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.