University News

Int’l. survey examines U. reputation in academia

New poll expands audience to determine awareness, hopes to spread U. message

Staff Writer
Friday, March 7, 2014

The University will distribute a survey in the coming months to assess Brown’s reputation with scholars, students and others both abroad and within the United States.

The survey is meant to provide a “full and complete baseline assessment of the awareness and perceptions of Brown among various constituencies,” said Marisa Quinn, vice president for public affairs and University relations.

Though the University has previously conducted polls of Brown community members, according to the Office of Institutional Research website, the new survey will collect opinions from a wider audience by soliciting input from people outside the community, including in foreign countries.

Quinn said she hopes the survey will provide an indication of how well the University “is recognized for its distinctive approach to teaching and research,” adding that she expects a proposal for the survey’s specifics to be in place by the end of the academic year.

Though the details are currently uncertain, the University will likely hire a firm specializing in higher education survey research, Quinn said.

Results from a number of previous reputational surveys are available on the OIR website, Quinn added. These surveys present data on the opinions and perceptions of first-years, seniors, enrolled students, parents and alums.

The newest survey aims to supplement the information gained from these existing tools, Quinn said. She added that one of the main goals of the project is to get a better sense of how aware the general public is of Brown.

“We want to see if there are gaps in knowledge of Brown geographically,” Quinn said. “As we are trying to attract the most promising scholars to Brown, we want to make sure people are aware of this institution and the commitment to financial aid we have.”

In interviews, some students said there was minimal knowledge of Brown within their families, high schools and communities.

While Brown had a strong reputation among students in the high school of Nevada native Danielle Peterson ’17, her relatives, who live in the Philippines, did not know about the University, she said.

“Only a few people in my school knew about Brown. They knew about it being an Ivy League school, but nothing else,” said Yacine Sow ’16, who is from Atlanta, Ga.

But the University has a good reputation among professionals, nationally as well as internationally, said Nicolas Ledru ’16, adding that most of the physicians at a hospital he worked at in Korea knew of Brown and described it as an impressive university.

The survey results will be one of many indicators that are used over time to assess the progress of President Christina Paxson’s strategic plan, Quinn said. Administrators currently use the level of web traffic on University sites and social media platforms as criteria to assess Brown’s external reputation, she added.

Quinn said she hopes the results of the survey reflect the University’s efforts to increase awareness of Brown around the world. The University devotes resources toward sending professors to international conferences and boosting its social media presence to ensure that the “profile of Brown is advanced locally, nationally and internationally,” she said.

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  1. Jint Oxer says:

    Here are some samples: The Brown University admissions office is a walk-over for those who know how to cheat. For those less understanding, they think that it’s only a matter of finite amounts of money in order to get admitted. (And, it has happened.) There is something to be said about the Brown open curriculum, but there is more to the talk than to the reality. (Chris Paxson, you should not need a survey to get this. Sit in some classes and observe. Have you done that? Obviously not.) There is more interest around campus about discussing the 7th gender than about microbiology, or quasars, or Robert E. Lee, or the lost tribes of Brazil, or Mozart, or Andy Warhol. Brown University trustees like to collect cheaters in their midst, just as the Brown University likes to welcome new cheater blood. Lastly, whatever the rest of the world are prompted to do by the Ukraine, Brown University is prompted to “teach in”. In these teach-in’s, the more candles the better. For that matter, if a toad pisses in the pond, Brown University will do a teach-in.

    • ^Mental illness observable above.

      • nymus yasef says:

        Yep. Observe closely. Standard operating procedure by ignorant college administrators, encouraged by unethical (but highly paid) lawyers. Even if the university president wanted to do anything about this, she would not be able to. Part of her job descriptions – in fact most of her job descriptions – are to go along and to do nothing. Hope she is proud of herself.

      • johnlonergan says:

        You’re an idiot.

        • I may be an idiot. I am not a psychiatrist. I am, however, unafraid to confront responses that are so profoundly idiosyncratic that they are nearly incomprehensible to other readers.

          Past efforts to reason with this poster on this forum have been fruitless. His/her “odd” responses appear after nearly every column or report that mentions Christina Paxson.

          Perhaps a nudge toward counseling or a medical evaluation will improve Jint Oxer’s future contributions.

          • johnlonergan says:

            Are you willing to contribute your efforts to turn Brown around, and bring it from the 19th to the 21st Century, Anon? There’s more at

            Or perhaps you’d like to lob idiotic comments from an anonymous perch. In that case, find something better to do. Brown doesn’t need your snide comments–it needs root-and-branch change.

          • “Past efforts to reason with [Jint Oxer] on this forum have been fruitless.”

            John, I read your posts with interest. I agree with much of what you argue. I’m confident that alumni read your posts and that you have more supporters than it appears in ‘The Herald’ forums.

            An interesting (and cost-effective) move for Brown would be to invite you to become a member of the Corporation as a Trustee. Perhaps you could be tasked with innovation. Your credentials speak for themselves.

            Anonymity is my prerogative.

          • johnlonergan says:

            Thanks. I’m reviewing the options. At present, the best path seems to be to continue to attract like-minded students, alums, professors and administration members as change agents, and to convince the complacent at Brown of its rapid descent (and the need to take positive action).

  2. johnlonergan says:

    Admissions is like a bad date: very little information on both sides, lots of rejection. Despite the Admissions’ attempts to find a fit for Brown, 45% decide for Harvard, Stanford, etc. Why are we the second or third choice, or the backup school?

    How is Christina Paxson managing the Brown brand? We’re Kodak, not Fujifilm. We’re Blackberry, not Apple. We need to pull out of this death spiral.

    Christina, are you up to the task, or should you step aside?

  3. johnlonergan says:

    I lived in Paris for 5 years and Stuttgart for 5. No one has ever heard of Brown. If Brown is unknown in France and Germany, what are its chances of finding and teaching the next Albert Einstein, Mahatma Gandhi or Nelson Mandela?

    Does Christina Paxson think that Brown is getting the ‘best and the brightest’ from the 30,000 coming in over the transom? We’re everyone’s second, third or back-up choice.

    Stop teaching only the 1600 per year who travel to Providence, and look at the entire world!

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