The New Brunswick Faculty Council
Report and Recommendations on the Proposals
of the Task Force on Undergraduate Education
As Amended and Adopted December 2, 2005

The New Brunswick Faculty Council considered the major recommendations of the report Transforming Undergraduate Education of the Task Force on Undergraduate Education over the course of the fall 2005 semester.  A number of recommendations on relatively non-controversial aspects of the Task Force proposals were approved at the October 28th NBFC meeting.  Afterwards the relevant NBFC committees continued to consider and make recommendations concerning other Task Force proposals, concentrating particularly on those dealing with collegiate structure, admissions and recruitment, the student experience, and the curriculum.  A steering committee consisting of the NBFC Executive Cabinet and its committee chairs combined the various committee recommendations with those approved on October 28th to create the present report which, we hope, presents a coherent set of recommendations regarding the Task Force proposals.  These recommendations are divided into five categories: structure and facilities, admissions and recruitment, the student experience, curriculum, and personnel matters.

As will be clear from our specific recommendations, the NBFC supports a large majority of the recommendations of the report of the Task Force on Undergraduate Education. We believe that the Task Force Report gives a thorough analysis of many of the strengths and weaknesses of the undergraduate educational and administrative structure, services and programs on the New Brunswick/ Piscataway Campus at Rutgers, and rightly proposes many important changes and improvements. Since and because of the academic reorganization of the New Brunswick Campus in 1981, the University has made major strides forward, especially in the areas of graduate education and research, with the combining of like academic departments. We believe that implementation of a number of the Task Force recommendations will similarly enhance the quality and visibility of our undergraduate programs. We should make certain, however, that recommended improvements in undergraduate education do not in any way impede the progress of the University in graduate education and research.


S1. We strongly support the creation of a single Rutgers School or College of Arts and Sciences as proposed in the Report of the Task Force on Undergraduate Education. We also agree that the available majors and minors for arts & sciences students should be the same at all of the residential colleges (or campuses).

The college fellows system has failed to attract all but a few dedicated volunteers and the remaining faculty in those disciplines that offer majors through the arts and sciences colleges (Douglass, Livingston, Rutgers, and University Colleges) have no responsibility and, unless they volunteer to become college fellows, no opportunity to participate in the normal faculty responsibilities of setting academic standards, admissions policies, scholastic standing requirements, honors curricula, graduation requirements, and degree certifications in those colleges. Also, the individual graduation and other academic requirements vary from college to college sufficiently so that most faculty seem to have given up trying to understand the resulting complicated system well enough to participate in advising of undergraduate students, or even to become aware of undergraduate academic issues on the campus.

S2. We propose the continuation and enhancement of the role of the residential and commuter colleges (or campuses) [Busch, Cook, Douglass, Livingston, Queens, and University], their deans, and decanal staffs in providing local programs and services such as local delivery of pre-major academic advising, co-curricular activities, academic learning communities, student-life programming, and intercollege (or intercampus) intramural sports, under the direction and coordination of the Executive Dean of Arts and Sciences, the Vice President for Undergraduate Education, and the Vice President for Student Affairs.

The undergraduate colleges on the New Brunswick/Piscataway Campus do offer and have historically offered many advantages for undergraduate students in this large, comprehensive, and complex research university. Once here, undergraduate students, at least in the smaller residential colleges, generally seem to identify with and find a home at their respective colleges. The colleges provide many opportunities for small coherent groups, leadership positions, and personalized attention from staff members that enhance the quality of the educational experience. A critical issue is the provision of appropriate budgets for carrying out these programs, a portion of which now come from such areas as gifts and donations and revenues generated in the student centers.

Nevertheless, it is critical that advising policies and procedures, as well as co-curricular and student-life programs be coordinated and equitably implemented throughout the New Brunswick/ Piscataway Campus; this must be done by the Executive Dean of Arts and Sciences, the Vice President for Undergraduate Education, and the Vice President for Student Affairs.

S3. In opposition to the Task force recommendations, we recommend that the proposed new arts and sciences academic unit be called the "Rutgers School of Arts and Sciences" and that the successors to the current arts and sciences colleges be called "residential colleges," with the exception of University College, which should retain its present name.

