Reinventing Undergraduate Education: A Blueprint for America's Research Universities
 by the Carnegie Foundation's Boyer Commission

This page quotes the Boyer report's examples of  undergraduate education innovations. The language is taken directly from the full version of the report, which is available online:

Carnegie-Mellon University
The Eberly Center at Carnegie-Mellon University, founded in 1982, conducts programs to provide faculty and teaching assistants with an understanding of the learning process and varied teaching strategies, and offers opportunities for feedback on course design and implementation. Programs emphasize theory, modeling, practice, and feedback and draw on cognitive science research; for example, cross-disciplinary studies of expert-novice differences help faculty understand the difficulties that students new to a subject might have in setting up problems, transferring knowledge to new settings, and interpreting complex patterns.

Duke University
First-semester Freshmen at Duke University may enroll in one of about 14 interdisciplinary, thematically-designed programs, in which they take two Focus seminars, a writing course, and a non-Focus elective. Enrollment in each is limited to 30; students in a program live together in a residence hall and meet weekly for dinner.

University of Utah
Entering freshmen at the University of Utah enroll in a year-long seminar led by one instructor and in quarterly Liberal Education Accelerated Program (LEAP) courses linked to the themes of the seminars. Some of these courses meet graduation requirements and some meet core or distribution requirements. LEAP students also enroll in a first-quarter study and computer skills course. Current and past LEAP students are members of the LEAP club, which provides organized social and academic activities such as study groups and guest speakers.

Stanford University
At Stanford University, sophomores who choose to enroll in a Sophomore College program are housed together in student residences and enroll in small-group classes of approximately 10, led by one professor and two upper-class students. Participants earn 1 or 2 academic credits; examples of topics include "Constitutionalism," "Comparative American Urban Cultures," and "The Process of Discovery in Psychology." Workshops in use of university libraries, research opportunities, and academic decision-making are held.

University of Iowa
Graduate instructors for required basic courses in reading, writing, speaking, and research are recruited not only from the English and Communication departments at the University of Iowa, but also from other humanities and social science departments such as African-American World Studies, Classics, History, and Philosophy. New teachers are provided with background material in the summer before they begin teaching, attend a 3-day intensive workshop before classes begin, and attend a weekly teaching colloquium, required for new faculty as well, during the fall semester. All graduate instructors are paired with faculty teaching advisors, with whom they share drafts of teaching materials and assignments and review students' progress. The department also assists the instructors in preparing a teaching portfolio.

Syracuse University
The Future Professoriate Project at Syracuse University, funded by Pew Charitable Trusts, helps develop the teaching abilities of graduate students. Faculty Teaching Mentors lead seminars on effective teaching and serve as advisors; Teaching Associateships provide advanced teaching assistants opportunities to teach classes on their own and to receive a Certificate in University Teaching, awarded by the Graduate School to Teaching Associates who compile a teaching portfolio, which includes observation results as well as examples of syllabi, assignments, and examinations.

Syracuse University has also undertaken a program to redress a perceived overemphasis on research at the expense of teaching. The program has included conferences to enlist administrative support for change and a redefinition of "research and scholarship" by each division to include "the scholarship of teaching." A chancellor's fund was established to support the necessary changes, and a faculty grant program was created to reward teaching excellence and to provide funds for innovations.

University of Virginia
At the University of Virginia, a Teaching Resource Center was created in 1990, funded primarily by reallocation. It offers evaluation, including videotaped critiques, and teaching improvement workshops, especially for teaching assistants and junior faculty. It also offers graduate courses on effective teaching strategies for special subjects. Outstanding Teaching Awards, five awards of $2,000 each, have been given annually since 1990-91
University of South Carolina
The Integrated Undergraduate-Faculty Development Program at the University of South Carolina includes funding for sending professors to conferences on pedagogy and for supporting curricular innovation; a mentoring program funded by a Lilly Foundation grant assists untenured junior faculty members by pairing them with experienced senior faculty.

Back to the  Boyer Report Summary