THE FIVE YEAR GOAL
Stony Brook will continue to improve undergraduate education and the recruitment and retention of students. In the last five years, the undergraduate program has been enhanced with initiatives ranging from increased mentoring, to special programs that engage undergraduates’ interest, through programs that encourage pedagogical experimentation, to the establishment of several exciting interdisciplinary teaching and research units. To continue this development and accommodate the expanding undergraduate student body, the University will review what has been accomplished thus far to ensure that students’ curricular needs are met, and continue carefully planned innovation.
Provide supplemental instruction to support students in historically difficult courses and help them master course content while they develop and integrate learning and study strategies. Improve students’ performance and reduce the failure rate in these courses. (1.2, Provost)
Initiatives to improve student success have addressed their performance in mathematics, writing, chemistry, and other introductory science courses. The Math Learning Center provides supplemental instruction, and the schedules of introductory mathematics courses have been aligned so that students can switch courses if early exams indicate they will not succeed in their initial placement. The Writing Center provides tutoring services for writing assignments, to which faculty in all departments can refer students. Chemistry has added a zero-credit course in problem solving (CHE130) to the elementary course sequence and an alternative (CHE123/124) for students not prepared for the general introductory course (CHE131). The department has also developed an NSF-funded program to improve students’ learning skills that external reviewers have cited as a national model. The failure rate in general chemistry (CHE131) decreased by 50 percent between fall 1999 and fall 2004. With oversight from the Undergraduate Council, the FSA has contracted with a tutoring firm to provide assistance in all elementary science courses and created a tutoring classroom in the Stony Brook Union. Residential Programs operates three Residential Tutoring Centers which provide free tutoring to resident students, focused on “gateway” courses such as introductory math, chemistry, and biology. The Centers are staffed by students selected in consultation with the applicable academic department.
Increase the use of interactive teaching and innovative teaching techniques and technologies in classes of all sizes. (1.3, Provost; Vice President, Health Sciences Center)
The instruction-support program Blackboard is now widely used to enhance out-of-classroom interaction between students and instructors and among students. Applications range from posting course syllabi and announcements to creating virtual recitation sessions in which students discuss class material or work on problems with guidance from an instructor or teaching assistant. The installationof student-response systems in two large lecture halls supports interactive teaching in a number of introductory courses, particularly in chemistry, economics, and physics. Students’ immediate response to questions permits instructors to gauge their grasp of course material and stimulate discussion. Data-presentation technology has been upgraded in many other classrooms to support the use of a variety of innovative instructional materials.
The Health Science Center has begun a major teaching-laboratory renovation project by installing state-of-the-art audiovisual equipment. The next phase will create a Medical Simulation Lab where students can practice their medical examination skills. Simulated patient encounters will be recorded and made available for faculty review over the Web. Computerized mannequins and a variety of other procedural training devices are also planned for this new interactive space.
Expand participation in undergraduate research activities, further publicize these activities, increase funding, and develop mechanisms to recognize faculty who consistently contribute. (1.3, Provost; Vice President, Health Sciences Center)
Enrollment in undergraduate research, creative activities, and independent study courses increased 13 percent between 1999-00 and 2004-05 to more than 2,600; 1,800 students took these courses in 2004-2005. Undergraduate research activities are widely publicized through the annual Celebration of Undergraduate Research and Creativity in April and the concurrent distribution of the Collection of Undergraduate Research Abstracts. In 2005, about 125 students exhibited their work at the Celebration, a 50 percent increase over the first event, in 1999. Redesign of the URECA (Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities) Web site and creation of a Web “bulletin board” where faculty can post projects has contributed to this expansion. National publicity was provided in the fall 2004 U.S. News & World Report America’s Best Colleges guide, which highlighted undergraduate research/creative projects at Stony Brook as a “program to look for.”
Significantly increase the number of faculty involved in initiatives of the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching. (1.3, Provost)
Expansion of the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching has been delayed by the search for a new director.
Recognize and reward curricular and classroom models that exemplify the inclusion of diversity and internationalization. (1.3, Provost)
Further attention to internationalization and diversity has been added to the undergraduate curriculum through the freshman reading program and establishment of the Undergraduate College of Global Studies. The freshman introductory course and writing course both incorporate the freshman reading; recent selections have included The Color of Water, Interpreter of Maladies, Angela’s Ashes, and The Things They Carried. The curriculum and programs of the Undergraduate College of Global Studies address the ways in which American culture is enhanced by interchange with other countries and the problems associated with globalization. The Diversity Peer Education Program teaches undergraduate students to become peer educators on sensitive issues such as multiculturalism and bias in a three-credit course taught by instructors from the Department of Residential Programs under the auspices of Africana Studies.
Develop a rich variety of winter intersession course offerings, both credit and non-credit. Explore the potential for faculty and staff to offer courses outside their disciplines. (1.3, Provost, President)
Stony Brook will begin offering a three-week Winter Session in January 2006. High-demand courses that are suited to an intensive format will be offered on campus, at Stony Brook Manhattan, and in Study Abroad programs.
Increase every year the number of externally funded undergraduate fellowships and scholarships. These should target a variety of undergraduate students, such as those with high ability; special talents in music, athletics, or other areas; demonstrated financial need; and non-traditional backgrounds. (1.4, Vice President for Advancement, Provost)
Undergraduate scholarship funding has almost doubled in the last three years, rising from $3.2 million in 2001-02 to $6.2 million in 2004-05. Of that total,
$1.5 million is from University funds, $800,000 from grants, $2 million from corporate fundraising, and $1.8 million from other sources. The $300 million Capital Campaign announced in June 2005 will further increase scholarship funding.
Increase the average SAT scores of incoming freshmen by five points each year. (1.4, Provost)
Average SAT scores increased 83 points or almost 17 points per year during the period of this Five Year Plan. The average score for freshman admissions—excluding students in special programs—rose from 1126 in fall 1999 to 1209 in fall 2004.
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