Among the many events marking the end of the year was the Board of Trustees meeting from May 16-19. The May meeting is always a unique opportunity for our Trustees both to conduct regular business and to engage with the entire Tufts Community during Commencement weekend.
During its Friday plenary session, the Board heard about the progress on the Strategic Plan —Tufts: The Next 10 Years (T10)—and engaged in small-group discussions on the student experience, with a focus on online and digital education. As online and digital education have come to the fore of international discussion about higher education, it was important for the Board to discuss Tufts’ stance with regard to evolving educational models. In its business meeting on Saturday, the Board heard an update on the Tufts Effectiveness in Administrative Management (TEAM) initiative, which has completed its assessment of our current operating practices. It also approved a restructuring of the Office of University Counsel: Mary R. Jeka will now serve as General Counsel, in addition to her role as Senior Vice President for University Relations, in recognition of her role as the university’s senior legal officer and supervisor of the Office of University Counsel.
Three of the Board’s committees also met on Friday afternoon. The Academic Affairs Committee discussed the preliminary recommendations from the Council on Diversity with respect to the undergraduate student experience. The Administration and Finance Committee approved a balanced university budget for the coming fiscal year, and heard a student presentation on challenges facing Tufts graduates in a competitive job market, which had been postponed from the February meeting due to the blizzard. Finally, the University Advancement Committee discussed crisis communications in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings and their aftermath, and alumni engagement and lifelong learning in the T10 Strategic Plan; it also heard a student presentation on entrepreneurship and innovation activities, likewise postponed from the February meeting. The student presentations are particularly special to the Board, as they allow the Trustees to hear directly from undergraduates about their experiences, challenges, and accomplishments at Tufts and beyond. The Board is always grateful for the opportunity to hear these thoughtful and impressive presentations, connecting the Board’s work even more closely with the community of learners they serve.
The May meeting was preceded by one of the Board’s periodic retreats, which took place in late March. These more informal gatherings present the board with time to engage even more deeply with important issues facing Tufts. At this retreat, the Board had a chance to discuss in depth the evolving T10 Strategic Plan, with an eye to the emerging vision for Tufts. The Prelude to the Strategic Plan, released in March prior to the retreat, played a key role in these discussions.
We are extremely fortunate to be served by such a thoughtful, generous, and committed Board of Trustees. It is thanks to our Trustees’ dedication to our students, faculty, and scholarship that Tufts can continue to do important work. I look forward to continuing our productive engagement with the Board in the year ahead.