EDITORIAL: Springboard funding should prioritize effectively
On Oct. 24, University President Ron Liebowitz announced the formal implementation of his Springboard funding proposal, designed to achieve numerous goals of the President’s Framework for Our Future. The entire funding package itself is valued at $84.7 million, and is intended, according a University-wide email sent by the President, to “address gaps in University operations that must be filled before pursuing a major capital campaign.” This board commends this aspirational funding plan and the many aspects of University life it addresses.
According to an interview with Liebowitz and Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration Stewart Uretsky, a majority of the funds are being allocated towards the hiring of a minimum of 15 new faculty members, with the goal of eventually recruiting 35 to 40. Additionally, this program seeks to address numerous quality-of-life aspects of the day-to-day operations of the University, including but not limited to hiring more therapists for the Brandeis Counseling Center. As an attempt to improve the Brandeis experience for everyone, the program seeks to invest more in terms of accessibility for students with disabilities and devote more resources to Public Safety and security programs.
Furthermore, the University plans to use a portion of these funds to add an additional academic advisor, increase the number of staff in the International Students and Scholars Office and invest in new academic software to register for classes and check grades. Finally, the funding devotes more resources to support diversity, equity and inclusion on campus. This board welcomes these developments, and praises the Office of the President for what appears to be a comprehensive, detailed and highly-focused funding plan devoted to addressing the needs of a vast majority of members of the Brandeis community. However, this board urges the administration to be cautious regarding how the funds are actually used, and to act with the utmost scrupulousness in prioritizing and completing projects. If implemented effectively, this program could alter the face of the University for years to come and improve many aspects of University life that students, faculty, staff and other community members perceive to be lacking.
That being said, experience has proved that simply throwing money at departments in need of improvement does not alone lead to meaningful change. This board hopes that the administration can effectively evaluate how exactly the increased funding for the above-mentioned programs will contribute to their improvement on a large scale, so that the vast resources dedicated to this funding proposal are not wasted or misused. The spending program should and will demonstrate the University’s values and priorities. If managed correctly, the University can fix many longstanding issues of accessibility and overcrowded introductory classes, and ensure safer day-to-day operations. This board hopes that this ambitious proposal is managed in good faith and that the large amount of funding it has received goes towards the President’s vision for the University.
— Editor’s Note: Jen Geller wrote the Oct. 29 News article about the Springboard funding plan and did not edit or contribute to this editorial.
— This article was corrected to state that the funding will hire 15 new faculty, not staff, members.