We believe that the name "Rutgers School of Arts and Sciences" is consistent with the terminology elsewhere on the Campus, where "schools" are the undergraduate, degree-granting units, and introducing "college" here would lead to some confusion. Further, since there is a "Camden College of Arts and Sciences" and a "Newark College of Arts and Sciences", if we were to have a "College of Arts and Sciences", it really would need to be the "New Brunswick College of Arts and Sciences."

While there seems to be no ideal name for the successors to the present arts and sciences colleges, the name "residential college" is, perhaps, the most truthful in describing what we wish the colleges to become. Certainly "campus" seems inappropriate, since it connotes merely a geographical place and does not indicate the academic, co-curricular, and student-life aspects of the colleges which we wish to maintain, besides being confusing with the several other uses of the term “campus” within the University. We also believe that "residential colleges" will help in student recruitment, alumni/alumnae support, and University recognition. There are many other fine universities presently having residential colleges, and indeed a number of large universities are now considering how to introduce undergraduate residential colleges to help students find places for themselves within the context of those large institutions. Finally, we wish to make clear that each residential college will also be a center for student-life programming, co-curricular activities, and learning communities for commuter students affiliated with that college.

S4. We recommend that the academic authority for undergraduate academic affairs for arts and sciences students, such as admissions criteria, general education requirements, scholastic standing, honors curricula, and degree certification be vested within the Rutgers School of Arts and Sciences in a faculty body, to be known as the "Undergraduate Academic Assembly", to consist of the faculty of the Rutgers School of Arts and Sciences plus those faculty from professional disciplines offering undergraduate majors and minors to students in the Rutgers School of Arts and Sciences.

This recommendation is identical to that in the Task Force Report, except that we believe that a suitable name is needed for the undergraduate arts and sciences governing faculty body.

S5. We recommend that the residential colleges and University College should have the ability to add voluntary academic certificate programs leading to recognition (in addition to the diploma from the Rutgers School of Arts and Sciences or from one of the professional schools), with the approval of the Undergraduate Assembly of the Rutgers School of Arts and Sciences (or the faculty body of the appropriate professional school).  All residential college programs and courses should be open to all qualified undergraduate students and no student should be required to take an academic course or program only because of where he or she lives. Appropriate budgets for these programs should be provided.

However, we recommend that Rutgers University continue to offer women the option of a four-year woman-centered curricular, co-curricular, and student-life educational experience through Douglass College.  Students selecting this option would be required to complete certain woman-centered curricular requirements consistent with the graduation requirements of the student’s degree-granting School and approved by the Undergraduate Assembly of the Rutgers School of Arts and Sciences (or the faculty body of the appropriate professional school).

College-based programs such as the Livingston minor in organizational leadership, the Douglass language and human rights houses, and the Douglass women’s leadership programs provide models of the sort of learning communities/co-curricular programs proposed by the Task Force; such programs should be continued and funding should be provided to open them up to more students.

Rutgers has a national reputation for the excellence of its Women and Gender Studies Program and its women’s centers and institutes, for leadership and academic support programs for women, for hiring and nurturing female faculty and staff members, and for faculty activism on national and international women’s issues, as well as for having the only college for women within a major public research university. Removing the option of obtaining a woman-centered education within Rutgers University would seriously damage this reputation and would represent a narrowing of opportunities for women, contrary to the basic Task Force principle of opening up rather than closing off opportunities.

S6. We endorse the recommendation of the Task Force Report that the residential college deans report to the Vice President for Undergraduate Education and that the Executive Dean of Arts and Sciences and the Vice President for Undergraduate Education report to the Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs.  In addition, we propose that the Undergraduate Academic Council of Deans of the Schools and Residential Colleges be a standing body of the Office of the Vice President for Undergraduate Education.

While there was not full consensus on this issue, the majority of NBFC members think that the residential college deans should report to the Vice President for Undergraduate Education, as proposed by the Task Force, rather than to the Executive Dean of Arts and Sciences, as proposed by the NBFC Budget and Planning Committee and by almost all of the alternative proposals to the Task Force Report.  The major reasons for this recommendation are, first, the fact that the residential college deans will provide or coordinate student services, student-life programs, and learning communities for professional school as well as arts and sciences students and, second, the belief that the residential college deans should report to the administrator whose sole mandate is the support and enhancement of undergraduate education in New Brunswick/Piscataway.  At the same time, a number of Council members have concerns about the lack of a formal connection between the Dean of Arts and Sciences and the residential college deans in the proposed structure; namely, that in the absence of such a connection, it will be difficult for the School of Arts and Sciences to direct and coordinate pre-major advising for arts and sciences students campus-wide and arts and sciences faculty members will have little incentive to take part in pre-major student advising, learning communities, or other co-curricular or student-life programs or activities organized by the residential college deans.

