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August 20, 2002

Report of the Four-Year College Program Planning Committee

Executive Summary

The Four-Year College Program Planning Committee met from January through May 2002 to develop a program for the three four-year colleges and, by extension, the two-year colleges that will be paired with them. It followed the President’s charge to envision “a residential experience that takes fullest possible advantage of the diversity and educational opportunities at Princeton.”

The Committee was guided by two principles: that the residential colleges are central to the University’s educational mission and that the expansion of the student body is an opportunity to improve the quality of Princeton’s undergraduate education. The new system of paired two- and four-year colleges will create more interaction for first- and second-year students with upperclass students, graduate students, and faculty. It will provide both enhanced academic advising for all students and a new and robust option for upperclass residential life.

In order to accomplish these goals, the Committee proposes that all juniors and seniors remain affiliated with a residential college, either the one they entered as a freshman or one to which they have moved after sophomore year. This association would be promoted by a continuing relationship with college deans and directors of studies, a limited number of meals, participation in programs, and access to facilities. The Committee proposes that the University’s fee structure be rethought in order to facilitate the participation of nonresident juniors and seniors in the life of their original colleges. The objective would be to fold into tuition a dollar amount sufficient to cover the costs of residential college affiliation.

The Committee’s specific recommendations are briefly described below in four categories (advising and staffing, programming, housing, and dining), with the space implications listed at the end of each section.

A. Advising and Staffing

  • Academic advising of freshmen and sophomores should continue to take place in the colleges. Nondepartmental academic advising of juniors and seniors should be transferred from West College deans to the dean and director of studies of the college with which each student is affiliated.
  • A new position, perhaps called “director of residential life,” should be created within each of the six colleges in order to enable the dean and director of studies to discharge their increased advising responsibilities. These experienced student life professionals could provide the level of service that has become essential in the increasingly complex environment of undergraduate residential life.
  • Ten graduate students resident in each of the six colleges should be given specific assignments related to academic, cultural, and residential programming. These responsibilities should require no more than ten hours per week. The current position of assistant master should be discontinued.
  • The colleges should offer expanded services in writing assistance, fellowship advising, specialized advising events, and career advising.
  • The current faculty position of senior fellow may be discontinued in order to transfer resources to higher-priority needs.
  • New masters’ residences should be constructed for Whitman, Butler, and Wilson Colleges in the closest possible proximity to the colleges themselves.
  • College office space should be planned to accommodate the proposed changes in staffing.
  • The current assistant master apartments should be made available as rental housing for faculty. The residents would have fellows’ privileges in the colleges.

B. Programming

  • Students should take the lead in designing programs for four-year colleges. The presence of upperclass and graduate students will help intellectual and cultural activities thrive in the colleges. Nonresident upperclass students will also be involved in college activities.
  • Four-year colleges will provide a natural home for campus-wide student-initiated activities.
  • Colleges might form College Societies to serve the particular interests of older students.
  • As many classes as possible should be held in the colleges.
  • Each college should have two large modular classrooms seating twenty-five students as well as a conference room for sixteen to eighteen students. These can be multipurpose rooms as long as the teaching function is central to their design.
  • A mix of public meeting and recreational activity spaces should be spread throughout each college. These include attractive, quiet study spaces; alcoves and small lounges; a central common room adjacent to the dining room; a TV room; multipurpose meeting and practice spaces; and a cafe. Fitness facilities are desirable but need further study.
  • Additional arts performance and rehearsal spaces, so greatly needed by the University at large, should be located within the colleges.
  • Individual, locked study carrels would ideally be provided for resident upperclass students in the four-year colleges.

C. Housing

  • Entering freshmen should continue to be assigned randomly to colleges and will remain in their assigned college for two years.
  • Rising juniors who reside in either college in a pair should have equal preference in drawing into the four-year college. They should be expected but not required to remain there for two years.
  • Preference in room draw for the four-year college should be given first to rising seniors already living in the college; second, to rising juniors already living in the college and in the paired college; third, to rising juniors in other colleges; and fourth, to rising seniors living outside the college. The maximum size for groups of rising juniors and seniors drawing together into a four-year college should be eight.
  • Rooms for juniors and seniors should be spread throughout the college, but should be clustered to permit draw groups to live in the same area. Upperclass rooms should primarily be large singles and doubles (one to three rooms), with a smaller number of quads (five rooms). Bathrooms should be located within upperclass suites.
  • Suites for graduate students will be dispersed throughout the college.
  • The facilities of the four-year colleges must be made maximally appealing in order to attract a representative cross-section of the student population.

D. Dining

  • Significant improvements are required in residential college dining. The new dining plan should feature simplicity of access, flexibility, opportunities for meal exchanges between colleges and clubs, numerous guest meal passes, and built-in points for use at the Frist Campus Center. Ideally, dining halls should be open, without required check-in.
  • The quality of food needs to be improved.
  • The colleges should provide extended meal hours and make snacks available late into the night.
  • Freshmen and sophomores should have a contract for approximately twenty meals per week. Resident juniors and seniors should have a contract for approximately fourteen meals per week. Those who join clubs or prefer independent arrangements should receive a partial rebate.
  • Nonresident juniors and seniors should be charged a fee, folded into tuition, which would cover receptions, snacks, and occasional meals in the college with which they are affiliated.
  • A subgroup of the Committee plus selected other administrators should be charged to make recommendations concerning the design and implementation of the new dining plan.
  • The quality of dining space should reflect high standards for furniture, lighting, acoustics, and ambiance.
  • Current kitchen and servery areas must be renovated in order to bring them to the standard that will be achieved at Whitman College.

The priority placed on each of these recommendations by the Committee is described in the [Priorities] section of the report.


I. Process

The Four-Year College Program Planning Committee was charged by President Shirley M. Tilghman "to develop a program for the sixth residential college and for the two existing residential colleges that will be converted to become four-year colleges." "The program for these three four-year colleges," President Tilghman instructed, "is expected to be based on the goals set forth in the recommendations of the Sixth Residential College Program Committee adopted in April 2001 by the Board of Trustees." "Four-year colleges," the charge from the President went on to explain, "will include students from all four undergraduate years as well as a small number of graduate students, and will offer a residential experience that takes the fullest possible advantage of the diversity and educational opportunities at Princeton. Moreover, by pairing each of the three remaining two-year residential colleges with one of the three new four-year colleges, the expanded opportunities of the four-year colleges will be available in some measure to all undergraduates."

President Tilghman asked Dean of the College Nancy Weiss Malkiel and Vice President for Campus Life Janet Smith Dickerson to chair the Committee. They formed a committee of seven faculty members, five undergraduates, one graduate student, and seven administrators, with the assistant to the vice president for campus life serving as secretary. The Committee includes individuals with a range of experiences and associations with the residential college program at Princeton: one current and three former residential college masters; a residential college dean; a former director of studies; an assistant master; a minority affairs adviser; a former college council chair; the dean of the college, who currently chairs the Council of Masters; the vice president for campus life and the dean of undergraduate students, who sit as members of the Council of Masters; and the former dean of the college, who oversaw the creation of the residential college program at Princeton, and who, with the dean of the graduate school, served in the 1970s on the Committee on Undergraduate Residential Life, which proposed to establish a residential college system. The faculty members include, as well, faculty fellows of the colleges, and parents of current and former undergraduates. The secretary to the Committee served in the 1970s as one of the first assistant masters of what was then Princeton Inn College. Two of the faculty members, two of the undergraduates, and four of the administrators also served last year on the Sixth College Program Committee.

The Committee met twelve times from January through May 2002 (including one meeting with the architects for Whitman College, Porphyrios Associates and Einhorn Yaffee Prescott). In addition, four subcommittees each focused in detail on one of the principal areas that the full committee was asked to address: advising and staffing, programming, housing, and dining.

The Committee reviewed the background materials assembled in the course of the work of the Sixth College Program Committee, including reports on focus groups of students and college staff members convened by the consulting architects, KieranTimberlake Associates, and a survey of undergraduates conducted by the Undergraduate Student Government. It collected detailed accounts of the programs and activities of the current two-year colleges at Princeton. As well, it collected written materials describing the program and staffing of the residential colleges and houses at Harvard, Rice, and Yale universities. Members of the Committee visited Harvard and Yale, toured residential facilities, and talked at some length with masters and other administrators responsible for the houses and colleges. The Committee's work was informed by proposals for the design of the sixth college submitted by undergraduates, graduate students, and recent alumni in the Prospects02 competition in April 2002, for which two of the Committee's members served as judges.


