Report on October 5-6, 2012 Board of Trustee Meetings

Posted: October 23, 2012

On Saturday, October 6, the Board of Trustees held its first quarterly meeting of the academic year. While much of the meeting was devoted to beginning-of-the-year housekeeping issues related to the work of the Board, I want to share highlights that might be of interest to faculty, students, and staff. In addition to the Board meeting, several Board committees also met on Friday, October 5, namely, Buildings and Grounds, Institutional Advancement, Educational Policy, Student Affairs, and Nominations and Governance. I will rely on the FEC and SAS representatives to convey information regarding those committee discussions to their respective groups as appropriate.

Each fall, the Board of Trustees invites the president of the Scripps Associated Students (SAS) to give an update on SAS’s plans and priorities for the year. At the October 6 Board of Trustees meeting, Emily Jovais discussed a number of important SAS initiatives including the creation of an SAS Hall Senate to replace the Hall Council. Emily explained that the responsibilities of the senators include monthly meetings, planning and hosting dorm events, and serving on at least one committee. The Senate will work hand-in-hand with Resident Advisors, Peer Mentors, and Hall Directors to achieve its goals. Emily also talked about the management and development of the Student Union and its role as a central gathering place for students. She then discussed SAS’ important initiatives including building an understanding of the campus climate and gathering survey data to support the mission of PACDI.

Also on the agenda for the Board meeting was an update from the Buildings and Grounds Committee on the schematic design for the new residence hall, including a slide show presentation by the College’s architect, Elizabeth Moule of Moule & Polyzoides. As you may recall, over the past several years, the plan for a new residence hall has had many changes and revisions in its site, size, program and costs. At its May 12, 2012 meeting, the Board of Trustees approved funding for architectural and consultant fees in order to move forward with the Schematic Design phase for a building with no less than 75 and preferably 90-100 beds, space for future expansion, in the Scripps style, and at a total cost of $15 million. The schematic design presented to the Board – which was within budget – included the following key features:

  • 75 student beds of which two-thirds are singles within a suite configuration; the remaining beds are in double bedrooms in two different wings of the project.
  • No basement.
  • A one-bedroom apartment for a residence hall director.
  • Standard Scripps amenities including a living room, kitchen/recreation room, browsing room, laundry room, and computer room.
  • Expansion space, including what is referred to as the “Add Alternate,” which, if built, would add approximately 6-7 beds.

B&G recommended to the Board that it approve advancing to the next phase in the project life cycle – design development. While approving design development is the next step in the process of moving the building to construction, it is not a vote to construct the project. The decision to move forward with construction will be made by the Board at a later date after consideration of an overall funding plan. After some discussion, the Board approved moving forward with design development of the project as presented in the schematic design and including the Add Alternate portion described above. I will keep everyone posted as this project continues to unfold.

We were excited to let trustees know that Sandy Baum, professor of economics emerita at Skidmore and currently Independent Policy Analyst for The College Board, will visit the College on November 6 and 7, 2012. Dr. Baum has written extensively on issues relating to college access, college pricing, student aid policy, student debt, affordability, and other aspects of higher education finance. There will be more details to come, but Dr. Baum will speak at a community meeting on Tuesday, November 6, from 4:15-5:00pm in the Hampton Room. We hope you will note this date on your calendars and plan to attend the meeting.

Last, but most certainly not least, I am thrilled to announce that the Board approved the reappointment of Amy Marcus-Newhall as Vice President for Academic Affairs  & Dean of the Faculty for a five-year term effective July 1, 2013. Please join me in congratulating Amy and thanking her for her continued service to the College!

Lori Bettison-Varga
President

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