TitleThe transformation of undergraduate education at Rutgers University
NameSwan, Aubrie E. (author), O'Donnell, Angela (chair), Tomlinson-Clarke, Saundra (internal member), Firestone, William (internal member), Mertens, Donna (outside member), Rutgers University, Graduate School - New Brunswick,
Education, Higher--Aims and objectives--New Jersey--New Brunswick--Evaluation,
Educational change--New Jersey--New Brunswick--Evaluation,
Education, Higher--Social aspects--New Jersey--New Brunswick--Evaluation,
College students--New Jersey--New Brunswick--Social conditions,
DescriptionIn 2005 the Task Force on Undergraduate Education at Rutgers University made a series of recommendations that led to the Transformation of Undergraduate Education (TUE), through which several complex changes were instituted prior to Fall Semester 2007, including consolidating the four existing liberal arts colleges into one School of Arts and Sciences. Some of these changes were controversial in the Rutgers community.
This study describes participants' knowledge and impressions about what has been done to address the following overarching goals of the transformation: 1) attracting and retaining high quality students, including supporting students in underrepresented groups and nontraditional students; 2) reducing roadblocks and inequities and improving the delivery and consistency of services for students; and 3) increasing the engagement of undergraduate students with cocurricular activities and with faculty. The context and the processes to bring about these changes, and ideas for future directions, are also discussed. The design of the study was informed by research about institutional change, evaluating changes in higher education, student and faculty engagement, and by stakeholder interest in determining what had been done to meet the six goals of the transformation. Administrator interviews, student focus groups, faculty online questionnaires, public records about the TUE, and existing outcome data from university offices inform descriptions of the changes.
Short term impressions of the changes range from positive feelings about new structure and the reduced inequities met by students, to negative feelings about difficulties that have arisen, such as a perceived loss by some of campus-based community. The university has been successful in attracting and retaining high quality students with the TUE, as the academic profile and diversity of incoming students have continued a positive trajectory. Positive changes in the consolidation of university offices have led to better coordinated student services, reducing roadblocks for students. Finally, many programs and structures have been initiated to increase student engagement and interaction with faculty members. This study shows that given strong leadership and vision, significant and sustainable change is possible, even at large institutions. This documentation of change processes and perils can be studied by other institutions implementing or evaluating large-scale change.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references (p. 309-318)
Noteby Aubrie E. Swan
CollectionGraduate School - New Brunswick Electronic Theses and Dissertations
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.