II. Framework

A. Guiding Principles

Before turning to specific recommendations, we should be explicit about the framework within which the Committee has imagined the future of the residential colleges. The Committee�s thinking has been guided by a number of principles. First, and most important, the Committee sees the residential colleges as central to the University�s educational mission, and thus our proposals are designed to enable the University more effectively to realize its educational objectives in the residential setting. The Committee has recognized from the outset that it needed to do its work within a pre-existing physical and social framework, and we have adapted our recommendations accordingly.

Second, the Committee has been mindful of the insistence of the Wythes Committee that the expansion of the undergraduate student body should serve as an opportunity to improve the overall quality of undergraduate education. The Committee has looked explicitly for ways to make the Princeton experience better for all of our students -- a mandate directly related to, but intentionally broader than, developing the program for the four-year colleges. Thus, many of the Committee’s recommendations are designed in part to assist the University in addressing institutional needs associated with the increase in the size of the student body. These include the provision of physical facilities to accommodate instructional and extracurricular activities for all undergraduates. More generally, the proposals will contribute to the sustenance of personalized instruction, guidance, and care of undergraduates, the hallmark of a smaller-scale Princeton.

The Committee expects the new college plan, with three four-year colleges, each paired with a two-year college, to permit:

  • better integration of freshmen and sophomores with juniors, seniors, and graduate students;
  • early exposure of underclass students to the distinctive features of upperclass intellectual life;
  • increased opportunities for student leadership in the residential setting;
  • development of an on-campus social life incorporating undergraduates from all four classes as well as graduate students;
  • fuller integration of the academic enterprise and the residential setting;
  • more effective interchange between students and faculty members;
  • enhanced advising and support for all undergraduates;
  • greater exploitation of the broad educational potential inherent in the residential setting.

As well, the new college plan will make plain, both to matriculated and to prospective students, that there are real and robust options for residential life that can satisfy the needs and interests of the widest variety of Princeton undergraduates.

B. Basic Assumptions

The Committee’s recommendations are predicated on these two basic assumptions:

  • There will be close interaction between the four-year college and the two-year college within each two-college pair.
  • While the numbers of juniors and seniors resident in four-year colleges will be small relative to the total population of juniors and seniors, all juniors and seniors will have a continuing association with residential colleges.

1. Interaction between paired colleges

The Committee believes that there must be thorough coordination within each pair of a four-year and a two-year college. Such coordination would apply to intellectual and cultural programming, athletic events, trips, parties, invitations to visitors, use of specialized facilities, and so on. Careful coordination is important for several reasons:

  • Coordination will give every student a relationship to a four-year college, whether or not s/he actually lives in it. This relationship will expand the beneficial influences of the four-year colleges.
  • To the extent that the four-year colleges may have superior facilities, fairness requires allowing all students access to them.
  • By exposing more freshmen and sophomores to the four-year colleges, we will expand the pool of students who want to live there when they are juniors and seniors.

2. College affiliations for nonresident juniors and seniors

Providing additional residential and social options for upperclass students is clearly an important goal of the new college system. Just as important, however, is providing the broad educational benefits of the residential colleges to as many juniors and seniors as possible.

The Committee envisions a future in which the norms for undergraduate residential and social life at Princeton encompass a variety of arrangements, including two-year colleges, four-year colleges, Prospect Street, and independent living in such facilities as Spelman and co-ops. We wish there to be multiple norms that are not mutually exclusive. In creating the new college system, we aim to ensure that upperclass students who live and socialize in a residential college will feel that they fully belong at Princeton as part of an accepted residential and social mainstream.

But if the four-year colleges simply provide a residential option for three hundred juniors and seniors, we will fall short of our aspirations for the broad educational benefits that the new college system should afford. The Committee believes strongly that the development of four-year colleges provides the opportunity to enhance residential and social life for all Princeton students. To that end, we propose that all juniors and seniors remain affiliated with the colleges they entered as freshmen, except for those students who move after the sophomore year from a two-year to a four-year college, who will join their new college.

We deliberately describe the relationship in terms of affiliation rather than membership. While the difference may appear semantic, some people view membership to entail certain requirements, or to preclude membership in other groups or clubs. With affiliation, the relationship need not be exclusive, and its extent is largely a matter for individual choice. We believe that affiliation invites community in ways beyond what simple residence may produce. We imagine a world in which everyone on campus “belongs” to a college, no matter where he or she may live. One comes back to one’s college naturally as a place to renew old friendships and forge new ones, to participate in certain activities and to find particular services. The colleges should be magnets that draw students back, places that complement, not compete with, other places where they may eat and live.

Increasing the number of upperclass students who have reason to participate in the life of the colleges will yield benefits for all students. Freshmen and sophomores will benefit from increased exposure to upperclass students, who exemplify the intellectual engagement and exercise of leadership to which younger students may aspire. The continuing affiliation of nonresident juniors and seniors with their colleges of origin will make it easier to attract juniors and seniors to live in the four-year colleges. Also, the presence in the colleges of more upperclass students will help to relieve the persistent tension in the situation of resident advisers (RAs) and minority affairs advisers (MAAs), who feel torn between the attractions of their positions and the fact that geographical and social separation currently prevents them from interacting regularly with members of their class.

To the extent that four-year colleges will have facilities and offer services that are not available in the two-year colleges, we propose that these facilities and services be equally available to students living in or affiliated with the partner college.

Turning to specifics, we imagine that continuing affiliation could have several aspects:

  1. A continuing relationship with deans and directors of studies: It makes sense for upperclass students to maintain the often close relationships that they have established with the deans and directors of studies of their residential colleges. As we shall explain in more detail, we see a strong argument for decentralizing into the colleges responsibility for the academic advising and personal support now provided in deans offices in West College.
  2. Meals: Enabling every upperclass student to eat one or two meals per week in the college would greatly facilitate continuing affiliation and enhance interaction among the classes. Having a late-meal option is particularly important in this context. If one or more of the colleges offered a late-meal option on weekdays, it would bring upperclass students back more frequently. Late-meal options would also be likely to draw significant numbers of athletes back into the colleges.
  3. Programs and facilities: Nonresident juniors and seniors should be invited to participate in at least some of the colleges programs and activities and should be given access, where feasible and appropriate, to special college facilities.
  4. Intramurals: Making upperclass students eligible to play intramurals for their college would foster friendships within and across class years and facilitate continued allegiance to the college. Implementing this change should not preclude the eating clubs from also fielding their own teams.
  5. Orientation: The best time to establish routines is at the beginning of the year, when students decide on their activities and have more time to socialize and explore. Giving upperclass affiliates a greater role in the orientation process (e.g., through interclass social activities and competitions within each college) would both create more interaction among the classes and make upperclass students more inclined to visit the colleges throughout the year.
  6. Representation on the college council: A seat on the college council might be designated for an upperclass affiliate.
  7. Special events for juniors and seniors: The colleges may wish to organize special events, like “alumni” dinners or receptions, for both resident and affiliated juniors and seniors. The colleges might organize celebrations at Commencement -- a Commencement lunch, for example, or a Class Day brunch -- for resident and affiliated graduating seniors and their families. One could imagine transferring the distribution of diplomas from Cannon Green to the colleges, with a brief ceremony after the Commencement lunch in which the college master hands each new graduate his or her diploma.

The Committee proposes that the University’s fee structure be rethought in order to facilitate the participation of nonresident juniors and seniors in the life of their original colleges. The objective would be to fold into tuition a dollar amount sufficient to cover the costs of residential college affiliation. The college fee, paid only by those students who live in a residential college, would then be set at a reduced level. These two charges would generate funds sufficient both to support programs, activities, and facilities for resident students from all four classes, and to allow nonresident juniors and seniors to take part in a limited range of college activities (e.g., trips, parties, receptions, one or two meals a week) without taxing them for each event in which they participate.

