BrandeisPlans was a great step forward in the process of empowering students in changing Brandeis. The idea of a forum open equally to every member of the Brandeis community was simple but brilliant, and it really hadn’t existed in any shape before. However, the wiki format makes it more suited to collecting and sharing broad ideas than for detailed discussion, so the ability for collaboration among students, faculty, staff, and administration was still far from complete.
Thankfully, BrandeisPlans was only the first step. The Committee on Academic Restructuring has proven to be just as open as we could have hoped, and they have introduced a new series of online forums hosted by My Brandeis and covering the most discussed ideas for curricular improvement. Four of the forums correlate to the current subcommittees of CARS: Third Semester Plan, Degree Requirements and Advising, Business Major, and Recruiting and Admissions. The fifth correlates to the steering committee itself and can presumably be used to discuss issues other than the aforementioned.
The third semester and degree requirement boards have gotten by far the most activity, but I hope that all five will soon see robust debate. The forums are incredibly important. Now, every single member of the Brandeis community is part of the academic discussion. Cutting significant costs while maintaining or even improving our world-class academics is an enormous challenge, but with the intellect of the entire Brandeis community working in tandem, I am confident that it can be done.