September 16th, 1996

  • Location: Sayles-Hill 160
  • Time: 4:15 pm
  • Present: President Stephen Lewis, student Eric Whittington, Professors Charles Carlin, Stephen Durbin, Jerry Mohrig, Bill Titus, Catherine Zuckert; staff persons Doug Foxgrover, Jill Tollefson; Deans Mark Govoni, Elizabeth McKinsey, Mark Govoni, Clement Shearer; Alumni Observer Alan Thiel
  • Absent: Trustee Observer Katherine Youngblood
  • Guests: Dean Paul Thiboutot, Professor Rich Noer; students David Arnold, Mike Bloss, Andy Johnson, Rahul Kamuth
  • Secretary: Gretchen Dee
  • Keywords: new members, asian studies, admissions, aid,

Meeting called to order at 4:23 p.m.

Minutes could not be approved until a full council (including student members) is in session.

President's Report

President Stephen Lewis began by introducing the new College Council members and requested that all present introduce themselves. Next President Lewis commented on the success of the past year which included high levels of giving, alumni participation at reunion, and numerous fellowships and scholarships awarded at closing convo last Spring.

President Lewis informed the council about the colleges recent success in attracting foundation money. He cited the $ 1 million dollar challenge grant from the Bush Foundation to endow the Learning and Teaching Center and grants from the Howard Hughes Medical Institutes Undergraduate Biological Sciences Education Program and the Freeman Foundation grants supporting initiatives in Asian Studies.

President Lewis updated the Council on the status of renovation projects. He stated that Olin renovations had begun, causing the relocation of the Science Library and the Physics and Psychology departments. He also praised the success of the Parish House renovations and stated that Parish set a new standard for Carleton residential space. President Lewis announced that an architect had been selected for the new recreation facility on the East side. He identified the long-term goals of the college to re-evaluate both residential and academic space, including the need to equip classrooms with the most modern technologies and make them places which encourage productive learning. President Lewis recognized the current task of finding a permanent Chaplain, with Dean Shearer chairing the search committee. President Lewis believes this is the appropriate time to redefine the role of the Chaplain at Carleton.

Finally, President Lewis announced that on October 26, students, faculty, staff, and alumni would come together for a celebration. President Lewis noted that the all-campus event would showcase recent building and renovation projects, and would be both fun and celebratory.

Report on Admissions and Financial Aid

Professor Noer, chair of the Admissions and Financial Aid Committee, began by identifying a few recent issues that have made people at private liberal arts colleges uneasy. Such trends include the recent increase in the use at largely less prestigious institutions of merit based aid to attract students who would normally not qualify for aid; the declining long-term family commitment to saving for a childs education; and finally, a tendency within the popular financial aid press to discourage long-term savings for education. Professor Noer stated that the Admissions and Financial Aid Committee had determined that Carleton did not want to enter the bidding game. Professor Noer reported that the committee members felt the best option was to work with other small, select private liberal arts colleges in order to make a case for the value of a small liberal arts education. Professor Noer cited a study conducted at Oberlin College that demonstrated small liberal arts colleges did a better job per capita at preparing science students than larger colleges and universities. Although Noer admitted that the committee had no ideas about how such a study would be conducted or what it would entail, he felt that an advantage could be gained for all liberal arts colleges that participated in such a study.

Next Professor Noer turned the discussion towards what Carleton could do on its own to address the problems he identified earlier. He reported that the committee had focused on the issue of student employment. He suggested the college offer employment to any student who wanted it. He reminded the council that this would require an institutional commitment from the college that included both time and money. Professor Noer then yielded to the Dean Of Admissions Paul Thiboutot. Dean Thiboutot expanded the idea of guaranteed employment. He told the council that the current high level of student employment at Carleton was consistent admissions draw. President Lewis told the representatives of the committee that Carleton was currently included in the Anapolis Group, an organization of similar schools working to differentiate themselves. President Lewis told the council that he believed the numbers were out there to set Carleton apart from other institutions. He also cited the Visibility Project that includes Carleton and other private schools in Minnesota for another exercise in cooperation to make the case for liberal arts colleges. President Lewis suggested that the council create a sub- committee to examine the issue of guaranteed employment. He stressed, however, that the issue must be examined thoroughly. He believes the college must do more than throw money at the problem, but instead commit to more broad-based reform.

