Brown University

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Brown University Details

  • Country : United States of America
  • City : Providence
  • Acronym : BU
  • Founded : 1764
  • Students (approx.) : 10000
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Overview


Brown University is a private institution that was founded in 1764.

Tuition fees and Brown University are $50,000 (Aprox.).

Located atop College Hill in Providence, R.I., Brown University has a college-town feel with Thayer Street serving as a center of activity for shopping and dining. The Brown Bears have about 35 NCAA Division I athletic teams and compete in the Ivy League. The Bears are well known for their men’s soccer team, which consistently ranks among the top 25 teams in the nation. All students at Brown are required to live on campus for their first six semesters, and housing options include traditional singles, doubles and suites. With around 400 student organizations on campus ranging from The Brown Jug comedy magazine to Brown Ballroom Dance, students can find a way to pursue their interests. Brown also has a small but vibrant Greek community with approximately 10 chapters, including a few co-ed Greek organizations.

Brown offers a number of a graduate studies through its Graduate School, which offers well-regarded programs inEnglish and history, and the highly ranked Warren Alpert Medical School. The center section of the Van Wickle Gates on Brown’s campus opens only twice a year: once to let incoming students onto campus and once to let recent graduates exit after commencement. Brown hosts an annual celebratory “Spring Weekend” with athletic events, concerts and free food. Notable alumni include John D. Rockefeller Jr., John F. Kennedy Jr. and CNN founder and media mogul Ted Turner.

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History


In 1850, Brown President Francis Wayland wrote: “The various courses should be so arranged that, insofar as practicable, every student might study what he chose, all that he chose, and nothing but what he chose.”Adopted in 1969, the New Curriculum is a milestone in the University’s history and is seen as the realization of Wayland’s vision.

The curriculum was the result of a paper written by Ira Magaziner and Elliot Maxwell titled “Draft of a Working Paper for Education at Brown University.”The paper came out of a year-long Group Independent Study Project (GISP) involving 80 students and 15 professors. The GISP was inspired by student-initiated experimental schools, especially San Francisco State College, and sought ways to “put students at the center of their education” and “teach students how to think rather than just teaching facts.”

The paper made concrete proposals for the new curriculum, including interdisciplinary freshman-year courses that would introduce “modes of thought,” with instruction from faculty brought together from different disciplines. The aim was to transform the traditional survey course—often experienced passively by first-year students—into a more engaging process, an investigation of the intellectual and philosophical connections between disciplines. A grading option of Satisfactory/No Credit would be introduced to encourage students to try courses outside their grade-point comfort zone. In practice, this grading innovation of the New Curriculum—sometimes misunderstood and mischaracterized—has been its most successful component, responsible, in the decades since its adoption, for uncounted career-changing decisions—studio art swapped for neuroscience, biology swapped for anthropology, mathematics swapped for playwriting (and Pulitzer Prizes).

In the spring of 1969, following student rallies in support of reform, University president Ray Heffner appointed the Special Committee on Curricular Philosophy, tasked with developing specific reforms. The resulting report, called the Maeder Report after its committee chair, was presented to the faculty, which voted the New Curriculum into existence on May 7, 1969. Its key features included:

  • Modes of Thought courses for first-year students
  • The introduction of interdisciplinary courses
  • The abandonment of “general education” distribution requirements
  • The Satisfactory/No Credit grading option
  • The ABC/No Credit grading system, which eliminated pluses, minuses, and D’s; a grade of “No Credit” would not appear on external transcripts.

The Modes of Thought course, a key component in the original conception of the New Curriculum, was early on discontinued, but all of the other elements are still in place. In 2006 the reintroduction of plus/minus grading was broached by persons concerned about grade inflation. After a canvassing of alumni, faculty, and students, including the original authors of the Magaziner-Maxwell Report, the idea was rejected by the College Curriculum Council.


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