Framework for the Future approved by Board of Trustees, Framework initiatives to drive future projects

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February 28, 2020

The Board of Trustees has approved the Framework for the Future, the strategic vision for Brandeis that was announced by President Ron Liebowitz in Nov. 2018, according to an email sent out by Liebowitz to the Brandeis community

Over 500 members of the Brandeis community helped to contribute to the framework’s process, which included 11 different task forces and working groups. “The Framework for the Future is a bold plan for Brandeis University—one that challenges all of us to build upon our history, strengths, and institutional ethos for the coming decades,” wrote Liebowitz in the email from Feb. 18

The full report is available to the Brandeis community on the Framework for the Future website. The report outlines strategic objectives for the university to fulfill, including the Brandeis academic value proposition and re-engaging Brandeis’ founding ethos, according to the Final Framework report.

To meet the objectives, the university said that it plans to expand the amount of faculty on campus, opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students with research and availability for students to resources. These resources include career services, mental health support and counseling. According to the report, the university will also develop a more integrated approach to advising, physical health, career services and spiritual life. 

The university will also be targeting areas for “renovation and renewal” for infrastructural changes that will occur on campus, according to the report.

The report highlights the university’s intention to expand student life on campus by enriching the student experience through integration and inclusion. The report acknowledges that many alumni do not have a positive remembrance of their student experience at Brandeis due to a lack of inclusion. This disparity will be addressed by highlighting the accomplishments of the university, which act as symbols that define the university’s core values of inclusion, according to the report. 

As part of the Framework, the university is working towards implementing three major projects to help improve the university. The Springboard Funding Plan was announced in fall 2019, which increases the university’s operating budget by $84.7 million over three years. These funds helped the university hire at least 15 new faculty and staff members and add resources to different departments “that will be critical in meeting day-to-day operations and in implementing and sustaining the goals of the Framework,” wrote Liebowitz. 

The task forces and working groups within the Framework provided the senior administration with over 250 recommendations to improve the university, which they are looking to implement in the future. 

Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer Sam Solomon, Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Jen Walker and Assistant Vice President of Student Financial Services Sherri Avery presented to the board about recent changes that have been made to student aid awards and “the financial challenges undergraduates face despite the university’s current commitment to ‘meeting the full demonstrated need’ of each student,” according to the email. 

Provost Lisa Lynch presented the results of the Faculty Work Life Survey to the Board, showing that the university ranks higher than other peer universities “in overall job satisfaction among faculty, the intellectual life on campus, university leadership and strategic direction, and involvement in decision making,” wrote Liebowitz.

The report also reported lower levels of satisfaction around issues of scholarly work and compensation. Liebowitz explained that the Springboard investments and Framework initiatives will help to alleviate these concerns. 

Vice Provost of Students Affairs Raymond Ou and Director of Athletics Lauren Haynie both presented action plans relating to student life and athletics, respectively. Ou is working towards “defining measurable goals and programming related to student mental health, extending the Orientation experience throughout the first year, and aligning his office’s goals with the Framework initiatives,” he told the Board of Trustees.

Haynie is also developing an action plan that focuses “on facilities, the management of time and financial resources and external relationships and communication,” she told the Board of Trustees. 

The trustees spoke more on the “major capital campaign” that was announced in the fall, said Liebowitz. “This planning includes internal efforts to identify existing funds that can kick-start some of the highest-priority Framework initiatives as we complete our planning to lay the groundwork for such a campaign.”

The Institutional Advancement Committee learned more about part of a new capital campaign set-up, “One Brandeis: A Strategic Plan for Alumni Engagement.” The forthcoming capital campaign was developed through “the collaborative efforts of Alumni Association leadership, the Office of Alumni Relations, and a number of campus partners,” Liebowitz wrote. 

A new gift acceptance policy is also in the works, which will help the university determine how to spend any significant donations that are made to the university. This new policy “provides greater clarity around which gifts are acceptable to the university, and lays out new processes to ensure that all accepted gifts fully benefit the university,” according to the email. 

The new Ad Hoc Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, led by Chief Diversity Officer Mark Brimhall-Vargas, is currently working to determine the types of data that they will track over time and develop a procedure that will help the Board of Trustees know what types of initiatives and challenges are happening on campus. 

Five faculty members also approved the promotion of five professors. Professor Eva Bellin (POL) was promoted to professor with tenure. Professor Joshua Goodman (ECON), Professor Leah Gordon (EDU), Professor Jonathan Touboul (MATH) and Leah Wright Rigueur (HIST) were all appointed to associate professor with tenure. 

Robin Switzer was named the new Vice President of Human Resources, according to Liebowitz’s email. Switzer previously worked at Partners HealthCare before coming to Brandeis and has experience in higher education from his time at the University of Hampshire and Northeastern University.

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