To acquire wisdom, one must observe

Highlights from the November Board of Trustees meeting, Nov. 13-15, 2017

General Summary

  • The board passed three resolutions from the Academy Committee.
    • Olga Papemmanouil, in computer science, was given an associate professorship with tenure.
    • The Board approved a new Master of Science program in robotic software engineering in the Rabb School of Continuing sciences.
    • They approved a Master of Science program in business analytics in the International Business School.
  • The Board talked about the discussion among students and faculty about the General Education requirement proposal. The faculty voted to approve the requirements last month, but the trustees must still vote to officially approve them. They would take effect for the class entering in fall 2019. 


Committee Summaries

  • Nominating and Governance Committee
    • They reviewed a list of potential trustee and trustee-emeritus status candidates, and approved a proposal to appoint a senior administrator to serve as university treasurer.
  • Risk Management Audit Committee
    • This committee reported on the resolved internal audits and received an update on the affirmative action plan audit from the U.S. Department of Labor, and the conciliation agreement that was executed Nov. 13.
  • Resources Committee
    • They discussed the 2017 fiscal year budget results, which yielded a small surplus and the national tax legislation’s potential effects on Brandeis. The House bill includes a tax that could affect Brandeis’ almost 1,800 graduate students.
    • The resources committee also discussed financial analyses such as an indirect cost allocation study, plans for debt restructuring and a framework for future endowment spending. Administrators also discussed these matters at an open forum on Nov. 29.
  • Advancement Committee
    • This committee summarized the fundraising results for the 2017 fiscal year, raising $99 million and discussed strategies for future fundraising and engaging alumni.


Retreat Summary

  • The Board of Trustees reviewed how the board is organized and its interactions with the president, administrators, faculty and campus community.
  • They focused on trying to define the roles and responsibilities of a trustee in the university.
  • They held a two hour executive session discussing the forfeit of university retirement contributions during the recession and the divestment of fossil fuels from Brandeis’ endowment. The Board says they will need to “engage both issues as a full board and come to a resolution, if not total agreement on each.” They will continue discussing the issues at their January meetings, engaging with faculty, staff and student representatives.

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