Boyer discusses outlook for College
While College students are sipping Starbucks coffee at the redesigned University Bookstore or discussing Kant while shooting pool in the newly renovated Reynolds Club, John Boyer, Dean of the College, is meeting with students in his Harper office and devising new programs to challenge their creativity.
"There is a sense of excitement in the College now that has been building for some time," said Boyer. "My goal is to maintain that excitement, particularly on an academic level."
For example, this summer's research fellowship programs for College students were a huge success, Boyer said, and plans are in place to build on that momentum.
"Students have found that a summer research fellowship -- to be used either in a foreign country or in the United States -- provides a stimulating educational and personal experience," he said. "I want to be able to offer many more summer research grants and to establish other kinds of summer internships for all interested third-year students in the College, so that they move into their final year with a better preparation for their future careers."
Change could also come to the classroom as a result of the upcoming College curriculum review.
"This is the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the current curriculum," he said. "The question is whether the faculty of the College see a need for change, and if they do, how best to initiate it."
A retreat in December for representatives of the College faculty, as well as an ongoing series of subsequent discussions by the College Council, will help to determine the nature of changes, if any, that are needed in the curriculum, Boyer said.
"At these meetings, everything will be on the table. It may be that we will have no change, but it is just as likely that there will be significant changes. We will have to hear what the faculty of the College has to say."
One change already affecting the Core is the recently established program for graduate students teaching in the College.
"We have just completed our inaugural year of providing weeklong, intensive training for graduate-student teachers on how to teach the Core," Boyer said. "The Pew Charitable Trusts is supporting the program for three years, but I'm committed to continuing it after that time. Introducing graduate students to the rigorous nature of the Core -- and of our College students -- is a worthy investment of time and energy."
Boyer said he is also pleased with the plans in place for Parents Weekend, which is coming up on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 28 and 29.
"I am especially pleased with the large number of faculty members who have agreed to participate this year by offering model classes, because it is important that parents see firsthand what our students do, especially in the classroom," he said. This year, Parents Weekend will operate on an expanded schedule, including a Saturday afternoon symposium, "The Liberal Arts in the Twenty-First Century." Boyer also hopes that parents will tour the new Reynolds Club. "If parents want to shoot some pool, that's all right with me, too."