S7. We recommend that the Vice President for Student Affairs report to the Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs to ensure that the needs of graduate students in such areas as housing, facilities, career services, and student services are met, and not neglected or reduced, in the new administrative structure and efforts to enhance undergraduate education.

The Vice President for Student Affairs needs to attend to the affairs of and services for graduate as well as undergraduate students, in order to assure the continued success of our graduate programs.

S8. We endorse the third option of the Task Force Report for the organization of the School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences (or other name to be determined) and Cook College; namely,

·        that the School will decide which of its majors are professional majors and which are arts and sciences majors; students interested in its professional majors will be admitted to the School in the first year, while students interested in the School’s arts and sciences majors will be admitted to the Rutgers School of Arts and Sciences in the first year and then admitted to the arts and sciences majors of the School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at the time they declare the major.

·        that Cook College should separately become one of the residential colleges, but give priority in housing to students majoring in one of the disciplines offered by the School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences and its faculty.

In other words, we recommend that the School, as a professional school, admit its own professional students, and its faculty determine the academic requirements and policies for majors in those disciplines that are determined to be professional. Such majors would be available only to students of the professional school. In addition, the present Cook faculty would determine which of the majors offered by their disciplines are to be considered arts and science majors, and hence available only to students in the Rutgers School of Arts and Sciences, and subject to its academic requirements and policies. In addition, we recommend that an easy procedure be set up for arts and sciences students to transfer to the School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, if they should wish to choose one of its professional majors (such as a student in Biological Sciences who wishes to transfer to Animal Sciences). It should, of course, be possible for some majors to be jointly run by relevant faculty from more than one school.

S9. We strongly endorse the recommendations of the Campus Planning and Facilities section of the Task Force Report for involvement of the university community in decision making regarding campus planning and for the creation of structures to guarantee this involvement. We find the remaining recommendations of this section of the Task Force Report well considered and endorse them as well.

The recommendation for faculty involvement in campus planning is in accord with the importance that the New Brunswick Faculty Council attaches to collegial decision making and has the full support of the Council.  Further, the Council believes that, in pursuing this goal, the University administration should draw on the existing representative structure of the New Brunswick Faculty Council in constituting the implementation committee(s).


AR1. We support common admission standards for all traditional-age arts and sciences applicants, appropriately modified for transfer, EOF, and non-traditional students.

AR2. We propose that the criteria used in admission decisions should be sufficiently flexible to maintain the diversity of the student body and not exclude talented applicants whose potential is not adequately measured by standard test scores.

The standards for separate admissions to Cook, Douglass, Livingston, Rutgers, and University Colleges have, over the years, gotten seriously out of balance, which the faculty view as damaging, unstable, and misrepresentative since the same faculty teach the students in all of these colleges. It is essential that we ensure the attraction of an excellent body of students prepared to use the resources of a major research university, while maintaining the diversity of students that has been a hallmark of Rutgers University.

AR3. We recommend a single admissions process for all arts and sciences applicants, in which all admit-coming applicants will be assigned to a residential college or campus based upon a combination of their preferences and the desire to have a strong student body as well as a reasonable mix of students at each residential college or campus. We recommend that the specific procedure for doing this be developed by the Rutgers School of Arts and Sciences, together with the staff of the Admissions Office and the Vice President for Undergraduate Education.

We believe that there needs to be not only a single admissions standard, but also a single admissions process which admits student into the School of Arts and Sciences and then allows them to choose or be assigned to a particular residential college or campus. There are many possibilities, such as, for example, all first-year students could be given their first choice, or all honors students or some other groups could be given their first choice and other assignments could be made by lottery or by some judicious matching of second and third choices with the need for an appropriate mix of students on each residential college or campus. How this is done is clearly important for attracting the best student body and for properly filling enrollment goals, and advice from the experts in the area of admissions is clearly needed.

