OUTLINE SUMMARY OF BOYER REPORT RECOMMENDATIONS
Reinventing Undergraduate Education: A Blueprint for America's
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
Research-Based Learning the Standard
an Inquiry-Based Freshman Year
Beginning in the freshman year, students should be able to engage in research
in as many courses as possible.
Beginning with the freshman year, students must learn how to convey the
results of their work effectively both orally and in writing.
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.
Inquiry-based courses should allow for joint projects and collaborative
Professional schools need to provide the same inquiry-based opportunities,
particularly in the early years.
Provision of carefully constructed internships can turn inquiry-based learning
into practical experience; internship opportunities need to be widely available.
III. Build on the
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
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.
Every freshman experience needs to include opportunities for learning through
collaborative efforts, such as joint projects and mutual critiques of oral
and written work.
The freshman program should be carefully constructed as an integrated,
interdisciplinary, inquiry-based experience by designs such as:
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
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.
Remove Barriers to Interdisciplinary Education
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.
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.
Mentorships should begin as early as possible and should be maintained,
whenever possible, throughout a student's academic career.
New transfer students need to be integrated into the research experience
with special seminars or similar courses comparable to the freshman seminar.
V. Link Communication
Skills and Course Work
Lower division courses should introduce students tointerdisciplinary study.
Academic majors must reflect students' needs rather than departmental interests
Customizing interdisciplinary majors should be not only possible but readily
VI. Use Information
All student grades should reflect both mastery of content and ability to
convey content. Both expectations should be made clear to students.
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.
Writing courses need to emphasize writing "down" to an audience who needs
information, to prepare students directly for professional work.
Courses throughout the curriculum should reinforce communication skills
by routinely asking for written and oral exercises.
An emphasis on writing and speaking in graduate courses will prepare teaching
assistants for research, teaching, and professional roles.
with a Capstone Experience
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.
Students should be challenged to evaluate the presentation of materials
through technology even as they develop an increasing familiarity with
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.
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.
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
Graduate Students as Apprentice Teachers
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.
The capstone course should prepare undergraduates for the expectations
and standards of graduate work and the professional workplace.
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.
The major project may well develop from a previous research experience
Whenever possible, capstone courses need to allow for collaborative efforts
among the baccalaureate students.
IX. Change Faculty Reward
All graduate students should have time to adapt to graduate school before
entering classrooms as teachers.
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.
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.
Graduate courses need particular emphasis on writing and speaking to aid
teaching assistants in their preparation for teaching as well as research
Graduate students should be encouraged to use technology in creative ways,
as they will need to do in their own careers.
Compensation for all teaching assistants should reflect more adequately
the time and effort expected.
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
X. Cultivate a Sense
Departmental leaders should be faculty members with a demonstrated commitment
to undergraduate teaching and learning as well as to traditionally defined
The correlation between good undergraduate teaching and good research must
be recognized in promotion and tenure decisions.
A "culture of teaching" within departments should be cultivated to heighten
the prestige of teaching and emphasize the linkages between teaching and
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.
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.
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.
Teachers capable of inspiring performance in large classes should be recognized
and rewarded appropriately.
Committee work at all levels of university life should be greatly reduced
to allow more time and effort for productive student-related efforts
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.
The enriching experience of association with people of diverse backgrounds,
ethnicities, cultures, and beliefs must be a normal part of university
Residence halls should nurture community spirit.
Commuting students must be integrated into university life by making their
participation easy and attractive.
Collaborative study groups and project teams should be used as a means
of creating customized communities for residential and commuting students.
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.
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.
Campus programming, such as lectures and performing arts programs, taken
as a whole, need to touch the interests of as many audiences as possible.
to model programs cited by the Boyer Report