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

This page gives the Boyer Report's ten suggestions for improving undergraduate education, followed by the report's specific recommendations for each point. The language is taken directly from the report, which is available online: http://notes.cc.sunysb.edu/Pres/boyer.nsf 

Basic Outline:  Ten Ways to Change Undergraduate Education

I. Make Research-Based Learning the Standard
  1. Beginning in the freshman year, students should be able to engage in research in as many courses as possible.
  2. Beginning with the freshman year, students must learn how to convey the results of their work effectively both orally and in writing.
  3. Undergraduates must explore diverse fields to complement and contrast with their major fields; the freshman and sophomore years need to open intellectual avenues that will stimulate original thought and independent effort, and reveal the relationships among sciences, social sciences, and humanities.
  4. Inquiry-based courses should allow for joint projects and collaborative efforts.
  5. Professional schools need to provide the same inquiry-based opportunities, particularly in the early years.
  6. Provision of carefully constructed internships can turn inquiry-based learning into practical experience; internship opportunities need to be widely available.
II. Construct an Inquiry-Based Freshman Year
  1. A student embarking upon a degree program at a research university should be adequately prepared to meet the intellectual challenges of that program; if remediation is necessary, it should be completed before entering the program.
  2. All first-year students should have a freshman seminar, limited in size, taught by experienced faculty, and requiring extensive writing, as a normal part of their experience.
  3. Every freshman experience needs to include opportunities for learning through collaborative efforts, such as joint projects and mutual critiques of oral and written work.
  4. The freshman program should be carefully constructed as an integrated, interdisciplinary, inquiry-based experience by designs such as:
  5. A. Combining a group of students with a combination of faculty and graduate assistants for a semester or a year of study of a single complicated subject or problem.
    B. Block scheduling students into two or three first-semester courses and integrating those courses so that the professors plan together and offer assignments together.
    C. If possible, integrating those courses with the freshman seminar, so that there is a wholeness as well as a freshness to the first year.
    D. Taking advantage of time freed by advanced placement to explore areas not studied in high school in order to encourage students to range as freely as possible before selecting a major.

