A recap of the State of Brown address

Last night, the third annual State of Brown address was co-hosted by UCS and President Christina Paxson, P’19. The event began with UCS President Maahika Srinivasan ’15 delivering a summary of projects undertaken by UCS this year. Paxson followed with a speech on her own major concerns for the university, noting that she could not give “a comprehensive list of everything that happened this year — it’s a lot, you know that — and the issues we’ve been dealing with aren’t just at Brown, they’re everywhere.” Much of the Q&A section of the event focused on the topics that have been of great concern to the student body and administration this year, including mental health resources, changing the university’s sexual assault and harassment policies, and diversity issues. 

What does UCS do?

Srinivasan began by noting that many students might wonder the above from time to time and she appreciated having State of Brown to clarify their role.

A major goal for UCS this year was to increase support for student advocacy, allowing student activists to either voice concerns to the administration through UCS or push for conversations where they could express themselves directly. To this end, they worked with the Student Labor Alliance regarding the protests for rights of university mailroom workers earlier this year, and they worked with students from the Imagine Rape 0 protests on communicating with the administration.

This year UCS has launched several important online initiatives; wtf*brown (beloved here at Blog) allows students to post and vote on suggestions for the university, and more recently their Textbook Exchange has created an online platform to buy and sell used textbooks, tagged by the class they are for.

UCS has also worked with ResLife to abolish the suite fee for all students; while this year the fee was decreased, they hope to see it gone in the coming years.

The future of Brown academics

President Paxson noted that State of Brown allowed her to answer the question “Where is Brown going?” for the student body, half of which had not matriculated when her Strategic Plan was released two years ago. To that end, she started with a briefing on some of the points of progress on said plan. Her desire is to move Brown’s open curriculum into the 21st century, using technology to embrace the unique cross-departmental education initiatives that Brown offers. An Engaged Scholars Program piloted this year in which students to engage with five departments, and integrate off-campus work into their education. Paxson also expressed desire to “blast away” large lecture classes, envisioning a Brown which uses technology to ensure that the university only offers small, intimate courses.

Diversity in Brown faculty

Paxson stated that the lack of diversity in our faculty posed a major problem for the university. Currently, only about 8.5% of Brown faculty is of unrepresented minorities, which Paxson acknowledged “just doesn’t reflect our student population.” Paxson stated she wanted to double this number in the next ten years; although 16% still sounds low, “it’s going to take a lot of work to do it.” The university has also started a diversity post-doc program, and will be making an effort to focus more on doctoral education in the next few years.

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Live-blog: The State of Brown Address

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We’re bringing you live updates on President Paxson’s address. It comes just a couple of days before the official beginning of Brown’s celebration of its 250th year. Most of the event, however, will be dedicated to Q&A, so who knows where the conversation will go. No matter what, we’re here to keep you in the loop even if you can’t make it to Salomon.

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Paxson delivers State of Brown address

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This afternoon, President Christina Paxson gave her first “State of Brown” speech. Though, in her words, it was more of a “discussion” than a speech, it stuck largely to the stated agenda of reviewing the strategic planning process from the past year. Since there were only about 40 non-UCS, non-University administration members of the community in Salomon 101—I blame it on the beautiful weather—it’s safe to assume most of you need to know the highlights of the speech. Read it; it’s worth knowing what’s actually going on with your school.

1. “Brown… needs to be Brown.” Paxson said this while recounting how her undergraduate experience at Swarthmore (she dabbled in English and Philosophy before landing on Economics her junior year) gave her a deep appreciation of the liberal arts education. Any changes that come with evolutions in education, such as online classes (more on that later), will not come at the expense of what makes Brown special.

2. Priorities for Strategic Planning. The academic priorities were brain science, public health, engineering, humanities, the Watson Institute, and a building for environmental research and teaching. Student life priorities were housing and athletics. The access priority was financial aid.

3. The new School of Public Health will be “distinctive” in that it will have plenty of opportunities for undergraduate participation.

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The Fourth Annual State of Brown Address with President Paxson

199042_10151341338263870_390082502_nToday, at 4 p.m. in Salomon DeCiccio Auditorium, the Undergraduate Council of Students will present President Paxson’s first  State of Brown Address. She will discuss current issues on campus and strategic planning for Brown’s future.

The address is open only to undergraduate students and President Paxson will answer questions from the audience following her speech. In addition, UCS will draw the names of 20 students who will have breakfast with President Paxson this Friday.

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A Thousand Words: State of Brown address

Today, President Simmons delivered her final State of Brown address in Salomon DECI. #endofanera

More photos below:

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The Third Annual State of Brown with President Simmons

Want to hear the t(Ruth) about the current state of Brown? The Undergraduate Council of Students presents the 3rd annual State of Brown address with President Ruth Simmons. Simmons will discuss the current state of Brown and her vision of Brown’s future.

Come out to support your beloved president one last time as she gives her final scheduled address to the entire student body TODAY (3/15) in the Salomon DeCiccio Auditorium at 4 p.m.