Carnegie Corp. names Randel one of three academic leadersBy Josh Schonwald
Credited with expanding undergraduate research opportunities and supporting innovative programs to improve K-12 education, President Randel has received a $500,000 award for “Academic Leadership” from the Carnegie Corporation of New York.
Announced Friday, March 4, the inaugural Carnegie awards specifically honor university presidents for academic leadership. One of only three university presidents nationwide to receive the honor, Randel will support the University’s “academic priorities” with the $500,000 award.
“These academic leaders have been articulate voices in defense of liberal arts, robust undergraduate education, the university’s role in K-12 education and the university’s commitment to their cities and communities,” said Vartan Gregorian, Carnegie Corp. president and former Brown University president, in announcing the awards. Other recipients are Henry Bienen (A.M.,’62, Ph.D.,’66), president of Northwestern University, and Jared Cohon, president of Carnegie Mellon University.
The foundation cited, among other things, Randel’s leadership in enhancing undergraduate research opportunities and his work to create a strong network on Chicago’s South Side between schools, the community and the University.
“Vartan Gregorian is a very astute observer of higher education, and that makes this award an especially satisfying honor,” Randel said. “But this is really not so much an award for me personally as it is a recognition of the character of the University. A great many people, including deans, faculty, staff and students, have contributed to the initiatives cited.”
One aspect of Randel’s leadership that Gregorian noted was his support of undergraduate research, of which the University is one of the country’s most enthusiastic supporters. And during the past several years, it has further expanded the breadth of research opportunities available to students in the undergraduate College.
Programs such as the College Research Opportunities Program, the Jeff Metcalf internship program and the Foreign Language Acquisition Grant program currently give hundreds of students in the College the chance to work closely with leading faculty researchers, both on and off campus.
The University also has made significant efforts to encourage undergraduate research abroad. Each summer, 100 students in the College fan out across the globe to pursue international research and language study as part of the FLAG program. And for the last several years the International Research Fellowships have permitted third-year students to travel to a foreign country to do research for their B.A. papers.
Gregorian also singled out Randel for his support of school reform initiatives. Not only has Randel enthusiastically supported the University’s innovative charter school in Chicago’s North Kenwood community, he also has vigorously advocated for world-class academic opportunities for students enrolled in Chicago’s public schools.
Last fall, the University released ambitious plans to open a second charter school. And the University, through its Center for Urban School Improvement, could operate a total of five charter schools within the next few years.
The University also has launched the Collegiate Scholars Program, a College bridge program aimed at preparing Chicago public school students for elite academic institutions. Next year, more than 50 students in the 3-year-old program will begin the college application process.
Andrew Carnegie created the Carnegie Corporation of New York in 1911 to promote “the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding.”