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Academic Excellence

Academic excellence at Pratt is grounded in commitments to fostering creativity in our community and in creating equitable opportunities for students, faculty, and staff, the two together allowing us all to be partners in imagining and realizing a better and more just world. The Academic Excellence Pillar Committee has developed goals and initiatives to enhance the quality of academic programs; to support teaching, learning, and research; and to foster agility, risk taking, and local as well as global engagement. 

  • Continue to strengthen existing programs and Pratt’s curriculum as a whole within the arc of a Pratt education. When students can connect the discrete pieces of their education, the power of that education is amplified. To encourage these connections, we will develop all-institute learning goals. To reflect a multiplicity of experiences and cultures, we will diversify curricular content and pedagogical approaches within and across disciplines, and embrace diverse, inclusive, and equitable approaches to scholarship, design, and creative inquiry. We will integrate undergraduate student learning from the first to final year, and across the curriculum and co-curriculum, while helping students to better integrate liberal arts with studio disciplines. We will further strengthen curriculum, teaching, and learning through ongoing assessment, professional development, and faculty support. Finally, we will support existing and new curriculum through the development of physical infrastructure such as the School of Art building.  
  • Elevate, foster, and support interdisciplinary teaching, research, and creative inquiry. Interdisciplinary work, particularly when carried out through cohort-based efforts, transcends boundaries and opens the door to entirely new combinations of knowledge and practice. To foster this generative approach, we propose an all-Institute research and innovation space, a highly social, on-campus production facility for interdisciplinary material and pedagogical research. We will prioritize and support full-campus exploration of challenges that demand interdisciplinary thinking. We will support existing interdisciplinary learning opportunities at the undergraduate level, and create new curricular pathways in the form of interdisciplinary minors and majors. At the graduate level, we will augment existing interdisciplinary opportunities, create new pathways for learning and research, and further develop appropriate degree programs. We will re-envision and create infrastructural and administrative support for interdisciplinary work, within and across departments and schools, and Institute-wide, while also facilitating scholarly and creative exchanges with the community, with peers, and with industry partners.
  • Ensure educational equity for all students by creating multiple pathways to academic excellence. We are dedicated to providing all our students the opportunity to attain their maximum creative and academic potential. Understanding that teaching quality is key to student success, we will support ongoing development of individual and collective faculty capacity for excellent, inclusive teaching. We will also improve access to and pathways through our academic curriculum with a portfolio of opportunity programs to complement Pratt’s Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP) and to provide students with better access to Pratt support once they are enrolled. Because affordability is a critical component of access, we will develop cost-effective ways for students to acquire technological resources, materials, and books required for classes. And because our support for our students does not end at graduation, we will strengthen post-graduation support (especially for the first five years) through courses, access to print and subscription resources, and online workshops.
  • Develop and support Pratt faculty in light of the changed – and still changing – nature of faculty work and the faculty work force. We must develop more, and more flexible, ways of supporting faculty development, adding such structures as “bankable” development funds to continuing pedagogical, creative, and scholarly development, and creating a culture of faculty and staff mentoring for professional development. Further, we will develop procedures for faculty appointment, promotion, and tenure that acknowledge and reward scholarship and creative activity that crosses departmental or disciplinary lines, or that follows less traveled paths of inquiry, such as the scholarship of civic engagement or the scholarship of teaching and learning. Finally, we will constitute a presidential- or provost-level task force charged with engaging recent research on the changing nature of faculty work and making recommendations based on its relevance to Pratt.
  • Engage critically and creatively with contemporary and near-future issues of socio-ecological urgency, prioritizing the sustainability of humanity, culture, and the environment. As artists, architects, designers, thinkers, critics, and curators of our culture, Pratt students will go on to shape the world in which we live, and our aim is to empower them through agile programs that anticipate a radically changing world. To train and nurture tomorrow’s leaders, we will support and incentivize faculty research and student experimentation related to socio-ecological futures, with attention to opportunities at the graduate level. In addition, we will create a curriculum that engages the Fourth Industrial Revolution, bringing together the physical, digital, and biological realms of knowledge and practice. Finally, we will develop the campus as a living laboratory in which students and faculty engage with and advance various models of sustainability.
  • Cultivate emerging applied and theoretical technological practices that foster innovation and integrative learning across the institute. Embracing current and emergent technological platforms will ensure Pratt’s ongoing leadership in our fields of focus, while bringing us new ways to engage with and enhance education for today’s digitally sophisticated learners. We must educate students in the development and use of technologies that will radically change our society in the next 20 years, and build and enhance Pratt’s information technology and computational infrastructure to keep pace with the needs of education in our fields. We must create curriculum around advanced digital practices, empowered by computation. Finally, we must create and maintain an online, open-access repository/archive of Pratt faculty and student research, creative work, and pedagogical materials.