AR4. In order to eliminate the harmful confusion resulting from the present, internally competitive recruitment process, we recommend that general New Brunswick recruitment materials, print and electronic, be redesigned so that they primarily stress the outstanding opportunities that all undergraduates enjoy at Rutgers, including the high-quality faculty and academic programs, research opportunities, core curriculum, choice of majors and minors, learning/living communities, honors programs, internship and externship programs, and campus diversity, as well as the more intimate and supporting residential and commuter communities within the New Brunswick/Piscataway Campus.  We recognize and support, however, the need for some professional schools to continue to do their own targeted recruiting.

As the Task Force Report notes, the Constituency Research Project Report made it clear that Rutgers has failed to communicate clearly to prospective students and their families, or the general public, the outstanding opportunities that the New Brunswick/Piscataway Campus offers to its undergraduate students. One of the important factors has been the confusion generated by the four undergraduate, degree-granting arts and sciences colleges with a single faculty but different admissions standards, degree requirements, etc., which have produced mutually, highly competitive recruiting materials. The general recruiting materials should emphasize Rutgers-New Brunswick/Piscataway first, with its component academic units second.

AR5. We propose that a new task force be appointed to consider comprehensively the many issues regarding the recruitment, admission, needs, and support of non-traditional and transfer students.

We support many of the specific Task Force recommendations regarding transfer students, such as having a uniform, transparent set of admission standards and policies, improving orientation, academic support, and advising in the first semester at Rutgers, and adding sections or saving seats for transfer students in required upper-class courses. Nevertheless, we believe that the Task Force Report did not address a number of the important needs of transfer students, and that the proposed new Office of Transfer Student Affairs may not be the best solution. There appear to be significant problems with the academic performance and student experience of transfer students that need to be comprehensively addressed. We recommend that the task force recommended to study the needs of non-traditional students also be charged to address further the needs of transfer students.

AR6. We strongly support the Task Force recommendation for the University to develop a comprehensive plan to recruit and enroll more high-achieving, out-of-state students, particularly those from US states outside the Northeast. 

We need to increase the current very low geographic diversity of our undergraduate student body, and expose our students to cultures beyond New Jersey. We are presently a very local university. Attracting more out-of-state students would rather dramatically improve our national visibility and thereby local reputation, and thus help us to keep more of our very best New Jersey high-school graduates from going to college out of state. Also, the larger out-of-state tuition would help with the University budgetary problems, as it has done for many of the best state universities.

AR7. We strongly support the Task Force recommendations that faculty members should play a major collaborative role with the administration in establishing undergraduate admissions policies, standards, and enrollment goals at the unit and campus levels. There should be active faculty admissions committees for the School of Arts and Sciences and for each professional school, and a New-Brunswick-wide, primarily faculty Admissions Committee with the composition and powers proposed by the Task Force, appointed by the Vice President for Undergraduate Education with the advice of the New Brunswick Faculty Council.

Faculty members need to be much more involved in the undergraduate admissions and recruitment process, particularly at the policy-making level, but also, where appropriate, at the implementation level.


SE1. We strongly support the proposal that there be a single, coordinated set of undergraduate academic and student-life policies, guidelines, and implementations across the New Brunswick/Piscataway Campus.

The confusion and red tape in and among the various colleges due to different policies, guidelines, and requirements in such areas as the formation of student clubs and organizations, use of student centers and recreational facilities, allocation of student fees, reservation of facilities for events, job descriptions and pay scales for student-life staff, implementation of academic integrity policies, and general academic advising are harmful and a substantial part of what has become known as the "Rutgers screw." In particular, it is critical that there be centralized policies on pre-major advising.

SE2. We recommend that the student centers and recreation facilities should be coordinated and managed by the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs. There should be local campus-center and recreation-center management teams at each center, but there should be a single online system for student center facilities throughout the Campus, which could be accessed from any center, so that students and organizations do not have to run around to the various campuses to reserve facilities.

The bureaucracy and hassles associated with access by student groups and organizations to center facilities has been a major complaint from many quarters.


C1. We support the formation of a single general honors program for all colleges and schools on the New Brunswick/Piscataway Campus, with appropriate variation in requirements to meet the needs of the various professional schools as well as of the School or College of Arts and Sciences. We also support the recommendation that honors communities should continue to exist in the various campus communities to provide the local advising, mentoring, and co-curricular activities that students value so highly in our current college honors programs.

