Most students don’t realize it, but about 15 years ago, RPI was a pretty unheard-of school. People could hardly pronounce “Rensselaer,” let alone spell it, and, while academics have always been phenomenal, the school was not widely recognized. Yet today, our Institute ranks among the top schools in the world, year in and year out. And while sometimes it’s hard to swallow, much of this recognition derives from The Rensselaer Plan.
When President Jackson took over for Acting President Cornelius Barton, she immediately went to work transforming Rensselaer into a top-notch institution. The introduction of the Plan includes Jackson’s “ambitious goal: to secure Rensselaer’s place as a world-class technological research university for a new century.”
Some of the major changes that have come to campus since the implementation of the Plan are the construction of various buildings on campus such as EMPAC, ECAV, Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies, and Blitman Commons. These new constructions were coupled with the renovation and improvement of many other on campus buildings like Sage Dining Hall and most residence halls. Major improvements in areas like research, entrepreneurship, and diversity throughout campus have been added. The majority of both the undergraduate and graduate education systems have been updated throughout all the schools and programs to meet the needs of the 21st century.
Specific education changes that have been made include the creation of coursework concentrations, minors, second disciplines, dual degrees, and interdisciplinary programs that “enable students to work at the intersections of disciplines and forge exciting individual career trajectories.” A greater focus on technology, while at the same time, including more coursework in humanities and social sciences, has been refined. A final addition has been the use of “Interactive Learning” to engage students in a new way and customize learning experiences tailored to students.
Well, we’re there. It’s 2014, and in less than 15 years, the Plan has been studied, implemented, and quite frankly, exhausted and outdated. Now, the The Rensselaer Plan 2024 will be implemented to work on further improving the Institution over the next 20 years. If the success of the previous Plan is any sign of what’s to come, in twenty years RPI may very well be drastically changed for the even better.