In sum, we believe that continued college affiliation would have several desirable consequences. It would increase the impact of the beneficial effects presumed to inhere in the new college system. It would help to overcome the problem of critical mass that might otherwise threaten the success of four-year colleges. (In the absence of affiliation, the number of upperclass students in residence might otherwise be too few to significantly affect the life of the colleges.) Continuing affiliation would normalize the social choice of maintaining strong ties to one’s college. It would lead to a more integrated undergraduate experience for every student, and it would foster a more cohesive campus community. The assumption of continuing affiliation undergirds many of the recommendations that follow.


III. Recommendations

We turn now to the Committee's specific recommendations, which we have divided into four categories: advising and staffing, programming, housing, and dining. We describe the facilities that support the particular function or objective in the context of each recommendation.

A. Advising and Staffing

We claimed at the outset of this report that the new college plan would permit more effective interchange between students and faculty members, better advising of all undergraduates, fuller integration of the academic enterprise and the residential setting, and greater exploitation of the broad educational potential inherent in the residential setting. Advising and staffing are critical ingredients in the achievement of these central objectives. [ref1]

Master: The residential college master is a senior member of the faculty who devotes half of his or her time to the leadership of the college and the other half to teaching and other departmental responsibilities. The master sets the tone for the college, provides intellectual and programmatic vision and direction, and leads the college staff in realizing the many objectives for the residential college community.

We know from experience at other institutions that the proximity and ease of casual involvement of the master makes a real difference in building community in the residential setting. Princeton has been constrained in this respect by the housing stock on which we have been able to draw for masters' residences. The Forbes master's house is two doors down from the college, on Alexander Road, and the Mathey and Rockefeller masters' houses, both on University Place, are across the street from college facilities. But the Butler master's house, also on University Place, is at some distance from the college, and the Wilson master's house, on Prospect Avenue beyond the eating clubs, is much further away. The latter two, especially, make it difficult for the master to function as effectively as we would like.

The Committee recommends that new masters' residences be constructed for Whitman, Butler, and Wilson Colleges. Those residences may be contiguous to or built in the closest possible proximity to their colleges; in either event, it is essential that they be visually integrated into the colleges, and that they include ample private space for family life and ample public space for college functions, with a clear demarcation between the two. (The latter should include, for example, a large living room, an industrial-strength kitchen, and a large dining room.) The residence should have easy public access from the college as well as a private egress in proximity to a roadway. Public space in the master's house should be used regularly for college-wide open houses, for entertainment of and meetings with particular college constituencies (e.g., individual RA groups, RAs and MAAs, college council, college staff), and as a venue for more intimate gatherings for upperclass students, graduate students, and faculty fellows.

An important issue is whether sufficient numbers of senior faculty members will be willing to undertake the master's job if it entails living on campus. We feel that making the master's quarters truly attractive is critical in this context -- faculty are not going to give up pleasant homes in return for substantially less pleasant living environments. Ultimately, though, we believe that having masters' residences in direct proximity to the colleges will actually make it easier to recruit masters because it will make it less difficult for masters to do their jobs. With this in mind, we note the importance of providing appropriate support for the extensive entertaining that masters will do in their houses.

Residential College Dean and Director of Studies: As is currently the case, residential college deans and directors of studies will continue to have responsibility for academic advising and implementation of academic regulations for the freshmen and sophomores in the residential colleges. The quality of the interaction between freshmen and sophomores and their deans and directors of studies is one of the most important achievements of the residential college system. The deans and directors of studies advise individual students on all aspects of their academic programs and progress toward the major, as well as on a wide range of personal matters. They interact with students, also, in the context of discipline and significant personal crises. They see their students frequently in the dining room and join them in a wide range of college activities.

Given the strong foundation of the relationship forged in the first two years, the Committee believes that the new college system provides the opportunity to extend these beneficial interactions to juniors and seniors. As we suggested earlier, we see a compelling case for decentralizing into the colleges responsibility for the academic advising and personal support now provided for juniors and seniors in deans' offices in West College. Juniors and seniors may be more likely to seek advice from deans and directors of studies they already know; those administrators, in turn, will have a longer history and a fuller context in which to understand the issues that may arise for individual students in their junior and senior years. The familiarity of the dean and director of studies with juniors and seniors will lead naturally to many informal opportunities for academic guidance. The link to the dean and director of studies will, of course, also provide a strong ongoing connection between juniors and seniors and the residential colleges.

The proposed decentralization responds, too, to the injunction of the Wythes Committee that the expansion of the undergraduate student body not diminish the quality of the services we currently provide. No matter how hard-working and conscientious deans may be, there is a finite limit to the hours available to address the needs of the students in their charge. Adding 125 more juniors and 125 more seniors to the portfolios of the junior and senior class deans in the Office of the Dean of the College would inevitably reduce either the proportion of students needing attention who could be seen in a timely fashion, or the time and effort that could be devoted to assisting any one of them. Shifting primary responsibility for the advising needs of juniors and seniors to deans and directors of studies in the residential colleges will enhance the likelihood that we can maintain, if not enhance, the quality of the advice and support we currently provide.

The proposed decentralization would not change the academic departments' primary responsibility for the academic advising of their concentrators. In addition, the Office of the Dean of the College would continue to have general oversight of academic advising for juniors and seniors -- as it does currently for freshmen and sophomores -- to ensure the equitable application of University policies.

The Committee recommends that the dean of the college and the dean of undergraduate students work with colleagues in their offices and in the residential colleges to investigate carefully the ways in which such recasting of responsibilities might best be accomplished.

If responsibility for the academic progress of juniors and seniors were to be added to the portfolios of the residential college deans and directors of studies (thus effectively doubling the number of students in their charge), a significant part of their nonacademic responsibilities would need to be assumed by other members of the college staffs. The Committee sees a strong argument for creating a new position in the colleges to oversee discipline for students resident in the colleges, an enhanced residential education program, and other significant student life commitments. This new position -- perhaps called director of residential life -- could also have responsibility for oversight of the resident advisers and minority affairs advisers, a function currently performed by the assistant masters, and for oversight of the college council, a function currently performed by the college administrator and the assistant masters. Giving the director of residential life responsibility for the resident advisers and minority affairs advisers would simplify and rationalize communication channels and reporting structures and would allow for more consistency and effectiveness in the oversight and support of these very important undergraduate staff members.

With the increasing complexity of student life issues, the Committee sees real advantages in having an experienced student life professional in each of the colleges. Universities today confront an array of challenges in student life that are different in kind and intensity from those that existed when the residential colleges were first created twenty years ago. Today's undergraduates are much more likely to be dealing with issues relating to complicated family situations, sex, alcohol, and drugs. Further, more so than in the past, they present a variety of learning disabilities and psychological disorders -- among them attention deficit disorders, eating disorders, anxiety and panic disorders, and depression -- and often depend on medication to function. Changes on the national scene, too, make the management of a residential community more complicated than it used to be. We have in mind, for example, the legal environment with respect to disabilities, and the heightened public scrutiny with respect to the ways in which universities deal with alcohol abuse, depression, and other mental health disorders prevalent in the college-age population. Universities are expected to provide substantial support both to students who are dealing with complicated personal issues and to the other students with whom they interact. An experienced student life professional in each of the residential colleges could devote full attention to providing such support, and could, through an enhanced program of residential education, improve the University's services for all of its students. We envision that the new directors of residential life would have a relationship with the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students analogous to the relationship the residential college deans and directors of studies now have with the Office of the Dean of the College.

By proposing the new position of director of residential life, we do not mean to negate the real advantages that have inhered in having a single individual (the director of studies) see the whole student, with academic strengths and achievements, academic difficulties, disciplinary problems, and personal crises handled by one decanal figure. Even though discipline would be transferred to the director of residential life, it would still be the case that the residential college dean and director of studies could deal with students as whole individuals. And we would expect -- especially in complicated cases -- that the dean, director of studies, and director of residential life would function as a team, with the closest communication among them.

These proposed rearrangements in staffing would apply in the two-year as well as the four-year colleges, so that, under the leadership of the faculty master, a residential college dean, a director of studies, and a director of residential life would staff each college.

Again, the Committee encourages the dean of the college and the dean of undergraduate students to explore ways in which redeployment of existing staff, together with modest additional staffing, might permit these new positions to be established with minimal overall growth in administrative positions. We believe that we could obtain three to four of the six proposed positions by redeploying current resources. The appropriateness of modest additional staffing might be reviewed by the Task Force on Administrative Staffing and Services in the context of planning for the expansion of the undergraduate student body.

