University News

Strategic plan draft to be unveiled this month

Faculty members and student groups will review Paxson’s drafted plan and give input by October

Senior Staff Writer
Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The University will distribute a draft of President Christina Paxson’s strategic plan and solicit feedback from faculty members and students later this month, Provost Mark Schlissel P’15 said during Tuesday’s faculty meeting. 

The draft was compiled last week after a special New York meeting of the Corporation, the University’s highest governing body, and a retreat with senior University administrators.

During the faculty meeting, administrators also presented reports about budget results for the last fiscal year and an overview of faculty hiring.

The strategic plan — a document expected to shape Paxson’s agenda over the next decade — will be distributed to faculty members and discussed at meetings of several committees and groups, such as the Faculty Executive Committee and the Undergraduate Council of Students.

The faculty will “bring comments together” to be reviewed by the Corporation at its annual October meeting, Schlissel said. Schlissel did not say whether the University will sponsor additional forums or gatherings to address the plan.

In her report of last year’s budget, Paxson said the University received a $320 million return on its endowment — a 12.6 percent return — a yield she characterized as unusually high.

“This was a good year,” she said. “We can’t expect this every year.”

Paxson added that the budget deficit for 2013 was $5.5 million, a figure significantly lower than the expected $9 million.

The University expects the deficit for fiscal year 2014 to be $4.3 million, though that number will likely increase due to “declines in external grants,” Paxson said.

Dean of the Faculty Kevin McLaughlin P’12 gave an overview of faculty hiring for the 2012-13 academic year. The yield rate for faculty recruiting was a “surprising” 97 percent, he said. In the 2011-12 academic year, 73 percent of faculty members the University recruited chose to come to Brown, and in the 2007-08 academic year, 44 percent came.

“The first reaction was glee, the second was fear,” McLaughlin said.

He added that 30 percent of the new hires are either women in science, technology, engineering and math or  faculty members who identify as underrepresented minorities. McLaughlin called the spike a result of efforts to increase racial and gender diversity among University faculty. According to data from 2011, about two-thirds of the faculty identified as male and about four-fifths identified as white.

Some departments with vacancies will postpone recruitment to fill positions for one year in order to “balance out” the large faculty yield from this year, McLaughlin said.


An previous version of this article stated the University raised $320 million and had a 12.6 percent endowment return. The $320 million was the 12.6 percent endowment return and did not represent money earned through fundraising.