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President's Task Force on Undergraduate Education

President's Task Force on Undergraduate Education

October 18, 2006

Dear fellow member of the Columbia community,

Columbia has some of the finest undergraduate programs in the world. The educational experience we provide students is properly noted for many things, most especially the Core Curriculum and the dedication of our faculty to teaching undergraduates. Every decade or so, we must reflect on what we are doing well and consider opportunities for improvement of this essential part of our intellectual community. It is for this reason that I write to inform you of the Task Force for Undergraduate Education that will be convening throughout this academic year.

The task force will review a number of broad aspects of our undergraduate education, including how well our curriculum serves the rapidly changing needs of an increasingly globalized world -- a world that will require precisely the combination of highly specialized knowledge and broad general learning to which Columbia has long been committed. We will also explore the balance of general education and disciplinary specialization, interdisciplinary learning, and ways we can continue to take advantage of our location in New York City.

Task force members are representative of our undergraduate community. In our early meetings, we will identify ways in which students, alumni, and other members of the Columbia community can be involved. I am eager for all of us to learn from the collective expertise and experience that this task force brings to our work together. I look forward to sharing with you our progress and ways we can continue to excel in undergraduate education.

Sincerely,

Lee C. Bollinger

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Members:

Alfred V. Aho
The Lawrence Gussman Professor of Computer Science

Paul J. Anderer
Vice Provost for International Relations and the Theodore and Fanny de Bary and Class of 1941 Collegiate Professor of Asian Humanities

Peter Awn
Dean of the School of General Studies and Professor of Religion

Elizabeth Boylan
Provost and Dean of the Faculty of Barnard College

Alan Brinkley
Provost of Columbia University and the Allan Nevins Professor of American History

Andrew Delbanco
The Julian Clarence Levi Professor in the Humanities

George Deodatis
Professor of Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics

Nicholas B. Dirks
Vice President for Arts and Sciences and Dean of the Faculty and the Franz Boas Professor of Anthropology and History

Geraldine Downey
Chair and Professor of Psychology

Stuart J. Firestein
Professor of Biological Sciences

Morton B. Friedman
Vice Dean of the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science and Professor of Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics

Robert D. Friedman
Professor of Mathematics

Zvi Galil
Dean of the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science and the Morris A. and Alma Schapiro Professor and the Julian Clarence Levi Professor of Mathematical Methods and Computer Science

Steven Gregory
Director of the Institute for Research in African-American Studies and Professor of Anthropology

Patricia E. Grieve
The Nancy and Jeffrey Marcus Professor of the Humanities and Chair of Literature Humanities

Robert E. Harrist
The Jane and Leopold Swergold Professor of Chinese Art History

Jean E. Howard
Vice Provost for Diversity Initiatives and the William B. Ransford Professor of English

Martha C. Howell
The Miriam Champion Professor of History

Ira Katznelson
The Ruggles Professor of Political Science and History

Andrew F. Laine
Vice Chair and Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Professor of Radiology

George E. Lewis
The Edwin H. Case Professor of Music

Claudio W. Lomnitz
Director of the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race and Professor of Anthropology

Ann E. McDermott
Associate Vice President for Science Initiatives and Professor of Chemistry

Christia Mercer
The Gustave M. Berne Professor in the Core Curriculum at Columbia College

Andrew J. Millis
Chair and Professor of the Department of Physics

Vijay Modi
Professor of Mechanical Engineering

Shahid Naeem
Chair and Professor of Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology

Susan G. Pedersen
Professor of History

Sheldon Pollock
The William B. Ransford Professor of Sanskrit and Indian Studies and Chair of the Department of Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures

Austin E. Quigley
Dean of Columbia College and the Lucy G. Moses Professor and the Brander Matthews Professor of Dramatic Literature

Elaine Sisman
The Anne Parsons Bender Professor of Music