning outcome–based general education curriculum and helping students develop the skills to be successful in their professional lives. We see encouraging signs that a BU education is becoming more accessible to a broader population, with a jump of 3.6% in Pell-eligible applicants matriculating to BU in 2017.

Our alumni and supporters continued to push the boundaries of what is possible this past year, opening up new possibilities for CAS research and teaching. Three new professorships were established: the William Arrowsmith Professor in the Humanities, the Emma MacLachlan Metcalf Professor in the Humanities, and the C. Allyn and Elizabeth V. Russell Professor of Religion in America, allowing us to recognize outstanding faculty in these areas.

In the coming year, we will continue to work hard to achieve our goals, providing new and exciting opportunities to our students and faculty and delivering an elite education that ensures our students are equipped to succeed. We look forward to seeing the research that comes out of the new Rajen Kilachand Center for Integrated Life Sciences & Engineering on Commonwealth Avenue, and the collaboration that occurs across disciplines to help solve both big and small challenges. Encouraging diversity will continue to be at the forefront of our work as it is our belief that our intellectual community depends upon the critical but collegial collaboration of diverse individuals. I look forward to the challenges and opportunities ahead and to working with faculty, staff, and alumni to continue to improve the world-class educational institution that is CAS.

Annual Report 2016/2017

  • From the Dean From the Dean
    The 2016/17 academic year was an exciting one for the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. We made tremendous progress on important fronts, including working to increase faculty and student diversity, providing enhanced experiential educational opportunities, expanding our research impact, and enhancing our academic programs.
  • Improving Undergraduate Education Improving Undergraduate Education
    Providing a world-class undergraduate education is no easy task, but at CAS it is part of our core mission. In 2016/17 we made curricular improvements, launched new career preparation programs, increased access to our world-class education, and gave our students a space to call their own, the CAS Think Tank.
  • Strengthening Graduate Education Strengthening Graduate Education
    The Graduate School of Arts & Sciences’ evolution continued in and out of the classroom, with a 10% increase in master’s applications in 2016/17 and continued high PhD acceptance rates affirming the strength of our programs.
  • Enhancing a World-Class Faculty Enhancing a World-Class Faculty
    The quality of CAS’ academics and research depends on the quality of its faculty, and so we work hard to hire the best and brightest. In 2016/17, CAS hired 30 new professors across the humanities and the social, natural, and computational sciences.
  • Conducting Pathbreaking Research Conducting Pathbreaking Research
    Discoveries and innovations at CAS helped put BU at 32nd on the list of U.S. News & World Report’s top research universities in the world. Our faculty earned numerous prestigious awards and grants, helping to advance human understanding in the fields of biogeoscience, religion, computer science, and biology, just to name a few.
  • Building Our Future Together Building Our Future Together
    In 2016/17, the seventh year of the Campaign for Boston University, numerous alumni, friends, and parents have helped to raise $121.6 million for CAS—far exceeding our aggressive goal of $100 million.
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