The most recent regular meeting of the Board of Trustees and its committees took place on Friday and Saturday, November 2 and 3, on the Medford/Somerville campus. Major topics for the trustees’ review and action included academic programs, capital projects, budgets and financial planning.
The Academic Affairs Committee approved the promotion of the Consortium of Studies in Race, Colonialism and Diaspora (RCD) to the status of a department within the School of Arts and Sciences. The RCD department is set to be fully operational for the 2019-20 academic year. Trustees also approved the creation of a new Student Affairs Subcommittee of the Board’s standing committee on Academic Affairs. This new subcommittee will provide a locus for trustee discussion of issues bearing on Tufts’ commitment to promote an integrated and vital co-curricular experience for undergraduate, graduate, and professional students.
The Board of Trustees approved the creation of University College, which will enhance Tufts’ capacity to facilitate the development of new university-wide degree and non-degree programs and partnerships; reach new student populations. Reporting to Provost ad interim Deborah Kochevar, University College will be led by Joseph Auner, who has been appointed dean, and Karen Mulder, who will be the executive associate dean.
Capital projects to support faculty and student needs across the university were another central topic in the meetings. The trustees were updated on the status of capital projects on the Medford/Somerville campus, such as site preparations and design plans for the Cummings Building and progress on residential projects including the completion of the first phase of construction of CoHo, continued bed optimization across the residence halls, and renovations to Miller and Houston Halls. The Board of Projects authorized by the trustees included the planning phase for a donor-supported project to construct new squash courts.
Board members reviewed the university’s financial results for fiscal year 2018, which ended on June 30. While there was a modest university-wide surplus, revenues remain constrained and budgets tight in most of the individual Schools. Support from alumni, parents, and friends is critical to Tufts’ maintaining its academic momentum, and trustees dedicated significant discussion to the progress of the Brighter World: The Campaign for Tufts. Publicly launched in November 2017, as of the Board meeting Brighter World had raised more than $728 million of the $1.5 billion goal. The trustees also reviewed plans to engage young alumni and foster a culture of philanthropy.
During the Board’s plenary sessions on Friday, Board members engaged in an in-depth discussion of the shared governance model in higher education. Regular reflection on decision-making practices and authority helps optimize the effectiveness of the Board and the administration. Trustees are committed to active engagement with strategic planning and matters that shape university values and principles. Tufts is privileged to have thoughtful and deeply committed trustees who lend their experience and perspective to advance the university.
On Saturday, at the Board’s annual meeting, the trustees welcomed incoming Alumni Trustee Maria T. Madison, Sc.D, J82, AG88, A19P, A21P and recognized the service of Steven A. Goldstein, E76, Bruce D. Grossman, A85, A16P, A18P, A20P, Varney J. Hintlian, A72, A20P, Deborah Jospin, J80, A14P, and Brian H. Kavoogian, A84, all of whom were elected Trustee Emeritus. The Board also elected four new trustees: Lisa S. Anderson, FG74, John R. Ball, A86 A18P, Robert R. Gheewalla, A89, A18P, and Brian J. McCarthy, A75, A07P. During the weekend, the Academic Affairs, Administration and Finance, and University Advancement committees also welcomed new representatives from the TCU Senate, the student bodies of the graduate and professional schools, the faculty, and our alumni.