October 29th, 2007
- Location: Sayles-Hill 251
- Present: Staff Members: Scott Bierman, Robbie Groth, Rob Oden, and Fred Rogers; Faculty Members: Deborah Appleman, Peter Balaam, Victoria Morse, and Sam Patterson; Alumni Observer Lee Mauk; Students: Tricia England, Chai Lee, Evan Rowe, Tim Singer and Tommy Walker; Trustee Observer Louise Heffelfinger.
- Absent: Staff Members Austin Robinson-Coolidge and Hudlin Wagner; Faculty Member Mary Savina; Alumni Observer Sara Anderson.
- Guests: Éva Pósfay, Associate Dean of the College.
- Secretary: Anna Losacano
Approval of Minutes
The minutes from the meeting of October 2, 2007 were approved unanimously.
President Rob Oden informed the council about the latest meeting of the Board of Trustees, which concluded the previous week. The Trustees’ meeting focused on Carleton’s priority initiatives and how they will be funded. President Oden highlighted the goals of the campaign: to increase the endowment for need-based financial aid; to develop the curriculum; extend Carleton's global reach through more Off-Campus Studies programs; and to build new facilities (such as the arts center and new student residences) while maintaining current facilities.
President Oden also introduced the importance of evaluating the college's cash flow, which Vice President Fred Rogers later presented in detail to the Council. The main importance of understanding the cash flow is that many gifts to the campaign will not actually be in the hands of the College for many years. These deferred commitments are counted in the campaign though they do not add immediately to the College's available cash for spending. President Oden also updated the Council on the current stage of the campaign. Regional events are currently taking place around the country to introduce the broader alumni body to Carleton’s needs.President Oden also informed the Council about the upcoming inauguration of the University of South Dakota's new center for the arts and center for teaching and learning. The University invited President Oden to speak after deciding Carleton College was the best example of a liberal arts college in the nation.
The Associate Dean of the College, Éva Pósfay, updated the Council on the Diversity Initiative Group's (DIG’s) activity. At the last DIG meeting, it was announced that a class on racism and anti-racism will be taught in the winter in the department of Interdisciplinary Studies. This is the first time this course will be offered as a credit-bearing course.
The other news from DIG is that, Sue Rankin, a consultant on diversity initiatives has been hired to work with a DIG subcommittee and the broader Carleton community on a campus climate assessment and a diversity plan. Among the work that she will be doing is a student survey and an IRB proposal. Éva Pósfay reminded the Council of the importance of this research and that it will be done in a very thoughtful and careful way.
Student Chai Lee brought up some concerns among students about instability in the Office of Intercultural Life (OIL) and asked if the DIG consultant could work on how to stabilize this office. Éva Pósfay responded that the research on the diversity climate at Carleton done by the consultant will include looking at OIL, and DIG members are involved in the current search for a new director of OIL.
Report on Carleton Priorities and Campaign Cash Flow
Vice President and Treasurer Fred Rogers told the council about the upcoming opportunities and challenges related to the capital campaign. The College has evaluated the campaign’s impact on the college’s cash flow and budget, and has evaluated budget priorities and whether cash will be arriving in a way that will ensure all the priorities can be met.
Fred Rogers first introduced a forecast of the operating budget. The assumptions made in forecasting the budget are that the residential liberal arts college experience must be maintained, curricular innovation must continue, there will be some additions to the operating budget and no growth in enrollment. The forecast also takes into account inflation. He then summarized the operating budget priorities. These priorities are to maintain student excellence, expand the faculty (at least 15 tenure-track positions will be added), and maintain the college’s infrastructure.
Fred Rogers then introduced the specific campaign projects. These are the art center (whose Phase I will cost $50 million), residence developments (a new residence hall, new townhouses, and a renovation of Evans), dining developments (a redesign of Burton Dining Hall), and maintenance of existing infrastructure (support new buildings while continuing to reduce the college’s carbon footprint). Taking all these expenses in mind, it is projected the college will borrow $66 million and still needs to raise $27 million in gifts. President Oden reminded the council that the college has an excellent credit rating and this loan will not change the college’s credit rating.
Fred Rogers then outlined how the college will cover the annual $4.4 million addition to the budget due to the added cost of new maintenance and energy costs. There is still an additional $139 million to be raised in the campaign, but many of these gifts will be deferred commitments and not come to the College for many years. Taking this and some assumptions about cash flow into account, the College made a forecast of the budget. With $40.5 million going directly to the endowment and $25.7 million going to plant projects to cover debt, the budget will only have a deficit one year, and this deficit will be small.
The next steps are to continue to add faculty members, increase endowment for need-based financial aid, continue work on the arts center (the upcoming schematic design will lead to a more precise budget for the center), continue to maintain infrastructure, begin work on the residence halls and continue to work on additional campaign initiatives that will go forward as money is raised for them.
Fred Rogers then opened the floor to questions. Student Tim Singer asked how the pay-as you-go projects are decided and if they are still being decided. Fred Rogers responded that some have already been specified, but there is some elasticity. President Oden added that those projects aren’t completely rigid, and as long as something fits with the long term goals of the college and someone cares enough about it to donate money, the project will be considered. Student Tricia England asked if any of these additional priorities have been already been decided. President Oden responded that there are some additional priorities already decided, one of which is the Career Center. Dean Scott Bierman added that the campaign is not just raising money for new projects, but also raising money to endow things that are important to the college so that they can endure. President Oden reminded the Council that the College’s financial priorities are outlined in the campaign prospectus.
Dean Bierman told the Council about the history of this curriculum review, which was discussed soon after President Oden's arrival on campus. It began with former dean Shelby Boardman and President Oden's development of a program in which faculty submitted proposals to research the curriculum at other colleges. These reports were then presented to the Education and Curriculum Committee.
The ECC and the Learning and Teaching Center then began exploring what should be key content areas and key experiences required for every Carleton student. Some themes emerged from this process, and these themes were synthesized and provided to the faculty to inform faculty break out sessions in which they were reviewed and further developed.
This process shaped the charge to Curriculum Design Teams, the groups of faculty that are evaluating the college's curriculum. Each team will create a complete set of graduation requirements that thoughtfully integrate the academic divisions. Each team is following the same charge and mission statement so that there will be three different proposals to assess. The chairs of these three teams meet monthly with the ECC and the LTC. Students on the EEC and student volunteers are giving responses to the designs. The teams also have recent extensive surveys from the Office of Institutional Research with data on students' feelings toward the distribution requirements. Dean Bierman also reiterated that any proposal for the distribution requirements must be linked back to the charge and mission statement provided to the teams.
Dean Bierman opened the floor to questions and comments. President Oden reminded the Council that the last systematic curriculum review was in 1959 and, as a lot has changed since then, the curriculum review is very important. Student Tommy Walker commented that students don't have an overarching view of the curriculum and asked what teams want students’ role to be. Dean Bierman responded that the student groups will provide the design teams with a group to bounce ideas off of, but they won't be responsible for creating a design themselves.
The meeting adjourned at 5:30 pm.Respectfully submitted,
Anna Losacano ‘10College Council Secretary