Trustees gather for weekend retreat
By Stephanie Mc Feeters, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Monday, September 17, 2012
Members of the Board of Trustees gathered for their first meeting of the academic year Sept. 14-16 to discuss the College’s strategic planning process and outline the year ahead, according to Director of Media Relations for the College Justin Anderson.
The trustees met with Interim College President Carol Folt and other senior members of the administration this weekend to consider the future of strategic planning — a process that has been ongoing for 18 months and that aims to improve the College’s educational methods — and student life policies, according to Anderson.
The trustees did not address the College’s presidential search as part of their retreat given that former College President Jim Yong Kim’s replacement is being sought by the separate Presidential Search Committee, established in May and led by trustee Bill Helman ’80.
“The Board is concerned with making sure that Dartmouth is moving in the right direction,” Anderson said.
The trustees emphasized the importance of expanding the faculty and improving students’ educational experience inside and outside the classroom, preparing students to learn continually even after graduation, Anderson said. Strategic planning requires ongoing cooperation and revisions to ensure that the College continues to progress academically.
“It has been a collaborative and comprehensive process that is really trying to capture the aspirations of the community,” he said.
In addition, the Board discussed and voted to support Dean of the College Charlotte Johnson’s harm reduction initiatives, which deal primarily with combating hazing.
“The Board voted unanimously in favor of the administration’s initiative to reduce high-risk behaviors and increase student safety and success,” Anderson said.
The weekend’s meeting marked the Board’s first meeting with Folt since she assumed the role of interim president. Folt’s prior work as provost, familiarity with the strategic planning initiative and strong working relationship with Chairman of the Board Stephen Mandel ’78 and other trustees contributed to the “seamlessness of the transition,” Anderson said.
The Board also welcomed five new members — Nathaniel Fick ’99, David Hodgson ’78, Richard Kimball ’78, Laurel Richie ’81 and Ben Wilson ’73 — to its meeting after they were chosen as trustees this summer, according to Anderson.
During the retreat, the trustees attended the opening ceremony of the Black Family Visual Arts Center, hiked in the area surrounding the Dartmouth Skiway and celebrated the College’s first football game of the season. Many also attended Yo-Yo Ma’s concert in Spaulding Auditorium on Thursday night.
The Board anticipates that the presence of the VAC will expand artistic opportunities for students on campus, serving as an anchor for the Arts District much as the Class of 1978 Life Sciences Center acts as a hub of scientific activity on the north side of campus, he said.
The Board will meet again in November to discuss plans for the year in more detail, Anderson said.
Anderson said that Board members were unavailable for comment, and individual trustees contacted by The Dartmouth could not be reached for comment by press time.