The faculty approved a resolution endorsing the creation of a School of Engineering from the existing Division of Engineering at its meeting Tuesday.
Following the faculty's recommendation, the proposal will now be considered by the Corporation at its May meeting. If the University's highest governing body approves, Brown will become the last Ivy League university to create an engineering school.
"We're very happy for the strong faculty support of the motion to establish the School of Engineering," said Professor of Engineering Rodney Clifton, who is also the interim dean of engineering.
The measure approved by the faculty maintains the current system of admitting undergraduate and graduate engineering students and preserves undergraduates' ability to opt in or out of an engineering concentration during their time at Brown.
The resolution also stipulates the hiring of a new dean of engineering, who would be charged with increasing "diversity among engineering faculty and students" and working to promote interdepartmental engagement with regard to engineering research and other activities.
The school's expansion through faculty hiring and new construction will be contingent on fundraising through "increased philanthropy, increased sponsored research support and revenue-enhancing programs." Such programs might include offering expanded master's degree programs, said Provost David Kertzer '69 P'95 P'98.
Some members of the faculty expressed concern that the new School of Engineering might crowd out resources for other departments. Professor of Physics David Cutts proposed that the faculty instead vote to support the "co-evolution" of engineering and the physical sciences. But the motion failed to attract broad support.
The faculty also considered discontinuing Brown's four-year degree programs that allow students to earn both an undergraduate and a master's degree provided they obtain additional credits and fulfill departmental requirements.
Dean of the Graduate School Sheila Bonde said that these integrated degree programs lack "sufficient breadth" to comply with the spirit of the New Curriculum. Bonde instead suggested directing interested students toward a "more robust option" that would entail completing the standard five-year master's degree.
Faculty members contended that the elimination of integrated degree programs would hamper efforts to recruit ambitious and talented students and that abolishing the program would have a limited effect given the small number of students who have chosen to take advantage of the option. The motion was withdrawn because of procedural issues with the motion and a lack of outspoken support.
In a report to the faculty, President Ruth Simmons expressed concern over Rhode Island's recent flooding and stressed her desire to "do what we can to help." Simmons said she had contacted Gov. Donald Carcieri '65 and offered the University's aid in recovery efforts.
Simmons also tried to allay concerns about possible expansion of the University's student body. There needs to be careful planning with regard to "the needed balance between graduate and undergraduate life," Simmons said. She addressed the University's need to add students at the graduate level, but said that the conception of Brown as an "intimate, undergraduate-centered" institution could be preserved.
Simmons also discussed her recent trip to India, where she attended a meeting of Brown's new India Advisory Council, met with alumni and India's minister of education and worked to develop a strategy for promoting Brown in "an important part of the world." She shared her impression that India was eager to avail its most talented scholars of educational opportunities at American universities, adding that Brown would continue to seek talented students and faculty from India.
"I was extraordinarily moved by what is taking place in India today," Simmons said.