Yale College Dean Richard Brodhead will lead a yearlong review of Yale’s undergraduate curriculum, Yale President Richard Levin announced in his academic convocation address Friday.
Working closely with faculty, alumni and students, Brodhead will conduct the study throughout this academic year and into the next before suggesting changes in a report.
“Rather than confine this work to a small faculty committee working in isolation, this study will involve many faculty, students and recent graduates, who will solicit ideas and suggestions from the entire Yale family,” Levin said in his speech.
The Yale Corporation has shown support for the plan, but there is no concrete game plan at this point, Brodhead said.
“We’re still in the process of working out the details,” Brodhead said. “We have made the commitment to do this thing.”
He emphasized, however, that he will solicit the opinions of others throughout the process.
“We will be opening our ears to every interesting idea about what would strengthen Yale College education,” Brodhead said.
The study comes in response to the University’s increased investments in science, fine arts, globalization and the community.
“Although we are justly proud of the quality of undergraduate education at Yale, we must not let this moment pass without considering how undergraduates might share in the benefits of these Universitywide investments,” Levin said.
In the last few years, Yale has announced major renovations to Science Hill, the creation of a new Yale Center for Globalization, and expansions and renovations of art centers around campus.
Brodhead said he hoped the study would reveal how undergraduates could best take advantage of these new opportunities.
The University last undertook such a review three decades ago, but Levin said the University must not become complacent. In describing the need for a review, Levin cited a report issued by Yale in 1828, which explained the purpose of a liberal arts education.
“The faculty recognized then as now — [that] the great object of human investigation should properly evolve over time,” Levin said.
Levin provided an example of how education has changed just over the last century by recalling that in the 1930s and 1940s, recitation of facts was the most common and popular form of education.
“Today, in class as well as on written assignments and examinations, students are judged more on the quality of analysis and argument that on the ability to recall facts,” Levin said.