III. Build on the Freshman Foundation
  1. The inquiry-based learning, collaborative efforts, and expectations for writing and speaking that are part of the freshman experience need to be carried throughout the program.
  2. Thoughtful and attentive advising and mentoring should integrate major fields with supporting courses so that programs become integrated wholes rather than collections of disparate courses.
  3. Mentorships should begin as early as possible and should be maintained, whenever possible, throughout a student's academic career.
  4. New transfer students need to be integrated into the research experience with special seminars or similar courses comparable to the freshman seminar.
IV. Remove Barriers to Interdisciplinary Education
  1. Lower division courses should introduce students tointerdisciplinary study.
  2. Academic majors must reflect students' needs rather than departmental interests or convenience.
  3. Customizing interdisciplinary majors should be not only possible but readily achievable.
V. Link Communication Skills and Course Work
  1. All student grades should reflect both mastery of content and ability to convey content. Both expectations should be made clear to students.
  2. The freshman composition course should relate to other classes taken simultaneously and be given serious intellectual content, or it should be abolished in favor of an integrated writing program in all courses. The course should emphasize explanation, analysis, and persuasion, and should develop the skills of brevity and clarity.
  3. Writing courses need to emphasize writing "down" to an audience who needs information, to prepare students directly for professional work.
  4. Courses throughout the curriculum should reinforce communication skills by routinely asking for written and oral exercises.
  5. An emphasis on writing and speaking in graduate courses will prepare teaching assistants for research,  teaching, and professional roles.
VI. Use Information Technology Creatively
  1. Faculty should be alert to the need to help students discover how to frame meaningful questions thoughtfully rather than merely seeking answers because computers can provide them. The thought processes to identify problems should be emphasized from the first year, along with the readiness to use technology to fullest advantage.
  2. Students should be challenged to evaluate the presentation of materials through technology even as they develop an increasing familiarity with technological possibilities.
  3. Faculties should be challenged to continue to create new and innovative teaching processes and materials, and they should be rewarded for significant contributions to the technological enrichment of their courses.
  4. Planning for academic units, such as block-scheduled courses for freshmen or required courses for individual majors, should include conscientious preparations for exercises that expand computer skills.
  5. Active interchange between units on campus and through professional meetings should encourage and inspire faculty to create new computer capabilities for teaching and to share ideas about effective computer-based learning
VII. Culminate with a Capstone Experience
  1. Senior seminars or other capstone courses appropriate to the discipline need to be part of every undergraduate program. Ideally the capstone course should bring together faculty member, graduate students, and senior undergraduates in shared or mutually reinforcing projects.
  2. The capstone course should prepare undergraduates for the expectations and standards of graduate work and the professional workplace.
  3. The course should be the culmination of the inquiry-based learning of earlier course work, broadening, deepening, and integrating the total experience of the major.
  4. The major project may well develop from a previous research experience or internship.
  5. Whenever possible, capstone courses need to allow for collaborative efforts among the baccalaureate students.
VIII. Educate Graduate Students as Apprentice Teachers
  1. All graduate students should have time to adapt to graduate school before entering classrooms as teachers.
  2. Graduate apprentice teachers should be assisted by one or more of the following means: seminars in teaching, thoughtful supervision from the professor assigned to the course, mentoring by experienced teachers, and regular discussions of classroom problems with other new teachers.
  3. Graduate students should be made aware of their classroom roles in promoting learning by inquiry. They should not be limited to knowing the old modes of transmission of knowledge without understanding the role of student and faculty as joint investigators.
  4. Graduate courses need particular emphasis on writing and speaking to aid teaching assistants in their preparation for teaching as well as research functions.
  5. Graduate students should be encouraged to use technology in creative ways, as they will need to do in their own careers.
  6. Compensation for all teaching assistants should reflect more adequately the time and effort expected.
  7. Graduate students should be encouraged through special rewards for outstanding teaching. Financial awards should be established for outstanding teaching assistants. The permanent faculty should make it clear through these awards and through all they do that good teaching is a primary goal of graduate education
IX. Change Faculty Reward Systems
  1. Departmental leaders should be faculty members with a demonstrated commitment to undergraduate teaching and learning as well as to traditionally defined research.
  2. The correlation between good undergraduate teaching and good research must be recognized in promotion and tenure decisions.
  3. A "culture of teaching" within departments should be cultivated to heighten the prestige of teaching and emphasize the linkages between teaching and research.
  4. Prestigious professional research meetings such as national disciplinary conferences and the Gordon Conferences should contain one or more sessions that focus on new ideas and course models for undergraduate education.
  5. Sponsors of external research grants can and should promote undergraduate participation, as the National Science Foundation has begun to do, thus facilitating the research experiences of undergraduates.
  6. Rewards for teaching excellence, for participation in interdisciplinary programs, and for outstanding mentorship need to be in the form of permanent salary increases rather than one-time awards.
  7. Teachers capable of inspiring performance in large classes should be recognized and rewarded appropriately.
  8. Committee work at all levels of university life should be greatly reduced to allow more time and effort for productive student-related efforts
X. Cultivate a Sense of Community
  1. Research universities need to cultivate a sense of place through appropriate shared rituals that are attractive to the widest possible constituencies within the student population.
  2. The enriching experience of association with people of diverse backgrounds, ethnicities, cultures, and beliefs must be a normal part of university life.
  3. Residence halls should nurture community spirit.
  4. Commuting students must be integrated into university life by making their participation easy and attractive.
  5. Collaborative study groups and project teams should be used as a means of creating customized communities for residential and commuting students.
  6. Common interests, such as that in maintaining the beauty of the campus setting or supporting charitable or service projects, should be cultivated by creating teams that build community as they work toward a shared goal.
  7. Major issues forums, multicultural arts programming, and other extracurricular sharing of ideas, opinions, and arts bring students together, particularly when groups or clubs sponsor or help sponsor the events.
  8. Campus programming, such as lectures and performing arts programs, taken as a whole, need to touch the interests of as many audiences as possible.

Link to model programs cited  by the Boyer Report