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Board of Trustees Update March 2017

March 14, 2017

The Board of Trustees’ third meeting of the academic year took place in Oberlin on March 2nd and 3rd. The Board continued its practice of attending classes on the Thursday of the March meeting. The Board wishes to thank the faculty and student body for welcoming our intrusion into your schedule. Although the Board attends classes in order to understand better how pedagogy is evolving, doing so also reminds us of why we attended Oberlin College ourselves.

The cadence of this meeting differed from recent pattern because of a variety of scheduling challenges. In order to free up more plenary time, several committees (Audit, Capital Planning, Nominations and Governance) met in February via the telephone. Bad weather also intervened, making it difficult for east coast trustees to attend Thursday’s activities and causing the cancellation of the Launch U Keynote speech.

Trustees dined with Launch U participants and Stamp scholars on Thursday evening. Then followed a “mini-retreat” with Student Senate. Much planning went into making this event a successful exploration of Board and College governance. I wish to extend my heartfelt thanks to all those who labored to put this event together.

Friday morning reversed normal practice as committee meetings (Development and Alumni Affairs, Academic Affairs, Budget & Finance, and Student Affairs) dominated the agenda. The Board then moved to the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony and Luncheon to dedicate the Birenbaum. I thank trustee Chuck Birenbaum and his family for making this exceptional facility possible.

Friday afternoon featured an extended plenary session. The administration presented the progress of the various Strategic Planning Implementation Working Groups. Next the Board’s Financial Planning Task Force updated the board on its findings. The Presidential Search Committee was up next with an extended review of its work to date. Moving into Quasi-Executive and then Executive session, the Board approved faculty tenure and promotion recommendations, the Investment Policy, and several board committee membership changes. The Board also responded to a request from Student Senate to create a collaborative task force to investigate the process of including student representatives on the Board, agreeing with the principle of the proposed task force. The Board is moving expeditiously to establish the task force and we expect to provide further updates shortly.

The afternoon concluded with the dedication of the Claire Emma McGregor ’11 Professorship of Neuroscience. Writing now for the McGregor family I wish to extend my thanks to everyone who arranged this event. I especially thank the College Choir for its performance—it was truly moving.

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