Report of the Senate Academic Standards, Regulations, and Admissions Committee on Faculty Role in Undergraduate Admissions and Recruitment
April 22, 2005

Charge (S-0314): Review the current practices for faculty involvement in both recruiting and admitting undergraduate students to Rutgers University. Determine whether faculty and faculty admissions committees are active participants in the process, whether University Regulations are being met, and whether the role of faculty should be expanded.  (Documents regarding faculty role in admissions include: Senate Resolution A-8420; University Regulations, Section 2.12; Motion passed by the Livingston Fellows on June 8, 2000; NBFC recommendation of April 26, 2002).

     Successful undergraduate admissions and recruitment efforts are vital to Rutgers. The excellence of our students strengthens the quality of our academic programs, increases the attractiveness of the University to prospective students and faculty, and enhances our reputation in the region and nation.  Our admissions policies must effectively provide access to qualified students of all social and economic backgrounds and insure that we enroll a diverse body of students who can most benefit from education at a major public research university.  

    Over the past decade, the operation of the Office of Undergraduate Admissions has improved dramatically in professionalism, efficiency, responsiveness, and effectiveness.  To cite just a few examples, the Office has: (1) produced an impressive array of high-quality recruitment materials; (2) developed a state-of-the-art admissions website that allows prospective students to apply on line and easily track the status of their applications; (3) markedly decreased turn-around time in processing applications; and (4) greatly improved relations with New Jersey guidance counselors.

    During this same period, however, the role of faculty in making admissions decisions and setting admissions policies has sharply decreased.  It is quite understandable that as the number of applications has grown, faculty have become less involved in individual admissions decisions.  On the other hand, the decline in faculty involvement in setting the policies that guide those admissions decisions is disturbing. The Committee believes that greater faculty involvement in recruiting students and formulating the policies for admitting students would add to our success in attracting an outstanding undergraduate student body.  In the remainder of this report, we examine the current role of faculty in admissions and recruitment, compare current practices with University Regulations, and make recommendations for increased faculty participation in admissions and recruitment, particularly at the policy-making level.  

Current Practices

    A number of faculty voluntarily participate in recruiting undergraduates by giving talks on their research at high schools, participating in on-campus recruiting events, and/or contacting admitted students to urge them to attend Rutgers.  There is, however, no general expectation that participation in undergraduate recruitment is part of faculty responsibilities.

    Involvement of faculty in the selection of students to be admitted varies widely across colleges and schools. Mason Gross faculty members are actively involved in the selection of all admitted students via auditions or portfolio review.  The faculty and staff of the Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy recently began to interview applicants for admission as transfer students, in compliance with the requirements of their accrediting agency. In the School of Business, Newark and New Brunswick, a faculty and staff admissions committee selects the students to be admitted as juniors from the liberal arts colleges. More commonly, however, faculty members play no role in admissions decisions, even for borderline applicants, although they may be actively involved in the recruitment of honors students.

    There is also some variation across colleges and schools in the role faculty play in setting admissions policies and standards. In a number of professional schools, faculty members are involved in setting profession-related admissions requirements.  In the Faculty of Arts and Sciences-Camden, a faculty admissions committee meets with a member of the Admissions Staff twice a year to discuss the quality of the entering class and future enrollment objectives in the fall and to get an update on the current admissions cycle in the spring.   In most schools and colleges, however, the faculty plays no substantive role in determining admissions policies and guidelines, setting admissions standards and enrollment goals, or evaluating the performance of the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.  Moreover, in a number of cases, much the same can be said about the role of the dean of the college or school in setting admissions policies.

