Dear Faculty and Staff Colleagues,

I hope you had a restful and enjoyable Thanksgiving.

On Friday, November 11 and Saturday, November 12, the Board of Trustees visited campus for its first regular meeting under the new committee structure outlined in my update from the September board conference call. At this meeting, the board formally endorsed this new board structure and meeting format. No official action was expected or taken during this meeting, but the committees met for the first time to initiate their work, and so with this update I will summarize the new structure.

These changes in board format will provide more time at each meeting for the board to be in plenary sessions as a committee of the whole to satisfy the board's strong desire to engage in shared discussion about major institutional decisions. The new structure has reduced the board committees from thirteen to seven, with sub-committees that will evolve over time as necessary to address board business. The seven committees are as follows:

  • Academic Affairs and Campus Life Committee - focusing on the University's academic life, including faculty tenure and promotion, and campus co-curricular and extra-curricular programs. This committee combines the previously separate Academic Affairs Committee and Student Affairs Committee.
  • Audit, Compliance and Risk Management Committee - focusing on the University's legal, risk management, and state and federal government reporting obligations.
  • Development and External Relations Committee - focusing on the University's fundraising, constituent relations and governmental relations.
  • Executive Committee - comprised of the primary committee chairs and at-large appointees, the Executive Committee is authorized to act on behalf of the board between regular meetings.
  • Finance Committee - focusing on the University's budget.
  • Investment Committee - focusing on the University's endowment portfolio.
  • Trusteeship Committee - focusing on the retention and recruitment of trustees.

Because board committees have changed, we must also reset faculty and student representation accordingly. On behalf of board chair Ken Freeman and the board, I have asked Tony Massoud, chair of the faculty, to work with the Faculty Council to appoint appropriate faculty representation to the appropriate board committees, and I have asked BSG to identify the student representatives for the appropriate committees.

The board also formalized its new meeting schedule. The full board will now meet in October and April, and January (off campus). This schedule will allow us to devote sufficient time between meetings to the business directed by the board, and to engage board members more fully in meetings given the new committee structure. Next October's board meeting will be held on Homecoming weekend, during which we will also publicly launch the comprehensive campaign.

On the Friday night of the board's visit, we finally were able to hold the Academic Year Kick-off dinner that had been postponed in September due to the flooding. It is important that we bring faculty and trustees together at these events, and I am grateful to the many faculty and staff colleagues who joined the trustees for this enjoyable occasion.

With best wishes for the conclusion of the semester,

John

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