College office space should be planned in such a way as to accommodate the proposed changes in staffing.

College Administrator and College Secretary: While the basic roles of the college administrator and college secretary will remain the same, the changes proposed above would add significantly to the student traffic in the college office, to the range and complexity of the advising responsibilities discharged and academic records maintained in the colleges, and to the number of administrators requiring support. It would be important to look carefully at the portfolios of the college administrator and college secretary to identify opportunities for redeployment of responsibilities (for example, some of the student life work now done by the college administrator could be transferred to the director of residential life) and to assess whether additional support would be required. Again, the latter possibility ought also to be reviewed by the Task Force on Administrative Staffing and Services in the context of planning for the expansion of the undergraduate student body.

Graduate Students: To date, the principal involvement of graduate students in the residential colleges has come through the work of the two resident assistant masters. Assistant masters have played very valuable roles in supporting the master, the RAs and MAAs, and the college council, but the required half-time commitment often seems or proves to be unduly demanding and certainly dissuades many potential candidates from applying for these positions, in part because their departments are concerned about the effect of such employment on the timely completion of the thesis.

The Committee recommends that the current assistant masterships be discontinued and that the major responsibility of the assistant masters for supervision of the RAs and MAAs be given to the directors of residential life. Furthermore, we recommend that the ten graduate students intended to be resident in each college be given specific, time-limited, programmatic responsibilities in return for subsidized room and board.(See note 1.) Given the intensive demands of graduate study, these duties should consume a maximum of ten hours of work per week, including the expected general interaction with undergraduates over meals and at college functions.

We foresee these graduate students playing a variety of important roles in the colleges. Half of their assignments might be related to academic advising: for example, one graduate student might assist in fellowship advising, another might work as a writing tutor for students in the college, a third might coordinate senior thesis writers' groups, a fourth might help to advise students with particular interests in science, engineering, and medicine, and a fifth might coordinate general academic tutoring in the college. The other half of the assignments might be related to social and cultural activities and residential life: for example, one graduate student might oversee musical activities in the college, a second might manage theater and film, a third might coordinate language and special topics tables, a fourth might assist the college council, and a fifth might work with the director of residential life to support the RAs and MAAs. The precise portfolios would be defined by the colleges and might vary modestly from college to college. Again, this change would apply to the two-year as well as the four-year colleges (which would require some modest reconfiguration of bedroom spaces and provision of private bathrooms in the two-year colleges).

This plan has beneficial effects extending well beyond the designated portfolios for each of the resident graduate students. Among other things, it more effectively integrates graduate students into the residential colleges, thus providing positive, substantive interaction between undergraduates and graduate students. Furthermore, the greater adult presence in the dormitories will likely encourage more responsible behavior among undergraduate residents.

Eliminating the current assistant masterships also overcomes the annual challenge to assemble candidate pools of sufficient depth and quality to ensure strong appointments across the colleges. The limited nature of the responsibilities anticipated for the resident graduate students should convince directors of graduate studies and dissertation supervisors to allow their students to assume these roles. As a side benefit, careful recruiting of resident graduate students, with special emphasis on departments that typically attract smaller numbers of undergraduate concentrators, might have some effect on choices of concentration on the part of sophomores in the college.

We do not view graduate student participation merely as a way to enhance the experience of undergraduates. Graduate students often feel marginalized on campus. Their meaningful participation in residential colleges will make them more integral to the University community and will alleviate the feeling of marginalization. We also believe that active involvement on the part of a relatively small number of graduate students resident in the colleges will lead to a healthier perception of graduate students among undergraduates, and therefore more positive interchanges between the two groups.

Resident Advisers and Minority Affairs Advisers: The Committee has not addressed the range of possibilities for reconfiguring the roles of undergraduate advisers, although we are mindful of the experiment currently underway in Wilson College with residential community advisers who blend both roles. The Committee assumes that these issues will continue to be addressed in the Council of Masters.

The current level of adviser staffing -- 12 RAs and four MAAs in each of the two-year colleges -- may properly be adjusted in the four-year colleges to take account of the reduced number of freshmen and sophomores. One can imagine, for example, that ten RAs and three MAAs might be an adequate level of staffing for the four-year colleges. The Council of Masters will be best able to carry forward this discussion in the context of its continuing consideration of any future adjustments in the configuration of the adviser programs.

Faculty in residence: Eliminating the position of assistant master has the positive side effect of vacating two apartments in or close to each of the existing residential colleges. Such apartments ought also to be built in Whitman College. The Committee recommends that they be used for faculty in residence -- younger faculty members, visiting faculty members, post-docs in the Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts or the Council on Science and Technology, fellows in the University Center for Human Values or the Law and Public Affairs Program, and others. The history of Forbes College, the only existing college with a guest suite, suggests that the engagement of such individuals in the life of the college enriches the experience of the student members of the college. These apartments would be part of the University's rental housing stock. Individuals living in college apartments would pay rent to the University, but would be invited to take meals with the students, would have all privileges of fellows of the college, and would be invited to contribute to the life of the college in a way that matched their particular interests. (See note 2.)

Faculty advisers and faculty fellows: AB freshmen and sophomores will continue to be advised by faculty academic advisers selected and coordinated by the residential college dean and director of studies. BSE freshmen and sophomores will continue to be advised by faculty academic advisers in the School of Engineering, with oversight from the associate dean for undergraduate affairs in the School. As much of this advising as possible ought to take place in the colleges, and it is important to provide offices for that purpose which advisers might use on a rotational basis.

Advisers will be fellows of the colleges, as will other faculty members and administrators upon the invitation of the colleges. The incorporation into the colleges of juniors, seniors, and graduate students promises to strengthen and enhance the college fellows programs. (The vital fellows program at Stevenson Hall from the 1970s through the 1990s stands as an instructive model.) Faculty are more accustomed to communicating with older students, whom they see regularly in the context of independent work, and they will be more likely to come to colleges where their advisees are residents or affiliates. Older students, in turn, are more likely to feel comfortable inviting faculty to meals and other activities in the colleges, and they will facilitate the interchange between faculty and younger students. Colleges may wish to augment their fellows programs by developing relationships with one of the many institutes and centers on campus with visiting fellows, who could be named college fellows, dine in the colleges, and have access to college facilities for programs of their institute or center.

Presently, each of the colleges has a senior fellow, a nonresident faculty member who functions generally as a member of the college staff. The senior fellow works closely with the master to bring speakers to the college and integrate the other fellows into the intellectual and cultural life of the college. Senior fellows have made important contributions to the colleges. But we recognize that we will need to make difficult decisions in setting priorities going forward, and we believe that the new staffing we are proposing above needs to take precedence. Should it be necessary to eliminate the position of senior fellow as part of the reorganization required to make that staffing possible, we believe that the new college plan provides other ways to enhance the intellectual life of the colleges. For example, we believe that the college masters could be expected to resume responsibility for the fellows programs, as was the case earlier in the history of the college system.

Specialized advising: The advent of four-year colleges will afford the opportunity to expand and strengthen specialized advising. Here are several examples:

  1. Writing: The Committee recommends that each college have a writing tutor on site. Whether this is to be accomplished through some decentralization of the functions of the Writing Center, or whether it will augment the resources of the Writing Center, remains to be worked out in consultation with the director of the Princeton Writing Program. The college writing tutor would hold general-purpose writing workshops as well as more specialized writing workshops targeted at independent work for juniors and seniors. The college writing tutor would be available, as well, for one-on-one tutoring. The college writing tutor would be trained by the Princeton Writing Program. One of the graduate students in residence might qualify to serve as the principal college writing tutor. Alternatively, s/he could assist a writing tutor deployed to the college by the Princeton Writing Program.
  2. Fellowship advising: The Committee believes that the University�s support for students entering national fellowship competitions can be improved significantly by decentralizing some responsibility for fellowship advising into the residential colleges. One benefit is that we can do a more effective job of spotting talent -- that is, we can start very early to identify students who should be cultivated as potential fellowship candidates and encouraged to apply. A second benefit is that we can do a much more effective job of supporting students in fellowship competitions when one individual (presumably the residential college dean or director of studies) knows the student very well and has followed his/her development over four years. Fellowship advising provides a good example of the concrete ways in which continuing affiliation of all juniors and seniors with their college of origin (or, in the case of students in four-year college, college of residence) can pay real dividends to our students. The responsibility for coordinating fellowship advising may continue to reside in the Office of the Dean of the College, but a great deal of the work on the ground can be accomplished more effectively through the residential colleges.
  3. Specialized advising events: The Committee imagines that a range of specialized advising events will be held in the colleges and will be targeted to the needs of different segments of the college population -- for example, time management and study skills sessions for freshmen; majors� nights for freshmen and sophomores; meet-the-departmental-representative lunches for sophomores and juniors; outside-your-major nights to help upperclass students choose courses for personal enrichment; departmental and divisional independent work research forums for juniors; departmental and divisional senior thesis writers’ groups for seniors.
  4. Career advising: The Committee imagines that four-year colleges will afford the opportunity for enhanced career advising in the colleges, through special forums and workshops arranged jointly by the colleges and the Office of Career Services.

