Board of Trustees update highlights infrastructure condition, campus climate survey

January 10, 2020

The Brandeis Campus Operations team and outside consultants are currently assessing the physical condition of more than 100 campus buildings and the ability for those buildings to meet the university’s needs, according to President Ron Liebowitz in an email to the community on Dec. 9 2019

Dick Reynolds, the former interim vice president for campus operations, presented the Board of Trustees with the findings from the Framework’s Task Force on Focused Physical Planning. 

The main areas of focus for the assessments were to ensure buildings were accessible all around campus and that sustainability measures were met in conjunction with Brandeis’ Climate Action Plan. There is also a focus on expanding buildings in the sciences, social sciences, humanities and the International Business School (IBS) to increase academic collaboration between disciplines and an innovation hub within IBS. Improvements to art studios and offices, performance spaces and residence halls were also discussed.

Liebowitz also said that he anticipates releasing the Framework report during the spring semester, with the Board of Trustees looking to approve the report in early 2020. The reports produced by the task forces within the framework will also be made available to the public on the Framework’s website in early 2020. 

The Board of Trustees was also updated on the most recent Campus Climate Survey, which looks at issues of sexual harassment and assault on campus, factors contributing to feelings of alienation by students and what is being done to improve the climate on campus, according to the email. 

The university has increased support resources for students, staff and faculty members through the Ombuds Office, the Gender and Sexuality Center and the Intercultural Center. The creation of the Office of Equal Opportunity, led by Dr. Sonia Jurado, handles the investigation and resolution of any reports of discrimination, harassment and sexual misconduct, according to an earlier Hoot article. The university is also working towards updating the “Support at Brandeis” webpage which provides “a singular source of support resource information,” according to the email

In a listening session hosted by the administration after the release of the survey, a student expressed concerns for the “study’s failure to assess the trends in sexual violence among students with disabilities,” according to an earlier Hoot article

Elizabeth Johnson, the CEO of SimpsonScarborough, presented findings from a study that aimed to “establish benchmarks of Brandeis’ brand strength, to identify marketing challenges and opportunities, to assess the brand narrative developed for the university in the last year, and to support the development of even more effective marketing, recruiting, and fundraising strategies.” 5000 prospective students, alumni, parents, philanthropists, friends of the university and leaders of peer institutions were surveyed as part of the study.  

The university provides “students with [a] liberal arts foundation that fosters their intellectual growth and skills development,” according to the email. The university is also an institution that is shaped by “rigorous inquiry and critical thinking” and “produces important, daring, and consequential knowledge and research.”  The university was also praised for having students, graduates and faculty members who are able to apply their talents to improve the world around them.
SimpsonScarborough is a “national leader in higher education research, marketing, and branding,” according to their website.

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