To officially begin Yale’s academic review of undergraduate education, University President Richard Levin released a mission statement and committee roster Monday.
In his charge to the Committee on Yale College Education, Levin emphasized the importance of using Yale’s numerous resources to further undergraduate education. He also said the primary goal of the initiative would be to prepare Yale students for the future.
The 41-member Committee on Yale College Education will be divided into four academic working groups: on biomedical education, the physical sciences and engineering, social and international studies, and the humanities and the arts.
Yale College Dean Richard Brodhead will lead the steering committee, which will largely be composed of members of the working committees.
Each of the working groups will comprise faculty members, one alumnus and two undergraduates.
In selecting the undergraduate participants, the Yale College Council conducted a series of interviews last weekend and then made recommendations to Brodhead. After reviewing the recommendations, Brodhead finalized the undergraduate roster late last week.
Rachel Alpert ’02, who will be a member of the social studies working committee, said she hoped undergraduate opinions will be taken seriously.
“I’m representing the concerns of the students and that’s the top priority,” Alpert said. “So hopefully, they’ll listen to what I have to say.”
Alpert said one of her main objectives is to increase study abroad opportunities for undergraduates.
The Yale administration chose faculty and alumni participants, Brodhead said.
He said the process was difficult but he is happy with the committee members chosen.
“It’s a source of enormous gratification to know that when I asked very good and very busy people to do this, and made clear that it would be a lot of work, very few said no,” Brodhead said.
All 41 members of the committee will meet after Thanksgiving break, Brodhead said.
After this introductory meeting, the various working groups will meet in smaller units.
Although the official committee will be limited to the chosen 41 members, Brodhead said the review will not be a closed process. Instead, the committee expects to heavily solicit advice from other students, faculty and alumni.
“There are 10 people who could have been good for every one person on the committee,” Brodhead said. “But we can’t have a 400-member committee.”
Music professor Leon Plantinga, who will be a member of the humanities and arts working group, said his unit will examine the role of arts, in terms of both academic study and the actual practice of art.
He said the committee might look at ways to better integrate the School of Music with undergraduate education.
Maxwell Laurans MED ’03, who will serve on the physical sciences working group, said he has high hopes for the academic review.
“I can’t say how it’ll turn out since it’s the very beginning of the process,” Laurans said. “But everyone’s goal is to do something that matters; it’s not a feel-good operation.”