Current Status Report - September 2011
Text in red denotes new activity since previous status report.

Add resources to academic departments or programs based on their capacity to achieve academic excellence

Action Taken

  • Completed significant data collection and classification as part of Brown’s participation in the National Research Council survey (and eventual ranking) of doctoral programs in the United States
  • Expanded data on graduate programs for Working Group on Graduate Education, and made such indicators part of required annual program reviews
  • Received in February 2008 the Brown Corporation’s endorsement for the concept of expanding the size of the Graduate School in selected areas in order to enhance the excellence of Brown’s research programs and academic departments
  • Continued systematic review of academic departments, research centers, and institutes designed to provide external expert advice on current strengths, challenges, and opportunities, and to assist in shaping strategic plans to guide faculty hiring, strengthening of undergraduate and graduate curricular programs, and other activities
  • Pursued, through Target of Opportunity and other faculty searches, opportunities to recruit leading senior faculty to Brown’s best academic departments. A total of 332 faculty have been recruited since fall 2002, including both new positions created under the PAE and replacement for faculty retiring or leaving the University
  • Embarked on planning for a major new Mind Brain Behavior facility to house the newly combined departments of Psychology and Cognitive and Linguistic Sciences, and the administrative offices of the Brain Science Institute, following an external review of the Department of Psychology
  • Began a new cycle of academic program reviews. By the end of spring term 2009, 13 external reviews were completed and a plan for reviewing all remaining departments, programs, and institutes was approved
  • The Graduate School revised indicators for program strength and student performance in order to monitor more effectively student completion and attrition and the profile of student financial support
  • Began a new cycle of departmental concentration reviews.  In 2009-10, 6 concentration reviews were completed through the College Curriculum Council (CCC)
  • In 2009-10 external department reviews of English, Modern Culture and Media, Literary Arts and Chemistry were completed
  • In response to program review of Literary Arts, increased support for Visiting Writers and recommended departmental status of unit
  • Initiated a revised academic department review process which 1) expands the set of data that is supplied to departments and reviewers and 2) includes an APC-led internal review
  • Launched a process for follow up of all academic program reviews in which the dean and provost regularly review with the department chair the strategic planning process of the academic unit
  • Initiated a project to develop an Assessment Archive in the Brown Digital Repository aimed at preserving key assessment documents and supporting long term analysis.  Initial projects include academic program reviews and assessments of student writing
  • Streamlined the annual reporting process for Centers and Institutes in order to focus on strategic planning and assessment
  • Continued to develop an integrated set of department metrics to support analysis and planning by senior academic administration
  • Continued and expanded training of departmental managers in research compliance
  • Began a major rehabilitation and renovation of Metcalf Laboratories to house the newly created Department of Cognitive, Linguistic, and Psychological Sciences
  • Several new incremental faculty positions were approved for the newly unified Department of Cognitive, Linguistic and Psychological Sciences (CLPS) designed to encourage interdisciplinary work and enhance integration
  • The Corporation approved the transformation of the University’s Division of Engineering into the Brown School of Engineering, effective July 1, 2010
  • Continued to recruit outstanding senior faculty to Brown through the Target of Opportunity program as well as regular faculty searches. From the fall of 2002 through September 2011, a total of 417 faculty have been recruited, including both new positions created under the PAE and filling positions created by normal transitions such as retirements, resignations, and contract expirations
  • OVPR, Dean of the Faculty and the Dean of the Graduate School met with a wide range of academic departments to review status of sponsored research and discuss opportunities for continued growth in support of research
  • Initiative was begun in Science of Massive Data designed to advance data-enabled science and innovation and enhance computational capacity across campus
  • Academic Priorities Committee (APC) explored further development of research initiatives in Energy Science and recommended that an energy science initiative begin
  • Designed and implemented a financial plan to augment participating programs’ effectiveness in recruiting and retaining doctoral students
  • Worked to expand master’s level educational opportunities via collaboration with departments.  Held workshop for chairs and negotiated new agreements with programs
  • Appointed the inaugural Dean of the School of Engineering and expanded the faculty ranks in the School through a comprehensive search process
  • Announced a major new initiative intended to reaffirm the importance of the Humanities for sustaining the intellectual vitality of the University.  Through the initiative, we will seek to make six major appointments in the Humanities over the next three years, each at the level of an endowed chair
  • Continued efforts to assess the strengths and weaknesses of academic departments by overseeing a process of self-studies and external reviews
  • Continued review of all undergraduate concentrations through the College Curriculum Council. Five reviews were completed in 2010-11. Six additional reviews are scheduled for 2011-12

Action Needed

  • Continue to promote strategic planning by departments and programs, anticipating future faculty needs, responding to important trends within and across disciplines, and providing a framework for continued expansion of the faculty
  • Align opportunities for expansion of the Graduate School with areas of excellence in academic departments and programs, particularly those that have seen faculty ranks expanded through the PAE
  • Continue to ensure that planning for academic facilities is based on the academic priorities of PAE Phase II
  • Expand capacity for postdoctoral support
  • Expand training of directors of graduate study
  • Expand programming and collaborations for Creative Arts Center
  • Continue to work with programs to increase resources for recruiting graduate students


  • Provost
  • Dean of the College
  • Dean of the Graduate School
  • Dean of the Faculty
  • Vice President for Research

Return to [Phase II - Enhance Academic Excellence at Brown by Increasing the level and quality of support for key Academic Departments and Programs]