University Regulations

    The current state of affairs violates University Regulations, which address the role of faculty in undergraduate admissions in several places:

1.    University Regulation 2.1.2 B(1) states: “There shall be an Admissions Committee in each undergraduate college, whose members shall be members of the legislative body of the college, including the Dean of the college as an ex-officio member. The responsibilities of the Admissions Committee shall be:
a.    To recommend to the legislative body of the college specific policies governing the admission of students to the college, within the guidelines of the Rutgers University Undergraduate Admissions Policy;
b.    To establish specific college policies and admissions standards, with the consent of the legislative body of the college, in order to guide the Admissions Office in making decisions about admissions, to delegate to the Admissions Office responsibility for making such decisions, and to assist the Admissions Office in reviewing individual applications when the college policies do not result in a clear decision. Final responsibility for admissions decisions rests with the college Admissions Committee;
c.    To make recommendations about and to review annually the content of communications from the University to the secondary schools, as well as to two-year community colleges from which students may transfer to units of the University, so that these communications reflect the college's mission and convey its admissions policies to prospective students;
d.    To review periodically the college admissions policies, and, in particular, to review the indicators used in the admissions process and the weights given to these indicators;
 e.    To report annually to the legislative body of the college on the extent to which admissions practices reflect the college's admissions policies
 f.    To recommend to the legislative body of the college admissions policies which encourage prospective students to take the more difficult and challenging courses that their high schools offer;
g.    To determine what sanctions are to be applied, and under what circumstances, to already admitted students whose grades in the senior year of high school show a marked decline, or who drop senior year courses.”

2.    University Regulation 2.1.2 B(2) states:  “There shall be a Rutgers University Admissions Committee whose membership will include the chairs of the college Admissions Committees and representatives of the Provosts' offices, Senate, the Faculties of Arts and Sciences, the Undergraduate Admissions Office, and the Administration. The chair of the committee will be elected by the members from among those who are members of legislative bodies. This committee will have the following functions:
a.    To review regularly the Rutgers University Undergraduate Admission Policy and the implementation of that policy by the college Admissions Committees and the Undergraduate Admissions Office;
b.    To discuss the efficacy of the University's admissions policy and practices;
c.    To make recommendations to the University Senate concerning changes in the Rutgers University Undergraduate Admissions Policy;
d.    To make recommendations about and to review annually the content of communications from the University to the secondary schools, as well as to two-year community colleges from which students may transfer to units of the University, so that these communications reflect the University's mission and convey its admissions policies to prospective students;
e.    To interpret and provide guidelines for implementation of the Rutgers University Undergraduate Admissions Policy;
f.    To provide guidance concerning criteria for admission;
g.    To discuss and resolve those issues concerning admissions which pertain to all undergraduate colleges, which cross collegiate lines, and which involve the colleges and the Undergraduate Admissions office.”

3.    University Regulation 2.2.2 A gives to the University Senate the power to “establish minimum standards respecting admission, scholarship and honors.” As an adjunct to University Regulations, the standing charge to this Committee (ASRAC) states: “This Committee shall have primary responsibility for matters directly related to academic standards, regulations and admissions, including but not limited to:
To formulate minimum standards of admission, scholarship and honors and review broad educational and research policies of the University as they apply to issues related to academic standards and admissions (University Regulations 2.2.2).

To formulate policies on academic issues related to athletic programs and student athletes.

To consider university-wide issues related to recruitment, retention, publications, financial aid, and minority student interests.

To review university-wide regulations governing academic practices and standards, including grading.

To advise administrative officers and others, through the Senate, on questions relating to actual, possible or alleged discrimination as it affects the students, faculty, and staff of Rutgers or Rutgers' responsibility to the public.

    University Regulations are clearly not being followed with regard to the faculty role in admissions.  College admissions committees are not exercising the powers and responsibilities given them in University Regulations and it is certainly not true, in practice, that final responsibility for admissions decisions rests with the collegiate admissions committees.  Moreover, as far as anyone on this committee can ascertain, the Rutgers University Admissions Committee specified in University Regulations has never existed, nor are its delineated responsibilities carried out by any other university-wide or campus-wide admissions committees with strong faculty participation.


