According to email correspondence provided by the Department of Mathematics, President Laura Sparks is “confident” that Dean Richard Stock’s directive to reduce contact hours in some required math classes achieves the “best for The Cooper Union and our students.”
The mathematics department feels that the “policy change will unavoidably lead to a diminution of the depth and breadth of our students’ mathematical preparation, thereby jeopardizing their readiness to excel in the sciences and engineering.”
By Matthew Grattan (BSE ’19), Olivia Heuiyoung Park (ME ‘20), and Jeremiah V. Pratt (EE ’19)
On Jan. 30, the chairs of chemistry, physics, and math received separate emails from the Dean’s office informing them of a massive change in the structure of their classes: Beginning next semester, all classes must reduce the number of contact hours to match the credits offered.
The idea of reducing contact hours to match the number of credits in some classes was discussed almost a year ago at an engineering faculty meeting. However, the engineering faculty heard little else of the topic until the Dean’s office sent out the directives.
There have been several discussions and proposed changes in the Engineering School lately, including the question of whether or not plus and minus grades (e.g. A-, B+, C+) should be accessible for professors to use at their discretion.
Following the FEC plan to return to a full-tuition scholarship model, the Financial Monitor’s second annual report, released in February of 2018, evaluated the viability of returning to a full-tuition scholarship model within 10 years. The final consensus reached by Kroll Associates, Inc. is that the plan, though aggressive, is responsible.
The plan hopes to raise the average annual scholarship level of 76% to 100% by the 2029 fiscal year.
On January 15, 2018, the Free Education Committee of the Cooper Union, or FEC, released a comprehensive plan that proposed a method to return the Cooper Union to a full-tuition scholarship model by 2029. The plan estimates a much closer deadline than the previous estimate of 2039 from the January 2017 Progress Report. The plan is described as “multi-pronged,” requiring a focus on fundraising and expense management. Through small increments over the next ten years, the plan hopes to raise the average annual scholarship level of 76% to 100% by the 2029 fiscal year.
An overview of the Board of Trustees Meeting from June 21, 2017 describes an initiative of President Laura Sparks to improve diversity at the Cooper Union. The “Diversity Task Force” is fully endorsed by the Board of Trustees and is expected to launch soon. According to the minutes from this meeting, “the committee will look to external resources to employ best practices and break new ground in this area at Cooper”. Cooper Union has always held diversity in its highest regard, allowing women to enroll in courses in an era when that was uncommon, allowing even those of limited means to benefit from the school’s resources.