In every case, the colleges must have physical spaces that can be used on a rotational basis by college fellows, graduate students in residence, and staff from other offices to conduct the programs, workshops, and advising described above. These spaces should include individual offices that could be used for private consultation, as well as classrooms that could be used for group activities.

Note 1. The normal graduate student suite would consist of a bedroom, sitting room/study, and private bath, with provision for a microwave oven, sink, and small refrigerator, but not private kitchens. During vacation periods, graduate students in continuing residence would be able to cook in the dormitory kitchenettes, which, ideally, would be located on hallways in close proximity to their suites. To make it possible for married graduate students to participate in the life of the colleges, two of the ten graduate student suites should be three-room suites (plus private bath). In those unusual instances where colleges wish to have married graduate students with children in residence, they may wish to convert one of the faculty apartments into graduate student housing.

Note 2. In certain circumstances, one of the two apartments might be used for a married graduate student with children; see ftn. 1 above.

B. Programming

Programs and activities: The Committee was impressed by the variety and quality of programs and activities currently offered in the two-year residential colleges. These include, among others, lunches and dinners with invited speakers; trips to New York (and, to a lesser extent, Philadelphia) for theater, opera, ballet, museums, and sporting events; language tables, current events tables, and other subject-specific tables at meals; discussion groups on race, ethnicity, and intergroup relations; faculty fellows' presentations and receptions; informational sessions and workshops on such topics as study abroad, summer internships, preparation for graduate and professional school, and careers in public service, law, health professions, and teaching; films, musical performances, theatrical performances, and art exhibits; community service projects; afternoon teas and late-night study breaks; parties large and small, themed and unthemed; barbecues, picnics, and ice cream parties; literary magazines, yearbooks, and newsletters; and intramural sports.

The Committee assumes that a comparable array of programs and activities will be mounted in the four-year colleges, and it looks to those colleges to devise compelling, engaging offerings that will enrich the lives of their members. We should be mindful, also, of the many events and programs sponsored by other groups across the University; the Committee encourages the colleges to seek ways of collaborating with those groups by hosting their activities in college spaces.

While the Committee will not specify a set menu of programs and activities, it will make some observations about factors that are likely to influence programming in four-year colleges:

  • Four-year colleges will be distinctive in the extent to which they provide the opportunity for students to take charge of their own lives and determine the nature of college programming. With ample budgets and facilities to enable an active recreational, social, and cultural life, four-year colleges will provide an opportunity for upperclass students to exercise independent initiative and leadership. Instead of the tendency for top-down leadership of college staff in two-year colleges, the four-year colleges will be characterized by leadership from the students in the college.
  • The presence of upperclass students and graduate students makes it more likely that intellectual and cultural programs and activities will thrive in the colleges. Their maturity and greater life experience will draw younger students into programs and activities that are currently less well attended than they might be. As well, they will generate new programs and activities, such as a book group, a film society, a student-run café with poetry readings and open-mike performances, or a salon where faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates gather to share favorite writings or pieces of music.
  • The college council will be a central vehicle for student leadership, with juniors and seniors taking important initiative and bringing to council deliberations and planning efforts a level of experience and sophistication that will likely enhance the quality and continuity of college activities. At the same time, older students can assist freshmen and sophomores in developing their leadership skills. The overall programming in the college might be further enhanced through the involvement of nonresident juniors and seniors. The charter of the college council might specify the number of positions that should be filled by students in each class and by resident members and nonresident affiliates of the college. The Committee assumes that the college council will take an active role in sponsoring social events, in working with the college staff to bring cultural events into the college, and in working with resident graduate students charged with responsibility for recreational, social, and cultural activities. Indeed, upperclass-underclass and graduate student-undergraduate partnerships will be essential to the successful development and delivery of recreational, social, and cultural activities in the college.
  • The presence in four-year colleges of upperclass students and graduate students makes it more likely that student-generated activities can be sustained over a period of years. This is true of activities as diverse as literary magazines, chamber music groups, community service projects, and film series. Older students invested in the activity can provide leadership, bring younger students along, and provide the continuing enthusiasm that guarantees the long-term viability of the endeavor. Importantly, providing conspicuous opportunities for upperclass student leadership will counter the perception that students who remain in the residential colleges are deprived of both the fun and the formative experience of managing things on their own.
  • Four-year colleges will provide a natural home for campus-wide student-initiated activities led by members of the colleges, who will have the opportunity to book college facilities for meetings, rehearsals, and performances. Regular use by student organizations of facilities in the four-year colleges will help to make the colleges microcosms of University life. Put differently, the availability in the four-year colleges of attractive facilities that can enrich campus life will help to ensure that the colleges are an asset to all members of the University community.
  • The presence in four-year colleges of upperclass students and graduate students makes it more likely that faculty will participate actively in the life of the college. Older students are more experienced at talking easily and comfortably with faculty members, and faculty members, in turn, find it more natural to communicate with them. Older students will provide an essential bridge between faculty fellows and younger students.

The staff of the four-year colleges should recognize that activities that are appropriate for freshmen and sophomores may not always be of greatest interest to juniors and seniors. To take one example, trips that are most likely to draw freshmen and sophomores are often oriented to socialization, acclimatization, and cultural discovery and enrichment. By contrast, trips for junior and seniors may often be oriented toward future career goals. Discussion tables for freshmen and sophomores might naturally focus on preparation for medical school or planning for study abroad. Discussion tables for juniors and seniors might focus more often on career-planning, fellowships, and graduate and professional school.

A College Society is an example of a program that could be developed, on a selective basis, for older students to provide a sense that they are moving up in the system. Juniors, seniors, and graduate students in each of the four-year colleges would become members of a College Society featuring some special privileges, special intellectual events, and regular meals with faculty fellows and visitors. The College Society might meet on a monthly basis in the master's residence or in a college dining room. The judicious serving of alcohol to students who are of age could be permitted at College Society events.

The Committee is confident that, given the right structure and supports, the colleges will succeed in creating robust, collegial, intellectually involved communities. Important factors influencing such an outcome are the integration of formal aspects of academic life, such as teaching and advising, into the colleges; a more significant presence of non-undergraduates in daily college life; and physical facilities that support the many functions of a vital college community.

Integration of formal aspects of academic life into the colleges: The Committee recommends that as many classes as possible be held in the colleges, including, but not limited to, freshman seminars, freshman writing seminars, and junior seminars. Informal academic activities, like team and lab group meetings for science and engineering students, and senior thesis writers' groups for all students, might also take place in four-year colleges. The Committee recommends, as well, that as much advising as practicable be conducted in college facilities: advising appointments for freshmen and sophomores, selected advising for juniors and seniors, fellowship advising, some elements of career advising, and writing tutoring, as already described above. The provision of appropriate office and classroom facilities will be the essential prerequisite here. Each college should have two large classrooms, each of which can seat twenty-five students in various configurations (modular furniture would be desirable), as well as a conference room that can accommodate sixteen to eighteen around a single table. While it makes sense for these to be multipurpose rooms that can be used after hours for a variety of meetings and college activities, their role as teaching spaces must be central to their design (for example, blackboards need to be built into the walls, and the rooms need to be fully equipped with audiovisual capacity). In addition, each college should have private office space that can be used in rotation by faculty advisers, fellowship advisers, career advisers, writing tutors, and others who will cycle through the college on a periodic basis.

