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Faculty members voted unanimously at Tuesday's faculty meeting to establish an executive master's degree program in health care leadership. The proposal, which passed with little debate, will be voted on by the Corporation in May, The Herald reported last month. 

Faculty members also heard updates on negotiations with the city, the presidential transition, the School of Engineering and the University's compliance with federal guidelines for recruiting minority employees. 

President Ruth Simmons reported that she hopes to finish negotiations with the city before the end of the year. "I think we are getting closer," she said.

Simmons also said she is satisfied with the ongoing presidential transition. Simmons and President-elect Christina Paxson are conferring on decisions that span both terms. "I am pushing more and more in her direction," she said of the process of shifting responsibility to the incoming president.

The executive master's degree program was first discussed 18 months ago with former Provost David Kertzer '69 P'95 P'98, who partnered with the Office of Continuing Education to develop a model of executive education specific to Brown, said Rod Beresford, associate provost and professor of engineering. Since the program was proposed, it has been the subject of discussion at several faculty forums and meetings. If approved by the Corporation, the master's program will teach mid-career professionals about the ongoing changes in the American health care system.

The motion for the executive master's program was presented by Beresford, who emphasized the program's potential for increasing revenue - a key component of the Plan for Academic Enrichment, he said. 

The program will go up for an external review after three years, since it is unlike any other program currently offered at Brown, Beresford said. "This is an experiment for Brown," he said. "We should move forward in that spirit." 

The original proposal said the review would be conducted internally, but after a motion from the Faculty Executive Committee, the review will be conducted by an external group instead, said Peter Shank, chair of the FEC and professor of medical science. 

After consulting with many committees, including the Department of Public Health, the Academic Priorities Committee, the Graduate Council and various campus committees, the provost's office has set a curriculum and selected instructors from the current undergraduate and clinical faculty pool and newly hired adjuncts, Beresford said. 

The initial class will have a target size of 15 students and will aim to double that size after three years, the motion reported. In the first year, the University hopes to break even with the initial investment and then increase revenue in the following years, Beresford said. 

The name of the program is distinct from other University programs and from similar programs at peer institutions, Beresford said. The program has the designation as executive master's to distinguish the degree from regular master's degrees, he said. 

By adding executive to the name, the University has designated the program a learning format for professionals who will simultaneously be engaged in pursuits outside the academic sphere, Beresford said. The program aims to build leadership, which is different from other programs in public health, he said. 

A faculty member raised questions about comparisons to other similar programs of executive master's education at peer institutions. The proposed program at Brown will have both online and residential components, like similar programs at Dartmouth, he said, adding that the University's program will have a heavier emphasis on online learning so that professionals can maintain their careers in major cities. Seventy percent of each course in the proposed executive master's program will be taught from online learning modules, the motion reported. 

The proposed program does not yet have a set tuition, Beresford said. The Corporation will make a recommendation for tuition for the program, the revenue from which will fund existing departments on campus, particularly those supporting the executive master's program, according to the motion.

After several questions but without much debate, faculty members voted unanimously to approve the program. The approval came after faculty members largely expressed either indecision or support of the program, The Herald reported in March.

Faculty members also heard an update on the School of Engineering from Lawrence Larson, dean of the school, who reported on the growth of the school since its approval two years ago and the goals for its future.

Since 2010, the school has focused on developing an improved undergraduate curriculum, growing graduate programs, expanding the faculty and fundraising to raise revenue for new engineering facilities, Larson said. 

Applications to the school have increased due to national trends and as "a reflection of the quality and esteem our program is held in," he said. For current students, the School of Engineering has focused on making introductory courses more engaging and working heavily with concentrators at both the beginning and final stages of their academic careers, Larson said. 

The University has a higher retention rate of concentrators from freshmen to upperclassmen than the national average, he said, adding that the national average retention rate is around 50 percent, while Brown has a rate of 60 percent.

Larson added that the school is also a leader in bringing women and minorities into the student and faculty community of engineers. Around 40 percent of engineering students are women and around 10 percent are underrepresented minorities, he said, adding that both rates are above the national averages.

The School of Engineering is increasing both its graduate students and faculty, Larson said, adding that the planned additions have created another goal of expanding spaces for learning and working. 

Larson said the School of Engineering is thinking about the "best way to educate" future engineers. The school hopes to broadly educate students, while giving them an opportunity to specialize deeply, he said. In the future, the school hopes to have a curriculum that can engage the entire community, giving non-engineers the chance to take courses in the department, he said.

Dean of the Faculty Kevin McLaughlin n data-scayt_word="P'12" data-scaytid="20">P'12 reported the issues with the lack of compliance on minority reporting in faculty recruitment. The Office of the Dean of the Faculty has incorporated an online method for candidates to report in the recruiting process, and data will go straight to the Office of Institutional Diversity, he said, rather than going through a third party. 

Faculty members heard updated reports on the state of campus safety efforts in light of the recent surge in crime on campus. Paul Shanley, deputy chief and executive officer of the Department of Public Safety, said the most important aspect of recent efforts is the many partnerships with the Providence Police and offices on campus. "We want to be prepared," he said, adding that these partnerships help to make all members of the community more aware. 

Shank said he has been meeting with faculty members to consider the issue of promotion from associate professor to full professor, which was raised after recent debates of promotion to tenured professor. The rules for promotion to full professor "need to be codified and quantified," Shank said, adding that though departments have set criteria, the faculty rules need to include specific procedures for the promotion process. The lack of definite process "is a glaring deficit in our rules," he said.

Memorial minutes were presented for Robert Accola, professor emeritus of mathematics.


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