Union representative reports on Trustees’ Sept. meeting
The board is both excited and engaged for the new school year. Prominent topics for this year’s opening meeting included improving student life, enhancing campus culture and advancing the institution. In his “Framework for Our Future” report, President Liebowitz highlights three main strategic areas that Brandeis’ senior team will be working on this fall. These strategies include creating a more inclusive and vibrant on-campus community, fostering a culture of intellectual rigor and advancing both national and worldly knowledge of community. The trustees have expressed interest in engaging more actively with students on campus. Both Trustees and Senior Administration expressed commitment to the continued efforts to bridge the gap between academic and on-campus life for students.
The dinner on Monday evening was a facilitated dialogue between students, the board and staff members to discuss and understand pressing matters on campus. The main topics highlighted during the dinner included dining, residence halls and the campus culture in terms of school spirit and community.
The trustees were able to garner a better understanding and modern perspective on how students felt about their on-campus lives. Overall sentiments expressed during the dinner by students involved how Brandeis fuels a remarkable amount of academic excellence. Yet, students crave community and a spirit of affiliation. Strategies to mitigate feelings of disjointedness were discussed and put on the table for all members of the board.
Issues present at the plenary session included dining, residence halls, institutional advancement, diversifying the board and the school’s national ranking.
The Academy committee received an update from Dean Hodgson, College of Arts and Sciences, Dean Weil, Heller School, Dean Grady, International Business School, and Lynne Rosansky, Rabb School of Continuing Studies, Provost Lynch and Admissions Director Jen Walker on results from the 2018-2019 Admission results and spoke about issues facing our international student population, on both undergraduate and graduate levels. It was reiterated in this conversation that Brandeis is dedicated to supporting our international student population and will be working diligently to do so. Dean Dorothy Hodgson gave an update on the Brandeis CORE and discussed the “Critical Conversations” program that will be implemented this semester. Our new Vice Provost of Student Affairs, Raymond Ou, gave an update about his plans to evaluate and support the BCC, Hiatt Career Center and Student Accessibility Services. Provost Lynch added that the climate survey, administered in Spring 2019, will have its results released to the community later this fall.
The Resources committee received a report from CIO Jim La Creta regarding Workday and its success so far. Workday Student is slated to be rolled out this semester. The Workday@Brandeis Project brought Brandeis’ administrative services in line with its excellence in teaching, research and practice. In July 2019, the team launched the first phase of the Workday@Brandeis Project, focusing on HR, Payroll and finance processes. The transition to Workday provides our University community with real-time reporting, standardized business processes and optimized administrative functions.
Moreover, the committee was briefed on the dining contract with Sodexo. Student concerns with quality, pricing and dietary accessibility were large factors in Brandeis’ pursuit to re-evaluate the contract and appreciate students’ insight.
In the meantime, the Senate Dining Committee is a great resource for students to provide feedback on current needs. More information will be made available to students on how they can provide input on the process. Nominating and Governance discussed in detail the focused attention being paid to diversity regarding recruitment of future trustees and strategies to do so.
Risk Management and Audit discussed the success of Duo Double Authentication and how it has increased security for the community. The committee is assessing the current state of overall campus safety and areas of improvement.
Stewart Uretsky reported that special secure locks have been installed in every single classroom on campus, and that the campus security camera system is in the process of updates while more strategies are in the works.
The Investment Committee gave an update on the endowment. Institutional Advancement reported on the FY 19 results and FY 20 projections, as well as strategized about alumni relations and overall engagement.
We welcome the opportunity to meet with students to discuss the Board and our roles. If you are interested, please reach out to us at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a time to meet. We will be holding open office hours this coming week (10/6). Zosia will be available from 5-6 p.m. on Monday, and 4-6 p.m. on Thursday, at the Starbucks in the Library. Zoë will be available from 3-4 p.m. on Monday at Farber Library Starbucks and 9-11 a.m. on Thursday in the Skyline Commons. Finally, opportunities often arise to meet with Board of Trustees members when they come to campus. If you are interested in meeting with a Trustee(s), please sign up for the waitlist and you will be contacted when these opportunities arise here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSe4sD1HnYHTg9T2meXKka6FAWSjCIUA-9daHl0DrtBQBca1SA/viewform.