It would be highly desirable to provide individual, locked carrels for juniors and seniors resident in the four-year colleges. Ideally, they would be grouped together around a common area that could be used as a lounge. These spaces would in themselves help to create a lively intellectual community among upperclass students in the college, and they would be a significant draw in attracting upperclass students to live there. (See note 3.)

Assuring an increased presence of non-undergraduates in daily college life: A number of proposals already made above will help to increase the presence of non-undergraduates in the colleges. We have in mind the plan for ten graduate students in residence, the provision of two apartments for faculty in residence, and the more effective integration of the master's residence into the college. We refer also to the proposal to bring writing tutors into the colleges and to encourage regular visits to the colleges by service offices of the University (e.g., Career Services, Religious Life) as well as by members of the local community and the alumni body who represent different professional careers. As well, the four-year colleges afford an important opportunity to strengthen the college fellows programs.

Physical facilities: As noted above, the Committee believes that a wide range of programs and activities will grow and develop in the residential colleges if the right infrastructure is in place. We have already discussed the "human capital" requirements. Certain physical facilities will also be essential to create vital college communities. To encourage the common life of the colleges, a mix of public meeting and recreational activity spaces should be spread throughout the colleges. These include alcoves and small lounges that encourage casual conversations; a comfortable, well-appointed central common room, preferably directly adjacent to the college dining room; a wide-screen-TV-viewing area; multipurpose meeting/practice spaces; and a café/snack bar/sandwich shop. An ample supply of attractive, quiet study spaces, in close proximity to all dormitory rooms, and a spacious, comfortable, fully wired college library, are also required. Facilities should be strategically located so as to foster community–e.g., study spaces and the café/snack bar/sandwich shop might be located next to laundry rooms. Furnishings should be comfortable and attractive. Small touches, like newspaper and magazine racks in the common room or built-in chessboards in smaller lounges and the café, would aid in creating a collegial atmosphere.

The facilities listed above need to be provided in each of the colleges. The colleges as a group should be part of the University effort to provide more arts performance and rehearsal space, but the distribution of these facilities might vary across colleges. Ideally, each of the four-year colleges would have basic facilities for performance and practice, like a multipurpose performance and activity space with a sprung floor, small practice rooms, an exhibition gallery area, and, if at all possible, a black box theater. Beyond that, however, there might be some specialization of function: Butler, for example, could have the best facilities on campus for music, and Whitman the best facilities for theater (instead of a black box, the Whitman theater might be a fixed-seat theater more analogous to Theater Intime). In every case, the provision of adequate storage space would be essential.

The Committee would like to see fitness facilities in the colleges because this would be another effective way to build a sense of community. It would also augment the resources of the already-overcrowded Stephens Fitness Center in Dillon Gym. We recognize, however, that this is an expensive proposition. Whether it is feasible to build and staff fully-outfitted fitness centers (or more modestly equipped facilities) in each of the colleges, or in pairs of colleges, remains to be evaluated.

We would observe, finally, that the exterior spaces within and adjacent to the colleges are important ingredients in programming and community-building. The Committee was impressed by the suggestions in the Prospects02 competition for imaginative use of the Whitman College courtyards, for fluid movement from interior to exterior spaces, and for the possibility of constructing an amphitheater on the hill between Dillon and Whitman.

Note 3. Innovative design will be critical here in order to avoid a set of cubicles with perpetually closed doors, on the one hand, and an adjacent noisy area in which no one can concentrate, on the other.

C. Housing

Housing assignments: Entering freshmen will continue to be assigned randomly to colleges, i.e., incoming students will not be offered the opportunity to express a preference. The Committee acknowledged that some students might have a definite preference for (or against) a four-year college; however, we wish to avoid the separation of students into groups based on preference or perceived preference in affiliation or in living accommodations.

Students will remain in their assigned college for two years. As is currently the case, changes will not be permitted. This policy is intended to strengthen individual advising relationships as well as the bonds of community within each college.

In accordance with our intention for all students in paired colleges to be treated fairly and equally, rising juniors who reside in either of the colleges in a pair will have equal preference in drawing into the four-year college.

The expectation will be that rising juniors who draw into a four-year college will live there for both junior and senior years. Staying for two years will, however, not be required. Preference in room draw for the four-year college will be given first to rising seniors already living in the college; second, to rising juniors already living in the college and in the paired college; third, to rising juniors in other colleges; and fourth, to rising seniors who are living outside the college but want to return. Complications will arise when students from different categories choose to room together. We assume that the Housing Office, in consultation with the Council of Masters and the Residence Committee, will devise appropriate algorithms to deal with these situations.

The maximum size for groups of rising juniors and seniors drawing together into a four-year college will be eight. The Committee acknowledges the preference of most upperclass students to live together with friends. To enhance the attractiveness of four-year colleges to juniors and seniors, we support such blocks, but we propose to maintain the current limit on the number within each room-draw group so no group is so large as to occupy a majority of a living area or hallway.

Design elements: Rooms for juniors and seniors will be spread throughout the college, but will be clustered to permit draw groups to live in the same area. Suites for graduate students will also be dispersed throughout the college. As part of this arrangement, the Committee envisions areas, or zones of interaction, where upperclass students can live in proximity to their friends and associates, and where those students engaged in junior or senior independent work can have the privacy, space, and resources required to accomplish their work. At the same time, the "cluster" plan would provide opportunities for upperclass students to interact with freshmen and sophomores in hallways, alcoves, and other open common areas. Thus, each student would have maximum opportunity to feel a sense of belonging within a cohort or friendship group, while contributing, as a member of that group, to the diversity of the larger community.

While the precise arrangement of rooms remains to be determined by the architects, the Committee considered some ways of accomplishing the twin objectives of building a community of juniors and seniors while at the same time fostering easy interaction between upperclass and underclass students. One approach would be to cluster suites for upperclass students at the ends of freshman-sophomore hallways, with lounges for use by all students located nearby. A second approach would be to locate upperclass rooms around stairwells, thus creating vertical as well as horizontal clusters. Such an approach would accommodate draw groups of varying sizes; it would also allow the presence of upperclass students to be felt by more students, since virtually everyone uses the stairs.

There are a number of desirable configurations for rooms for upperclass students. Singles should be one large room or two small rooms (one bedroom and one common room). Doubles should be one common room with an attached double bedroom or two small bedrooms with an attached common room. In lieu of conventional three-room quads, upperclass quads would consist of five rooms: four small bedrooms and a large common room. The upperclass housing stock should be made up primarily of singles and doubles, with a smaller number of quads. For upperclass students, bathrooms should be located within suites.

For freshmen and sophomores, bedrooms and common rooms are likely to be somewhat smaller in square footage. The preponderance of rooms will most likely be three-room quads, with the remainder mainly doubles. Communal bathrooms should be located in the hallways in order to foster interaction among students.

In planning the distribution and configuration of living spaces in the four-year colleges, it is essential to incorporate flexibility to accommodate the possibility that the numbers of upperclass students who choose to live in colleges may change over time. Room configurations that are just right for the hundred upperclass students who live in each four-year college in the first years of the new college system may not be what is needed the more distant future. We need to be able to convert rooms originally planned for freshman and sophomore occupancy into upperclass living spaces, and vice versa, as student preferences evolve.

The Committee believes strongly that Whitman College and, to whatever extent possible, the other four-year colleges, must be made maximally appealing in order to attract a representative cross-section of the student population. Common areas must be gracious. Such design elements as attractive lighting, spacious hallways and patios, access to outdoor green space, and other amenities will enable the four-year colleges to become one of the most attractive options at Princeton.

D. Dining

Dining is a key element of every successful residential college program, and it will be particularly critical to the success of the four-year colleges. In its deliberations on this matter, the Committee was keenly aware of the widespread perception among undergraduates that the food in Frist and the eating clubs is far superior to that in the residential colleges. Since our goal is to make four-year colleges an appealing option for a very wide range of students, the dining program must be of superior quality, and we must invest in our facilities to assure that they are up to the task.

The Committee identified several key principles to achieve this goal.