Discussion followed. Professor Steven Durbin stated that a stronger internship program was needed. He identified this as an on-campus improvements with real life implications. There was some concern about the cost of such a program. Dean of Budget and Planning Clem Shearer addressed these concerns. He stated that if such a program demonstrated benefits for both students and faculty, it might be worth the long-term investment. He emphasized the importance of thoughtful discussion on the issue before any decision was made.

Budget Committee Report

Dean of Budget and Planning Clem Shearer announced that although fewer students than anticipated had attended Carleton last year, the generosity of donors had resulted in a budget surplus of around $180,000. Dean Shearer shared with the Council his observations about the achievements of Carletons budget in the last few years. He included increased financial aid for 1,000 students, and construction and renovations of several buildings. Next, he pointed to changes in computing and networking along with a myriad of other technical upgrading, particularly in the library and throughout lab sciences. Dean Shearer also identified improvements for the faculty and staff , such as new academic programs and the expansion academic student support services and the growth of off-campus studies. He also felt that the college had continued to make the maintenance of compensation levels for faculty and staff on the upper end locally and nationally a priority. He felt all these successful accomplishments contributed to a successful budget.

Dean Shearer said he wanted to continue to decrease the rate of increase in the comprehensive fee to match inflation. He reminded the Council that Carleton is still meeting the full demonstrated need of its students. Dean Shearer reported that students admitted on a need -sensitive admissions policy had increased from four to eight percent last year. Dean Shearer stated that the number of students admitted based on need- sensitive admissions varied every year based on the applicant pool. Professor Catherine Zuckert expressed her concern about the rate of interest of increase in need-sensitive admissions. Professor Jerry Mohrig, who has previously served on the committee, told the Council that the recommendation stated that need-sensitive admissions should never exceed more than 15 percent of the entering class. Dean Shearer stated that the number of students admitted based on nee-sensitive admissions policies varied every year based on the applicant pool.

Facilities Review Report

Dean Mark Govoni began by distributing copies of a report from the Student Facilities Task Force. The report reflected the recommendations the Task Force had identified Spring Term. Next, Dean Govoni outlined the general themes that had emerged. First, the students want Sayles-Hill to remain the hub of campus. Dean Govoni felt that although Sayles had emerged as the favorite central meeting place on campus, another cluster space on the East side was needed. Secondly, the Security Task Force identified a list of priorities for campus improvements. First was the need for recreational space, second was to provide better and alternative housing options, and third as the need for dining improvements that utilized existing capital rather than the construction of a new dining hall.

Next, Govoni updated the Council on the status of the recreational facility currently in its planning stages. According to Govoni, The Board of Trustees approved $1 million dollars for planning . An architect had been hired. Dean Govoni said that the existing plan for the building included a large indoor track, multi-purpose floor space, a substantial fitness center, and some leisure space. He added that this field house would be box shaped with parking access and attractive for large indoor community functions. Govoni said that the planners were working on a $10 million dollar budget and the building was set to be completed two years from this years opening date.

Dean Govoni spoke briefly about housing issues next. He stated that he hoped to see the construction of townhouse-style apartments that would offer students more privacy and independence . According to Govoni, these were two things that the Task Force identified as problematic, especially for upper-class students. He also hoped to see improvements to common space across campus, including new and better third center space for faculty- student interaction.

Finally, Dean Govoni touched on dining issues. He told these were currently being laid aside for bigger issues down the road. He pointed to the summer improvements and announced his three-track plan on three different time tables to improve dining. The first track consisted of small improvements such as the ones over the summer. The second track was better use of student identification cards to pay for meals, and more options under meal payment plans. Finally, Dean Govoni liked the idea of a food court style dining area with many choices and payment options.

Calendar Report

Dean McKinsey reported that after much discussion, the faculty voted last spring by a 3- to-1 margin to keep three terms instead of two longer semesters. The students had come up with the same answer by a ratio of 9-to-1 during a referendum last spring. