Corporation to meet this weekend

Internationalization, construction on agenda

By
Friday, October 12, 2007

At its regular fall meeting this weekend, the Corporation, the University’s highest governing body, will focus on construction plans and hear reports on internationalization, the Task Force on Undergraduate Education and faculty hiring. The University also plans to announce the appointment of the new vice president for international affairs this weekend.

The Corporation will discuss a number of building projects slated for completion in the next few years, possibly finalizing sites for the proposed Creative Arts Center and a cognitive and linguistic sciences building and discussing architect selection for upcoming renovations that will turn Faunce House into the Stephen Robert Campus Center, said Secretary of the University Al Dahlberg and Director of Media Relations Molly de Ramel.

The Corporation will also decide how to accommodate plans for a new swim center in the University budget, said Elizabeth Huidekoper, executive vice president for finance and administration, in an interview last week.

The Herald reported Wednesday that plans for a new aquatics facility – necessary after the Smith Swim Center was closed last year due to structural instability – may have led University officials to table plans to construct new student housing.

The University’s internationalization efforts will also play a prominent role this weekend. Provost David Kertzer ’69 P’95 P’98 will focus on the subject in his report to the Corporation’s Committee on Academic Affairs, Dahlberg said, and the University plans to announce this weekend its selection for the newly created position of vice president for international affairs.

First announced in October 2006, internationalization is expected to be a top administration priority in coming years. The announcement of a vice president represents the next major step forward in that effort and has been anticipated since early September, when the University’s internationalization committee released its final report.

University officials had identified a final candidate as early as this summer, but ongoing negotiations and administrative hurdles have prevented an official announcement.

In its strategic planning session this afternoon, the Corporation will hear an update on the work of the Task Force on Undergraduate Education from its chair, Dean of the College Katherine Bergeron. Launched in March, that group is due to conclude its comprehensive assessment of the undergraduate College with recommendations in the spring.

President Ruth Simmons “doesn’t want the administration to go to the Corporation and say, ‘Here’s what we’ve done,’ ” Dahlberg said of the task force. “She wants a process involving many different constituencies from around the University.”

Tonight, following that session, the Corporation will host a dinner in Sayles Hall to discuss education and campus life at Brown, a theme designed to fit with its earlier discussion of undergraduate education. Approximately 60 students are among the invitees, Dahlberg said. “The idea is to the make sure there’s an opportunity for dialogue,” he said.

Simmons, herself a member of the Corporation, always addresses her colleagues at their tri-annual meetings.

Marisa Quinn, assistant to the president, said Simmons’ remarks would echo those she made at last week’s faculty meeting, which called for the University to pause and reassess the progress of the Plan for Academic Enrichment, the wide-ranging blueprint that has provided the backbone for Simmons’ presidency since it was first announced in 2002.

At the faculty meeting, Simmons said she expected to report the results of that reassessment to the Corporation in February.

Among the major initiatives set out by the plan is an aggressive expansion of the faculty, and Corporation members will hear a report on the progress of that effort this weekend.

This meeting is also the first led by Chancellor Thomas Tisch ’76. He recently took over leadership of the Corporation from Stephen Robert ’62 P’91, whose nine-year tenure concluded in June.

The schedule for the weekend calls for the Corporation to break into smaller committees today, followed by the strategic session and dinner later in the day. Tomorrow, the entire Corporation will gather for its general business meeting, when it will conduct official business, including accepting large gifts and naming endowed professorships.

The Corporation will meet again in February and May.