Our Board of Trustees’ final meeting of the academic year took place immediately preceding Commencement and alumni reunions in May.
The Board devoted significant time to central issues affecting our academic mission. Vice Provost for Research Simin Meydani and a number of faculty colleagues led a comprehensive discussion of the development of our forthcoming strategic plan for research and scholarship, which will be released to the university community in the fall, providing a roadmap for strategic support of thematic areas with the potential to have powerful impact at Tufts and in the world. Board members were impressed by the highly participatory nature of the planning process. Support for research was also an important topic for the Committee on University Advancement, which discussed how Tufts works to support faculty research through both fundraising and media relations efforts.
The Administration and Finance Committee and its subcommittee on Buildings and Grounds dedicated significant attention to budgets and capital plans. In line with trends nationwide, Tufts’ operating margins remain tight, constraining our resources to support programmatic growth, and construction and renovation projects. We are currently expecting that the 2017-18 fiscal year will show a very modest surplus. The budget for the coming fiscal year, which the Board approved in May, is balanced. We appreciate the continuing efforts of faculty and staff to ensure that academic units and administrative divisions work efficiently and make careful, strategic choices about resource allocation. Looking ahead, the Board and administration share the goal of continuing to strengthen the university’s operating performance while advancing our academic mission and further enhancing access and affordability. In May, the trustees also reviewed progress on capital projects to advance our agenda for undergraduate residential life, to repurpose Barnum/Dana, and enhance infrastructure on the Medford/Somerville and Boston-Health Sciences campuses.
We are fortunate to have an outstandingly dedicated Board; their individual and collective commitment to Tufts has led to strong and effective trustee governance and helpful and thoughtful advice to the administration on critical issues of policy. Our trustees’ personal support for our faculty and students was evident throughout the Commencement and reunion events that followed the Board meetings.