Last week I promised to give you an update on the progress we’ve made over the past year on some goals that I outlined during the 2012 Faculty Convocation. Here’s where we stand:
• As you know, we seek to create the premier undergraduate experience in Chicago that is characterized by the pillars of the Core Curriculum, Engaged Learning, and a commitment to the holistic development of students. We emerged from the first year of the revised Core Curriculum with students completing foundational courses in key knowledge areas, generally taught by full-time faculty. In fact, the College of Arts and Sciences achieved a record with over 70% of Core and introductory major courses being taught by full-time faculty. Every Core science student completes a foundational course rooted in environmental science and every student takes an interdisciplinary foundational course on globalization in societal and cultural knowledge. These enhancements to the Core are creating a more coherent and developmental approach to learning for our undergraduates and fulfilling the twin emphases on sustainability and internationalization in the curriculum.
• Also, we saw successful implementation of the new requirement for engaged learning in which Core and the major intersect for application outside of the classroom. Each academic program has developed capstone experiences, as well as more courses for academic internships, undergraduate research, fine and performing arts performances, and study abroad, that are contributing to an engaged form of learning. These new learning opportunities for our students were developed by the faculty and reflect your continuing commitment to the deep engagement that students seek to have with their instructors. I’m proud of your efforts.
• Our positioning as a university leader on sustainability in education and life has progressed significantly with the opening of the new Institute of Environmental Sustainability (IES) in spectacular facilities. With the successful launch we will continue our drive to establish academic programs and to host conferences on critical issues that will make Loyola’s IES the leading school promoting social justice through sustainable learning and living.
• The internationalization of the curriculum and student learning opportunities have been enhanced with the enrollment of more international students, recruitment of more international scholars, international conferences on our campus—such as that on Ethics in the Digital Age—and new partnerships like the one with Loyola University Andalucía in Spain. Our expanding presence in international education continues at a brisk pace. Along with the successful launch of the Chicago Center, which is our program of study for international students, we opened our first International House, a living-learning community for about 80 foreign students here for a semester in Chicago. And the growing popularity of the Rome Start program—in which freshmen conduct their first year of study at the John Felice Rome Center and then complete their degrees in Chicago—inspires us to offer a similar program at our Vietnam Center in Ho Chi Minh City. And we were successful in attracting a large number of our faculty to participate in the study abroad professional development program that is designed to have more faculty prepared to lead programs of study in international settings.
• Faculty research remains a strong component of our international reputation. In addition to faculty publication of significant books and peer reviewed journal articles, as well as presentations at literally hundreds of research conferences, for the second year in a row the number of faculty grant submissions, dollars requested, and awards granted increased in FY 2013. These resulted in over $13 million in grants to Lakeside faculty; and with federal grant dollars decreasing nation-wide, our faculty received 48% of funding from private sources, the highest in five years.
Next week, I’ll discuss some of the academic initiatives currently underway.