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Introduction
Executive Summary
Process
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The Rensselaer Plan 2024
Goal Fundamentals Undergraduate Education Graduate Education Research Communities Enabling Change Leadership
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UNDERGRADUATE EDUCATION

A strength of Rensselaer lies in the ability to educate students to develop concepts and ideas across disciplines and relate them to global challenges.

As a fundamental intent, Rensselaer is committed to an undergraduate education that produces graduates known for their intellectual agility, multicultural sophistication, and global view. We do this through theoretical and experiential learning grounded in fundamental scientific and technological concepts, and linked to an appreciation of the social forces that shape human history. Institute programs are distinguished by innovative pedagogy; by partnerships with faculty in research, innovation, and entrepreneurship; and by a campus culture that creates a lifelong relationship with the Institute.

Pedagogical Innovation

3.1 Resident Undergraduate Education
Excellence in undergraduate education requires programs that lead to meaningful and exciting futures; provide a firm grounding in the fundamentals; bridge knowledge to practice; emphasize discovery, reasoning, and action; and inculcate a global perspective and cultural understanding. We will:

  • Enhance intellectual diversity by developing unique degree programs in architecture; management; and humanities, arts, and social sciences, that incorporate the rich scientific and technological strengths of the Institute, embracing as well the humanistic, artistic, and social dimensions of technology.
  • Embed curricular and co-curricular activities designed to foster a culture of creativity, discovery, and innovation.
  • Integrate outcomes assessment and evaluation into all education programs, ensuring timely and continuous improvement.

Outstanding programs are geared to talented students who will be enriched by, and add value to, Rensselaer and its mission. This requires a vibrant student community with diverse perspectives and experiences. We will:

  • Target an undergraduate student body size of 5,000 students.
  • Seek student diversity in its broadest and richest sense—ethnic, gender, intellectual, and cultural.
  • Significanatly broaden the geographic base from which we recruit—nationally and internationally.

3.2 Interactive and Digitally Augmented Learning
As new generations of learners arrive on our campus, there is an urgent need to develop distinctive new approaches to engage these students in novel ways that enhance learning outcomes, and ensure that all of our graduates are digitally savvy and responsible. We will:

  • Create new modalities of interactive learning by making use of structured online content and generating new tools to access, aggregate, and analyze unstructured data.
  • Develop “online virtual environments” that extend the student experience in time and space, to create digitally connected classrooms, discussion groups, and project settings with faculty and students at other universities, and with researchers, innovators, entrepreneurs, and policy-makers around the world.
  • Use EMPAC, linked to other campus platforms, to develop and deploy highly developed immersive environments for digitally augmented learning.
  • Expand the use of interactive assessment techniques to improve learning outcomes.

Honors Program

3.3 Participation in Research, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship
Creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurial thinking are critical to the Rensselaer ethos. To enable our students to attain their full potential within this context, it is essential that our graduates have a research experience. We will:

  • Create the opportunity for research or independent study for all undergraduate students.
  • Establish an Honors Program to recognize and nurture distinctive achievement in research.
  • Promote “Entrepreneurship Across the Curriculum” as a differentiator of a Rensselaer education.

3.4 Clustered Learning, Advocacy, and Support for Students (CLASS)
We are creating, through CLASS, a transformative, integrated living/learning approach to support our students in their social and personal growth, academic excellence, and preparation for leadership. We will:

  • Fully develop CLASS to anchor the developmental experience for all undergraduates.
  • Use CLASS as a laboratory for pedagogical innovation.
  • Integrate the Global Challenges as foundational elements of CLASS programming.
  • Embrace diversity and inclusion as fundamental tenets of CLASS.
  • Develop appropriate metrics to measure outcomes of CLASS.

CLASS provides a unique mechanism to build identity and affinity among students, and to
create lifetime connections between Rensselaer and its graduates. We will:

  • Foster:
    –Strong faculty/student mentoring relationships.
    –Enduring connections between students and alumni/ae.
  • Celebrate achievements and honor traditions.
  • Sponsor campus-wide signature events.
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The Rensselaer Plan 2024

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