The Committee believes that faculty members need to play a greatly expanded role in setting admissions policies and standards in order for the University to achieve its goal of recruiting an outstanding and diverse body of students who can benefit most from education in this major public research university and contribute to its excellence. The faculty has the responsibility for setting the curriculum, teaching students in the classroom, studio, or laboratory, evaluating student performance, and setting graduation standards. The quality of the faculty and the academic programs they provide is a major factor attracting high-achieving students to Rutgers University.  It is counterproductive, therefore, to have an admissions system in which faculty members play a minimal role, at best, at the policy-making level.  

    For the reasons just enunciated, we believe that faculty members must play a major collaborative role with the university administration in establishing admissions policies, determining standards for admission, and setting enrollment goals at the college, campus, and university-wide levels. Moreover, the need for greater faculty involvement applies to the admission of transfer students as well as traditional first-year students. Transfer students represent a rapidly-growing segment of our undergraduate student body and present unique issues, which faculty should be involved in addressing. Finally, we believe that the faculty also needs to be more involved in recruiting activities at both the pre- and post-admission levels in order for Rutgers to succeed in attracting a higher fraction of New Jersey’s most promising high school graduates.  In the next section of this report, we make specific recommendations concerning how all this could be accomplished.

Specific Recommendations

In order to ensure appropriate faculty participation in undergraduate admissions and recruitment, we make the following recommendations.

1.    Faculty should increase their involvement in pre-admission and post-admission recruiting activities and the University should incorporate participation in such activities into its reward structure. In addition to participation in traditional on- and off-campus recruiting activities, academic departments and interdisciplinary units should be encouraged to sponsor programs and events that bring high-achieving prospective students to Rutgers campuses early in their high-school career.

2.    A primarily faculty admissions committee should exist for each school or college that directly admits first-year and transfer students. These committees should meet regularly to carry out the responsibilities specified in University Regulations 2.1.2 B(1).  In addition, they should (a) provide advice to the college dean and to the campus-wide admissions committee (see below) concerning enrollment goals for the college and (b) participate in college recruitment events.

3.    Campus-wide, primarily faculty admissions committees should be established in New Brunswick, Newark, and Camden. The optimal structure for these committees will clearly be different on the three campuses and should be determined locally. Committee responsibilities should include:
a.    recommending campus enrollment goals and admissions policies with respect to both first-year and transfer students to the Provost or Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, based on the recommendations of the college deans and admissions committees.
b.    serving as a liaison to the college admissions committees and resolving any conflicts among the enrollment goals and admissions priorities of the individual colleges and schools.
c.    evaluating the efficacy of the University's admissions policies and procedures regularly and making recommendations to the University Senate concerning changes in those policies and procedures.
d.    resolving admissions issues that cut across collegiate lines.
e.    meeting on a regular basis with representatives of the Undergraduate Admissions Office to fine tune admissions criteria and procedures, monitor the progress of admissions and recruitment efforts, and make certain that admissions practices are consonant with campus admissions policies and priorities.
f.    participating in campus-wide recruitment efforts.
4.    ASRAC or some other committee designated by the University Senate, should play the role of a university-wide admissions committee. In addition to ASRAC’s standing charge to formulate minimum standards of admission, the designated Committee should have the following responsibilities.
a.    evaluating, on a regular basis, Rutgers admissions policies and procedures and their implementation across the three campuses and reporting its findings to the Senate as a whole..
b.    interpreting and providing guidelines for implementation of the Rutgers University Undergraduate Admissions Policy.
c.    discussing issues pertaining to admissions and recruitment that cut across all three campuses.

    We note that these recommendations are consistent with University Regulations except that the powers and responsibilities given to the “Rutgers University Admissions Committee” in University Regulations are divided among the campus and university-wide admissions committees in our recommended structure.  The proposed division of responsibility between the campus and university levels responds to the recent, and most welcome, devolution of responsibility for admissions to the three campuses.