Having totally separate honors programs in the various colleges and schools has been confusing and certainly not optimized for attracting the very best students to the Campus. The general honors program should ensure that the full range of honors opportunities on the Campus is available to all honors students, which should give the honors program the coherence and visibility it presently lacks. The honors program should be based upon a "requirements" model, with a strong emphasis on research experience. There should be uniform requirements for all Arts and Sciences honors students and appropriately modified requirements for the various professional schools. Finally, there should be flexible admissions criteria to allow outstanding students with diverse talents to enter the program.

C2. There should be a core curriculum for the School of Arts and Sciences, to be approved as soon as possible by the Undergraduate Assembly of the School of Arts and Sciences, with advice from the professional school faculties.

The core curriculum proposed by the Task Force should serve as a starting point for the development of the arts and sciences core curriculum. The discussion of a new core curriculum should begin immediately in the various units and departments, with logistical support from the administration, and the advice of knowledgeable students, staff and alumni/ae. Final approval must be given by the Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Assembly.  <>

C3. Since the curriculum and graduation requirements of every degree-granting academic unit require the approval of the faculty of that unit, we recommend that the New Brunswick Faculty Council, as the representative body of all the faculties in New Brunswick, have the responsibility to propose a New Brunswick-wide core curriculum, taking into account accreditation requirements of the various professional schools, and, with the help of the administration, to negotiate and orchestrate its approval by all of the undergraduate degree-granting faculties. Upon its approval by all of the degree-granting faculties and its implementation, the New Brunswick Faculty Council should establish a curriculum committee to monitor the needs and success of the curriculum, and from time to time develop and propose modifications, as appropriate. The development of such a curriculum must take into account any implications for the allocation of needed resources.

The creation of a New Brunswick-wide core curriculum would help define the high value of a Rutgers undergraduate degree and hopefully make the University more attractive to prospective students. While it may be difficult, we are optimistic that it will be possible, given sufficient flexibility, to produce an outstanding curriculum and vision that all of the undergraduate academic units can accept. The core curriculum proposed by the Task Force would be a starting point for these discussions and negotiations. 

C4. We recommend that the Dean and faculty of the School of Arts and Sciences find ways to offer varied and high-quality curricula and courses in the evening, as well as during the day time, so that it would be possible for most majors to be completed by the taking of evening courses. We believe that faculty should consider the teaching of evening courses as part of their normal responsibilities. Since evening classes compete for space with other important evening events, we also recommend that efforts be made to construct additional classroom buildings with suitable space for evening classes, extracurricular activities, guest speakers, and common hour exams, as well as for allowing smaller classes.

The need for more evening classes has been evident at University College for a very long time.


PP1. We propose a substantial increase in the numbers of full-time tenure-track faculty and of TAs, a corresponding decrease in the number of large lecture classes, and the provision of meaningful incentives for faculty to become more involved with undergraduate teaching, advising, curricular development, both within and outside their disciplines, research projects, and co-curricular activities outside the classroom.

While the Task Force Report recognized many barriers to faculty participation  in undergraduate education, it failed to recognize sufficiently the need for more full-time faculty and TAs, the over-dependence on coads and other contingent faculty, and the need for smaller classes.

PP2. The New Brunswick Faculty Council believes that the report of the Task Force on Undergraduate Education fell short in addressing the issue of rewards and incentives, an issue that they recognized as being crucial.  We believe that the issue is central to the success or failure of the proposed transformation, and warn that effective incentives cannot be put into place without the will to bring about some changes in the promotion and FASIP processes and without additional funds.

The Council plans to consider this spring semester the specific recommendations proposed by the Personnel Policy Committee to enhance faculty participation in all aspects of undergraduate education.

PP3. We recognize the critical role that TAs and GAs play in discussion and laboratory sections of our undergraduate courses, in allowing for smaller class sizes, and in working with undergraduate students in their research projects in our laboratories and elsewhere, and urge an increase in the numbers of TAs and GAs to help enhance our undergraduate programs.

Rutgers University is well known to be very understaffed in terms of the numbers of TAs and GAs, compared to other AAU universities. It is essential both for our undergraduate and graduate programs to increase these numbers, especially since we are able to attract such high quality graduate students, when such positions are available.

PP4. We recognize the contributions of part-time lecturers and annual faculty appointees and call for a meaningful set of rewards and incentives specifically for their contribution to undergraduate education.

Many of our undergraduate classes are taught by part-time lecturers or annual faculty appointees, who are dedicated teachers on whom we rely, but seldom recognize. We need to develop appropriate incentives and rewards to encourage and recognize their excellent contributions to undergraduate education.