First, we must provide a flexible dining environment that supports our aspirations for building community in the residential setting.

Currently, freshmen and sophomores may choose to have a fourteen- or twenty-meal plan, and to purchase extra points for use at the Frist Campus Center. A majority of upperclass students join eating clubs and take all their meals there. Independent students prepare their meals in kitchens like those provided in suites at Spelman or in co-ops, or they purchase Frist points. Those upperclass students who choose to dine on campus purchase Frist dining points only, or they purchase Frist points and a small number of dining hall meals. In the current plan, there are constraints on the times of service and the locations where students may eat, and students are charged differentially based on the meal plans they choose. The plan is structured so that students "lose" meals that they miss. Students on the dining plan receive four guest meal passes a year.

Our visits to other campuses stimulated our imagination about ways to improve on this system. At Harvard, we saw that providing less flexibility for all students (i.e. , all students had to purchase a twenty-meal plan) allows for a more flexible environment overall. Meal hours there, and at Yale, are extended to 8:00 or even 10:00 p.m., and dining rooms are open beyond midnight for late night snacks and beverages. The dining rooms are used as open study and common space outside of dining hours, and the system of control during meal hours is less rigid than the check-in system currently in place at Princeton.

Students have many options for meal plans at Princeton, but these options ironically go hand in hand with a perceived rigidity and inflexibility in our dining arrangements. Despite the intention of enabling interchange between upperclass and underclass students, in practice meal exchanges are quite difficult to implement. The reality that entry into dining halls must be controlled and that everyone must be counted at all times constrains the spontaneity of decisions about where and when to eat, the ease of arranging cross-unit functions that involve food, the possibility of having food support academic functions in the colleges, and the physical layout of college serveries. The stated meal hours in the dining halls are not always a good match for students' academic and extracurricular obligations, or for their internal time clocks.

The Committee noted also that the differential pricing of meals is an anomaly at Princeton. There is no differential fee structure based on use for libraries, laboratories, number of courses, or recreational facilities. The Committee appreciates that differential pricing of meal contracts corresponds to the prevailing custom at many of our sister institutions, and, importantly, that it reflects a long history of trying to be responsive to student desires. However, the Committee sees the advent of the new college system as a moment to re-examine the basic premises behind our charges for meals and to contemplate some practical changes that will have profound effects on the collegiality and community we seek to foster. In particular, we believe that it is time to reconsider this policy and change the fee structure so that all students get some food as part of their housing plans.

The Committee strongly encourages further study and analysis of a new approach to dining at Princeton. In an ideal world, we would like to see the dining halls open without students having to be checked in. Students would come there frequently to enjoy meals and fellowship. Meal hours would be more flexible than at present, and there would be some food and beverages available well into the night. A dining plan worthy of consideration is a four-tier program that might look something like this: all freshmen and sophomores would be required to take +/- twenty meals; juniors and seniors in residence in the colleges would have a +/- fourteen-meal plan, with a partial "rebate" program for college residents who join eating clubs or provide proof of independent dining arrangements, so that they could divide their meals between the college and an eating club or the college and an independent arrangement; and nonresident juniors and seniors would be charged a fee, folded into tuition, which would cover receptions, snacks, and occasional meals in the college with which they were affiliated. Any new plan should feature simplicity of access, flexibility, opportunities for meal exchanges between colleges and clubs, numerous guest meal passes, and built-in points for Frist.

In any such plan, juniors and seniors resident in the colleges must take a sufficient number of meals there to function fully as participating members of their colleges. At the same time, the colleges should maintain a strong connection with eating clubs and independents. Thus, we propose to maintain, and if possible enhance, eating club/Dining Services meal exchanges. We also propose to explore further the possibility of a split meal contract option between the clubs and Dining Services.

The Committee appreciates the practical challenges of implementing the vision it has sketched above. It suggests that a subgroup of its members, plus selected other administrators (for example, the director of dining services and the senior vice president for administration), be charged to study this question and to make recommendations for a new dining plan for Princeton.

Second, the quality of food needs to be improved. While the current preparation and presentation of food in dining halls may compare favorably with peer institutions, there will need to be significant improvement for meals in the residential colleges to be viewed as comparable to what is provided in Frist and in the eating clubs. Such parity will be a critical factor in creating the attractive environment we hope to achieve in the colleges.

The Committee recommends that the University provide Dining Services with the resources to improve and upgrade the equipment in the kitchens and serveries of all five existing colleges; to enhance the quality control of meals; and to add higher-quality, fresh food products (recognizing that freshness and healthy preparation are highly valued by students). The Committee suggests also that Dining Services review both the range and variety of menu offerings and the timing of the menu cycle; ongoing consultation with college staff and students is critical in this process.

Third, we strongly recommend that the quality of the space in the existing dining halls, and the new dining hall in Whitman College, reflect high standards for furnishing, lighting, acoustics, and ambiance. The large common dining areas should be furnished graciously and should be designed to accommodate and be welcoming to intimate as well as larger-sized groups (the use of alcoves, smaller round tables, and booths would help to accomplish these objectives). There should be adjacent smaller dining areas (that is, one or more private dining rooms). Tables and chairs should be easily moveable. If feasible, the design of dining space should incorporate patios or other outdoor elements. The servery areas should be appealing and efficiently organized, as they are in contemporary marketplace settings, so that access is uncomplicated. They should be able to be closed at night, so that the dining rooms can remain open to students seeking only snacks or beverages. Those aspects of meal preparation that reflect mass production should not be on public display.

The Committee envisions a common room adjacent to the dining room, with comfortable couches and chairs to encourage lingering. Utilizing the dining rooms and the adjacent common room in the evenings for study groups, informal conversation, and study breaks is crucial to building community and ensuring that the colleges become attractive "homes," especially for juniors and seniors.

The dining subcommittee talked at some length with Stuart Orefice, director of dining services. It is clear that the dining hall spaces in the existing colleges will require significant renovation to bring them up to contemporary standards. Physical renovations in some of the existing colleges would need to occur in order to restrict access "after hours" to kitchen and servery areas, while enabling evening and late night dining hall use. Furthermore, the installation of special ovens and new food preparation stations is key to offering more entrée options, better quality, and better presentation. An unsustainable disparity would be created between Whitman and the other five colleges were these features not incorporated into existing facilities. If existing facilities are not renovated and we continue to permit students on a meal plan to dine in any location, Whitman will not be able to handle the numbers of students who will want to eat there. The Committee is convinced that these renovations are essential, that they should be undertaken in the near future, and that they will contribute to students' overall satisfaction with dining services.

Finally, in addition to these recommendations for the primary dining areas of the colleges, the Committee recommends some additional variety in dining spaces and options. Extended meal hours in the dining halls are a high priority. Each pair of colleges (or each one, if that is feasible) should have a small café/snack bar/sandwich shop, probably run by students, that would provide a limited menu well into the night. (That menu might include substantial fare, like pasta or pizza and sandwiches, as well as snack food, like leftover cakes, pastries, and other desserts from the dining hall.) A coffee/cappuccino bar or cart might be located in the common room adjacent to the dining room or in or near the recreational zone. We recommend a minimal number of kitchenettes in public access areas for use by undergraduates and resident graduate students (ideally, these might be located in close proximity to graduate student suites). The masters' kitchens may, as appropriate, serve as sites for students who are interested in baking or in preparing group meals.


IV. Priorities

The Committee has high ambitions for the new college system, and we recognize that considerable resources will be required to implement the recommendations in this report. In the event that resource constraints require that some choices be made among our proposals, we want to make our priorities plain. For this purpose, we can divide our recommendations into two categories, those that are absolutely essential to the success of the colleges, and those that, while less essential, would both enrich the life of the colleges and serve other important institutional needs. We also note instances where it might be possible to cut back somewhat on what we have proposed or give up some things altogether. And we conclude with a brief account of the cost savings that will be realized through some of our other proposals.

Highest-priority recommendations: Four elements are critical to the success of this enterprise. One is housing, by which we mean the size and attractiveness of living spaces, along with ancillary spaces that foster community and make for comfortable living (lounges, study spaces, laundry facilities, etc.). The dormitories need to be designed so that juniors and seniors are fully comfortable drawing into residential colleges. The four-year colleges should have the best rooms on campus for juniors and seniors.

