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New programs demonstrate commitment to student success
Now in its second year, “Navigating Rensselaer and Beyond” is one example of innovative programs that are helping new students make successful transitions to life at Rensselaer. The Office of the First-Year Experience, created in the spring of 2001, is developing a growing array of initiatives for students and their families that begin before students arrive on campus and continue well beyond their first year.

Undergraduate Science

Undergraduate Science: Education Gets Shot in the Arm
The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) has awarded Rensselaer $1.2 million to improve undergraduate science education through the development of new biotechnology-related courses and student and faculty exchanges with other universities.

Funds from the HHMI grant will support development of a new biotechnology-oriented track in the biochemistry / biophysics program that will focus on biocatalysis and metabolic engineering, and creation of a new major in tissue engineering. These programs will cross boundaries between departments and will involve biology, chemistry, biomedical engineering, chemical engineering, and other disciplines.

In addition, new undergraduate courses in biology will be developed to introduce engineers, mathematicians, and computer scientists to modern concepts in the biological sciences.

The grant also will provide students in Rensselaer’s Undergraduate Research Program with funding for research in the life sciences.

Philanthropic support for Rensselaer is unparalleled
The announcement in 2001 of an unrestricted gift commitment of $360 million resonated throughout the academic world. The record-setting gift was a vote of confidence in Rensselaer and its plans for the future. At the time it was the largest gift ever bestowed on any university, public or private. Although its size since has been surpassed, it remains the largest gift ever to a university by an individual, and it is unprecedented for its unrestricted support of The Rensselaer Plan.

Other giving also has soared to record levels. Fund raising at Rensselaer has more than doubled in three years. In the last two years, according to U.S. News & World Report, Rensselaer jumped from 61st position to 51st position in percentage of alumni giving.

The Institute is Investing in World-class facilities
This year and next, Rensselaer is investing $35 million in renovations and upgrades to residence halls and other campus facilities, information infrastructure, and research facilities. For example, plans call for a new experimental “virtual classroom” in Architecture, an earthquake simulator, renovation of a microbiology laboratory, and extension of the campus gigabit network.

In May, Rensselaer broke ground on the 218,000-square-foot Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies. This building, which will rank among the world’s most advanced research facilities, is progressing with extraordinary speed. Plans for a 160,000-square-foot Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center will be unveiled next spring.

Strong leadership is in place to take Rensselaer to the next level
Since her arrival in July 1999, President Jackson has made significant changes to Rensselaer’s organizational structure that both reflect and support the major thrusts of The Rensselaer Plan. Her leadership team, a healthy balance of longtime members of the Rensselaer community and newcomers, is now complete.

The vision is becoming the new reality
The Rensselaer Plan sets forth a clear and ambitious goal:To achieve prominence in the 21st century as a top-tier world-class technological research university with global reach and global impact.

Across the campus — in laboratories and classrooms, offices and residence halls — that goal is being reached. With a highly focused, disciplined plan in place, the vision is becoming the new reality.

Dramatic results are apparent in all of Rensselaer’s core enterprises:

• Resident undergraduate education
• Research and graduate education
• Education for working professionals
• Scientific and technological entrepreneurship

What follows are examples of how The Rensselaer Plan works, how the Institute is making progress toward its goals, and what this success means to Rensselaer and the world beyond.

People, Programs, Platforms

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Rensselaer Magazine: December 2002
President's View Your Mail From the Archives Hawk Talk Class Notes Features
Front Page At Rensselaer Milestones
In Memoriam Making a Difference Staying Connected
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Rensselaer (ISSN 0898-1442) is published in March, June, September, and December by the Office of Marketing and Media Relations.

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