The University of Chicago News Office
March 8, 2005 Press Contact: Julia Morse
(773) 702-8359

President Randel awarded $500,000 for academic leadership

Credited with expanding undergraduate research opportunities and supporting innovative programs to improve K-12 education, University of Chicago President Don Michael Randel has received a $500,000 award for "Academic Leadership" from the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Announced on March 4, the inaugural Carnegie awards specifically honor university presidents for academic leadership. One of only three University presidents nationwide to receive the honor, Randel's award will support the University's "academic priorities" with the $500,000 award.

"These academic leaders have been articulate voices in defense of liberal arts, robust undergraduate education, the university's role in K-12 education and the university's commitment to their cities and communities," said Vartan Gregorian, Carnegie corporation president, and former Brown University president, in announcing the awards, which also were given to Henry Bienen (AM ’62, PhD ’66), president of Northwestern University, and Jared Cohon, president of Carnegie Mellon University.

The foundation cited, among other things, Randel’s leadership in enhancing undergraduate research opportunities and his work to create a unique school-community-university network on Chicago's South Side.

"Vartan Gregorian is a very astute observer of higher education, and that makes this award an especially satisfying honor," Randel said. "But this is really not so much an award for me personally as it is a recognition of the character of the University. A great many people, including deans, faculty, staff, and students, have contributed to the initiatives cited."

One aspect of Randel’s leadership that Gregorian noted was his support of undergraduate research. The University is one of the country’s most enthusiastic supporters of undergraduate research. And during the past several years, it has further expanded the breadth of research opportunities available to students in its undergraduate college. Programs such as the College Research Opportunities Program, the Jeff Metcalf internship program, and the Foreign Language Acquisition Grant program currently give hundreds of students in the College the chance to work closely with leading faculty researchers, both on and off campus.

The University has also made significant efforts to encourage undergraduate research abroad. Each summer, 100 students in the College fan out across the globe to pursue international research and language study as part of the FLAG program. And for the last several years the International Research Fellowships have permitted third-year students to travel to a foreign country to do research for their B.A. papers.

Gregorian also singled out Randel for his support of school reform initiatives. Not only has Randel been an enthusiastic supporter of the University's innovative charter school in Chicago’s North Kenwood community, he also has been a vigorous advocate of efforts to offer world-class academic opportunities to students in the Chicago Public Schools. Last fall, the University released ambitious plans to open a second charter school. And the University, through its Center for Urban School Improvement, could operate a total of five charter schools within the next few years. During Randel’s stewardship, the University also has launched the Collegiate Scholars Program, a college bridge program aimed at preparing Chicago public school students for elite academic institutions. Next year, more than 50 students in the three-year-old program will begin the college application process.

Randel received the award from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, which was created by Andrew Carnegie in 1911 to promote "the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding."
Last modified at 05:09 PM CST on Friday, March 11, 2005.

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