Exceptional undergraduate and graduate education2023-11-13T19:49:23+00:00

Exceptional undergraduate and graduate education

We will reimagine undergraduate and graduate education to continue enhancing and enriching the student experience.

At our core, we are a teaching and research university and have a long history of providing exceptional and innovative undergraduate and graduate education. Driven by our Meliora values, we are always striving to make our academic programs, student experiences, and campus community ever better. Students and their families choose the University of Rochester because they have an expectation that we will prepare them to face challenges that will be different and more uncertain than those faced by previous generations. Our society needs institutions that position their graduates to live and work with diverse people with different life experiences and perspectives, rapidly adapt to changing communities and work environments, and possess an ability to continuously learn and grow.

We will continue to evolve and enhance the student experience so that we develop leaders, citizens of the world, and learners who live our Meliora values, positively impacting the world once they leave the University. We face a rapidly changing future of education, society, and vocation that demands adaptable, nimble leaders. We are committed to ensuring that our graduates are prepared to thrive and lead.

Achievement of this goal

  • Position the University as a premiere residential undergraduate destination of choice for college-bound individuals.
  • Ensure that all students have at least two high-impact experiential learning experiences to develop meaningful and practical competencies. These experiences can include research, internships, mentorships, and community-engaged learning.
  • Increase scholarship support for undergraduate students from 7 percent to 20 percent from endowed funds; further financial support for graduate students to compete with top research universities.
  • Optimize a 12-month calendar for learning and cocurricular experiences.
  • Increase and improve residential housing options.
  • Enhance student life experience of students through reorganization, new initiatives, and integrated opportunities to learn and thrive.
  • Increase accessibility for historically minoritized groups and members of the Rochester community.
  • Ensure all students feel a sense of belonging and are empowered to pursue their unique academic interests.

Strategic objectives

Reimagine undergraduate and graduate education at our research-intensive institution to continue enhancing and enriching the student experience so that we can develop leaders, citizens of the world, and learners who embody our Meliora values.

Now more than ever, it is imperative that the University positions itself as a destination of choice. We will ensure that our student experience is distinct and desirable, and that all students feel a sense of belonging, understand how the University will unlock and catalyze their individual strengths and assets, and know that they will have personalized academic experiences. We are also a global university, and the experience we provide and the community we seek to create should naturally lend themselves to integration with other pressing global themes such as sustainability of the earth and humanity as well as social justice and equity, both globally and locally.

The student experience will not only support academic success but will allow students to explore, develop, and have access to enriching opportunities and support services so they develop a strong sense of self and become leaders who will change the world. We will place unparalleled emphasis on supporting every aspect of student life, from social and cultural opportunities to belonging and well-being to athletics.

The University is committed to furthering the diversity of our student body, enabling greater access to quality higher education, fostering a just and inclusive environment and sense of belonging, and ensuring success for all our students. We know much effort is required before we can realize our vision of a fully welcoming, successful, and diverse community. We will, therefore, redesign academic programs and student success services with all students in mind, increase pathways for students from the city of Rochester to learn at the University, and conduct regular campus climate assessments to ensure students feel supported and set up for success. We must also continue to address barriers that impact student learning and community building, whether they are interpersonal, financial, structural, or environmental.

Experiential learning is a critical aspect of higher education today. This type of learning, which includes research, internships, community-engaged learning, education abroad, entrepreneurship, practicums, fellowships, and student employment, has been proven to positively impact student retention, sense of belonging, and postgraduate outcomes and success. We have many programs—especially graduate and professional—that already incorporate experiential learning, and we have an opportunity to scale these efforts.

Creating new programs and partnerships will expand the options and futures our students can explore, and we will ensure that students, regardless of discipline or interests, can fully engage in this form of learning. The competencies that they will develop in combination with their classroom learning will prepare them to analyze complex global problems and interdependencies while gaining a deeper understanding of the interpersonal and intercultural fluency necessary for the future of work and society.

We seek to intentionally build and strengthen graduate and professional program talent pathways that will enhance our University’s diversity today, cultivate diverse faculty and industry pipelines for the future, and further our academic goals. Strengthening our existing graduate and professional programs allows us to examine and investigate new programs for development, creating new opportunities to showcase our areas of research and scholarly distinction—as well as our areas of distinction in developing the professional workforce—and enhance our global reputation.

In addition, building more cohesion between our undergraduate and graduate programs—such as new combined undergraduate/graduate programs and making the most of our “Take 5” and “E5” programming—offers opportunities for continuous learning as students build upon their undergraduate degrees or use them to launch new paths for their careers.

The pandemic has amplified the need for multiple educational modalities for students. We are committed to the best possible in-person learning experiences while simultaneously offering innovative learning solutions and timelines. This may take the form of hybrid learning options, reimagining the academic calendar, offering additional summer programming in Rochester, expanding our concepts of global learning, and increasing flexibility in our curricula.

Measures of success

Definitions of measures of success will be coordinated across the University to create consistency and increase transparency. Detailed metrics for each of the following areas will be available via dashboards and updates on our Progress page at the end of our first year.

Data will be presented as aggregate student data and subgroup data by identity (first-generation, historically minoritized groups) or academic profile (class year, degree, program). Future reports will evolve from baseline data to include future targets, peer benchmarks, and national trends.

  • Incoming student talent
  • Student experience and satisfaction
  • Outcomes

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