Goucher College, in Towson, Maryland, is an excellent liberal arts college. Founded as a women’s college, it went coed in 1987 and is now close to the 60/40 female/male split that is typical at our undergraduate institutions. Phi Beta Kappa established a chapter on campus only 20 years after the college was founded, and the college ranks among the top 50 in turning out students who obtain Ph.D.’s in the sciences. A biochemistry and molecular biology program has been recently added.
On a lovely spring day, the Goucher campus was beautiful. Lots of redbud trees were in bloom. Most of the buildings are constructed of fieldstone, giving it a handsome, traditional college feel.
Goucher has a new president, Jose Antonio Bowen, who has a refreshingly different background as college presidents go – he’s a jazz pianist. He taught jazz music at Stanford and was dean of the arts school at Southern Methodist before coming to Goucher in 2014. Students are impressed by how frequently he meets with small groups of them. (We caught him in the act – see photo below). He was the keynote speaker at our IECA conference and spoke passionately about the need for professors to engage with students.
Goucher has no Greek organizations. The residential units organize many social events. Alcohol is OK on campus for those of legal age.
Study abroad is required of all students; there are various ways to fulfill this requirement, from a brief experience to a year studying abroad. Students must also complete a three-credit internship.
Students who want to get the benefits of a liberal arts education and then study engineering can take advantage of Goucher’s 3-2 program with nearby Johns Hopkins. Participants do three years at Goucher, majoring in a science, and then two years at Johns Hopkins in an intensive engineering program. This results in a BS from Goucher in either physics, math, computer science, or chemistry and a BS from Johns Hopkins in one of five engineering fields. (These people get good jobs!) For more details, see http://tinyurl.com/Goucher3-2.
Goucher says that 83% of their premed candidates are admitted to med school and that they do not weed out who they will support with recommendations to the med schools (as some colleges do).
For fall of 2015, the college is admitting 400 new students; 25% are recruited athletes. One of President Bowen’s innovations last year was allowing applicants for admission to submit a “video application.” This got national publicity for the school and seems to have worked out well in its first year. Corky Surbeck, the director of admissions, told us that of the 64 video applications they received, 48 resulted in letters of admissions and 21 of those chose to enroll. Subsequent review of the transcripts of those admitted via the video route showed that those admitted were fully qualified. So, they are continuing the video option for this coming year’s applicants.
For more data, please see the College Board page for Goucher