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Second Commission on Undergraduate Education (CUE2)


To ensure Johns Hopkins continues to evolve and improve the way it prepares undergraduate students for future success, President Daniels and Provost Kumar convened a Second Commission on Higher Education (CUE2) in 2017. Building upon the work completed by the inaugural Commission on Undergraduate Education in 2002, CUE2’s charge was to interpret the mission of an undergraduate education in the 21st century and develop a new model that will serve us for the next decade or more. The commission was asked to think broadly and creatively about (1) how to support and encourage students to define their own education by allowing them to explore and pursue their own interests, (2) how to create a holistic curricular, co-curricular, and extracurricular experience, and (3) how to develop the pedagogy and infrastructure needed to support these objectives. The commission was urged to be fearless in questioning the assumptions behind traditional models and approaches and be ambitious with its recommendations.

Over the course of three years, the Commission, comprised of nearly 30 faculty, staff, undergraduate students, and alumni analyzed and evaluated peer best practices, recommendations from external higher education experts, relevant institutional data, scholarly literature and community feedback obtained through multiple channels (town halls, email submissions, focus groups). Those deliberations culminated in a draft report that was shared with the Hopkins community in early 2020. Relevant feedback was incorporated into the final report, which was released in November 2020.



1. Redesign the undergraduate curriculum to provide foundational abilities for life-long flourishing and learning.

   1a. Require participation in a first-year seminar.

   1b. Establish the “Hopkins Semester” of intensive study.

   1c. Meaningfully integrate curricular, co-curricular, and extracurricular learning.

   1d. Ensure instruction in 6 foundational abilities:

  • Students should recognize the importance of language and have a command of it as readers, writers and speakers.
  • Students should develop facility with scientific, numerical and algorithmic reasoning and be able to use computational and analytical methods.
  • Students should recognize the importance of complex creative expressions and cultivate their intellectual and emotional responses to aesthetic and cultural experiences.
  • Students should engage effectively as citizens of a diverse world informed by an understanding of historical inequities, bigotry, prejudice and racism in our society.
  • Students should be reflective, effective ethical agents.
  • Students should be able to independently conceptualize and complete large-scale, consequential projects.

2. Increase the flexibility of the major requirements where needed to enable intellectual exploration.

3. Enable professional school faculty to teach undergraduates more easily and often and facilitate the enrollment of undergraduates in our professional schools.

Teaching and Learning

4. Provide students with an integrated partnership of faculty mentors, staff advisors, and life design counselors.

5. Improve course-based learning assessment methods and encourage grading policies that assess student performance relative to well-articulated academic standards.

6. Establish a new system for the assessment of teaching and student mentoring by faculty.

Second Commission on Undergraduate Education final report

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