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Dean of Admissions presents on admissions statistics to Faculty Meeting

By Celia Young

Section: News

February 2, 2018

Dean of Admissions Jennifer Walker presented statistics on the class of 2021 and Brandeis recruitment process at a Jan. 26 Faculty Meeting. The talk also featured discussion of the upcoming Board of Trustees meetings and tributes to faculty who had passed away in the last year.

The university admitted 4,040 students to the class out of 11,721 applications. Overall, there were 3.3 percent more applicants than last year with a 4.1 percent increase in international applications and a 2.5 percent increase in domestic applications.

The admission rate was 34.2 percent for this year, up slightly from 33.5 percent last year, but down from 42.7 percent in 2009, according to last year’s admissions statistics presentation to faculty.

Walker discussed the different types of applicants admitted. Thirty-five percent of this first-year class applied early decision, a 3.3 percent increase from last year according to Walker’s presentation.

Out of those who applied early decision, Brandeis admitted 42 percent. Of regular decision applicants, Brandeis accepted 11 percent of international applicants and 42 percent of domestic applicants.

Walker also gave an overview of the profile of the class of 2021, detailing that 73 percent of students come from outside of New England and 19 percent are international students. Fourteen percent of the class is first generation, and 17 percent are eligible for federal Pell Grants.

According to Walker, 30 percent of the class of 2021 are non-white, though that statistic does include students who chose not to specify their race on their applications. Walker stated that the unspecified contribution to the statistic was “negligible.”

With regard to recruitment, Walker emphasized that she hopes to increase the use of technology, such as virtual panels and virtual high school visits, to recruit students.

After the presentation, Prof. Bernadette Brooten (NEJS) asked about the differences in admission between international and domestic students. Walker responded that international applications are need-aware, meaning readers of the applications are aware of the amount of financial aid being applied for, while readers are unaware of the amount of aid applied for by domestic applicants.

A faculty member asked what schools students chose over Brandeis and students who chose to transfer out of Brandeis. Walker explained that Brandeis loses students to other research universities, and that it depends on the student. She also stated that the transfer rate has been relatively stable.

Also at the meeting, Provost Lisa Lynch read President Ron Liebowitz’s report, as he was out with the flu. The report discussed the Board of Trustees January gathering, which, according to the remarks, would contain a meeting with students over lunch and in a panel setting to discuss issues that are important to the student body. Members of the panel included the Student Union president and vice president.

The board meeting was also expected to consider a presentation by faculty, students and staff on divestment from fossil fuels. The board would also consider the proposal for new general education requirements. The president did not expect a decision on either issue at this meeting, according to the remarks read by Lynch.

Lynch also discussed her goals as provost. Lynch focused on advancing conversation at Brandeis through the open meetings on Brandeis’ future, an upcoming self-study from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) to identify strengths and weaknesses of the university, filling vacant positions and advancing the new general education requirements.

Other goals included encouraging faculty application for research grants. The provost teaching and research awards budget is expected to increase to about $250,000 and teaching innovation grants are also expected to increase. Lynch also aims to address student mental health through faculty meetings and mentioned the upcoming Leonard Bernstein 100th anniversary.

The meeting began with three tributes to faculty members who had passed away. First was a tribute to Steve Gendzier (ROMS) presented by Michael Randall (FREN, ECS, COML). Randall described Gendzier as active in the community and a humanitarian. He then read an anonymous letter from a student praising Gendzier for helping them appreciate dense works of literature. Gendzier worked at Brandeis from 1962 to 2001 and passed away Jan. 17 this year.

Carolyn Cohen (BIOL) was described next by Gwendolyn Beinfield (BIOL, NBIO), who highlighted her position as one of the first women in science at Brandeis. Cohen was hired in 1972 and taught at Brandeis until 2012. Beinfield described Cohen as “stubborn, uncompromising, and very eccentric,” praising her legacy in biology. Cohen passed away on Dec. 20, 2017.

John Lisman’s (NBIO) tribute, given by Leslie Griffith (BIOL, NBIO), described Lisman as a talented biologist, photographer and conversationalist. Griffith emphasized his love of teaching, noting that he gave his last lecture by Skype while in the ICU of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. Lisman passed away of a lung infection on Oct. 20, 2017.

Several new faculty members were introduced at the faculty meeting, including Sarah Berg, the director of Sexual Assault Services and Prevention, Don Greenstein, a member of Brandeis Ombuds, and Allyson Livingstone, the new director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Education, Training, and Development.

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