Report of the Senate Academic Standards, Regulations,
and Admissions Committee on Faculty Role in Undergraduate Admissions and Recruitment
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).
April 22, 2005
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
e. To interpret and provide
guidelines for implementation of the Rutgers University Undergraduate Admissions
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
To formulate policies on academic issues related to athletic programs and
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,
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.
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:
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
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
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.
admissions issues that cut across collegiate lines.
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.
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.
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..
and providing guidelines for implementation of the Rutgers University Undergraduate
issues pertaining to admissions and recruitment that cut across all three
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.