The second critical element is dining -- quality of food, hours of availability, attractiveness of ambiance, and flexibility of dining arrangements. Dining is absolutely central to residential communities. The colleges will succeed in drawing juniors and seniors only if eating there does not require settling for less than they could find by eating somewhere else.

The third critical element is the decentralization into the residential colleges of advising and support for all juniors and seniors, both because it will allow the University to do a better job of meeting the academic and personal needs of all students, and because it provides the essential link between all juniors and seniors and the residential colleges, and (note 3) thus establishes an overall environment that will enable the four-year colleges to thrive.

A fourth element of the highest importance, different in kind from the other three, is the construction of masters' residences that are visually integrated into Butler, Whitman, and Wilson colleges.

Recommendations that serve other institutional needs: Several of our recommendations have the byproduct of addressing needs that currently exist on campus and will become even more pressing as the undergraduate student body grows Irrespective of plans for the colleges, the University will likely be obliged to find ways to meet those needs.. Locating those facilities in the colleges will thus simultaneously improve the colleges as well as benefit the University.

The first example is classrooms. We have proposed that each college have two classrooms and one conference room. The registrar has made plain that more classroom space will be needed to accommodate 500 additional undergraduates, and he sees the four-year colleges as a logical venue for new classrooms. Having more formal academic activities in the colleges, as we have argued, will enhance integration of the academic and non-academic aspects of undergraduate life at Princeton.

Additional rehearsal and performance space is a very high priority for undergraduates, and as the University decides what it can do to meet that demand (a demand that will only grow with the admission of additional students), the colleges provide a logical venue for these new facilities. Again, locating those facilities in residential colleges will plainly enrich the life of the colleges.

Student demand for library carrels regularly outruns the available supply, and with 500 additional undergraduates, the problem will become more acute. Locating those carrels in the four-year colleges would both meet a real institutional need and help to build an intellectual community among upperclass students in the residential colleges.

Where could we cut back? If absolutely necessary, the colleges could function with one classroom and one conference room apiece, although, as just noted, the campus-wide need for classrooms has to be dealt with in any case. The colleges could function with less rather than more elaborate performance facilities, but the University needs to decide, irrespective of the colleges, what facilities are really required to support rehearsal and performance for undergraduates. The colleges could manage without carrels for resident upperclass students, but the University will need to reckon with ways of providing sufficient carrels to match the expansion of the undergraduate student body.

Two of our facilities recommendations deserve particular scrutiny. For all the advantages of having fitness facilities in the colleges, they are expensive to equip, maintain, and staff, and it may be more practical in the end to expand the Stephens Fitness Center in Dillon Gym. For all the appeal of building a fixed-seat theater in Whitman, it will be expensive for the college to run, and it may be more sensible in the end to build a high-quality black box theater instead. (See note 4.)

Beyond facilities, if we were pressed to do so, what might we give up? The colleges might be able to manage with eight rather than ten graduate students in residence, but that would diminish the considerable benefits we believe will come through interaction between graduate students and undergraduates in the residential colleges, and with forty-eight rather than sixty graduate students in residence, the colleges would do less to mitigate the significant pressure on graduate student housing. As well, we could forgo having two faculty members in residence in each of the colleges, but those dozen faculty members would be paying rent to the University, and there continues to be a pressing need for faculty housing.

Cost savings: The Committee has deliberately built some cost savings into the proposals made in this report.

  1. Assistant Masters: Under the current system, we have ten assistant masters in the residential colleges. Each assistant master is currently paid a stipend of $9,500. Beyond that, the compensation depends on where the students stand in their programs of study. For enrolled graduate students, we pay the costs of tuition and student health insurance. For post-enrolled students, we pay the costs of employee-only health insurance, plus benefits on the stipend and the health insurance. The balance between enrolled and post-enrolled graduate students varies from year to year; in the year just past, seven of the assistant masters have been enrolled graduate students, but that number has also been as low as five or six in recent years. The total cost of assistant masters' tuition, stipends, and health insurance in FY02 was $289,300. As well, we pay the full-year rent for assistant masters' apartments in or near the residential colleges; in FY02, the rent for the ten apartments totaled $113,700. The elimination of the assistant master position will therefore yield significant savings: in FY02 dollars, $498,000 would no longer need to be expended from general funds. If one factors in the conversion of assistant master apartments into income-producing rental facilities, the total increment to general funds would be nearly $612,000.
  2. RAs and MAAs: Under the current system, there are sixteen RAs and MAAs in four of the five residential colleges; the fifth college has seventeen advisers because of its particular geographical configuration. Adviser compensation consists of a free dormitory room, a ten-meal contract, and the waiving of the residential college fee. The Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students pays the compensation for seventy-three of the eighty-one advisers; the residential colleges pick up the costs for the remaining eight. By reducing the number of advisers in the four-year colleges by three in each college, we will save nine adviser positions across the system (a reduction of six from the current total of eighty-one, with the additional savings coming by virtue of the fact that the incremental staffing required for Whitman will be at the reduced level of thirteen instead of the expected level of sixteen). Given that each adviser typically occupies two dormitory rooms instead of one, the cost savings here will also be significant: in FY02 dollars, $50,900.
  3. Senior Fellows: Under the current system, each residential college has a senior faculty fellow who is paid a stipend of $8,000. The elimination of these positions will yield more modest but still nontrivial cost savings: in FY02 dollars, $40,000.

Note 4. The report of the task force impaneled by President Shapiro to consider needs for, and the most effective use of, campus spaces for the performing arts should provide some useful guidance.


V. Conclusion

Recent decades have seen important changes that, by any measure, have enhanced the experience of Princeton's students. The Frist Campus Center provides the most compelling recent example. In 1979, the Report of the Committee on Undergraduate Residential Life laid the foundation for a transformation in undergraduate residential life when it recommended the establishment of the five freshman-sophomore residential colleges that have served Princeton exceptionally well for the last two decades. With the decision to expand the undergraduate student body and the commitment to the introduction of four-year colleges, the University has the opportunity to chart the course for a further transformation, which we are confident will serve Princeton equally well in the decades to come. Growth and change are hallmarks of great institutions. We believe that the new college plan elaborated here will marry the best of Princeton's traditional strengths with new structures and opportunities that will make the University even stronger. Mindful of the injunction of the Wythes Committee to make the expansion of the undergraduate student body the occasion for strengthening undergraduate education, we have made recommendations that are designed explicitly both to delineate the program for the new four-year colleges and, more broadly, to improve the lives of all undergraduates.

We believe that our proposals will insure the success of the new college plan at the same time that they accomplish larger purposes. As the student body grows, these proposals should assist the University in preserving and strengthening the personalized care, attention, and guidance that have been highly prized by generations of Princetonians. As students and parents expect more service and support from the University, these proposals will offer means of providing it. As national trends make the structuring and oversight of residential life more challenging than ever, the new college system we have outlined here will assure that Princeton is up to the task.



The Four-Year College Program Planning Committee

Lance A. Baird '03

Miguel Angel Centeno, Professor of Sociology; Master of Wilson College

Kai M. A. Chan, GS, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology; Assistant Master, Forbes College

Angela N. H. Creager, Associate Professor of History

Kathleen Deignan, Dean of Undergraduate Students

Janet Smith Dickerson, Vice President for Campus Life (co-chair)

Claire Fowler, Dean of Butler College (See note *5)

John G. Gager, Jr., William H. Danforth Professor of Religion

Joan S. Girgus, Professor and Chair, Department of Psychology

Rishi S. Jaitly '04

Jan H. Logan *78, Assistant to the Vice President for Campus Life (secretary)

Nancy Weiss Malkiel, Professor of History; Dean of the College (co-chair)

Christopher McCrudden, Treasurer

Sonya M. Mirbagheri '04

Shani Aminah Moore '02

Katherine T. Rohrer *80, Vice Provost for Academic Programs

Harvey S. Rosen, John L. Weinberg Professor of Economics and Business Policy

Daniel I. Rubenstein, Professor and Chair, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

William B. Russel, Arthur W. Marks '19 Professor of Chemical Engineering (See note 6)

Tara L. Ward '03

John F. Wilson, Agate Brown and George L. Collord Professor of Religion; Dean of the Graduate School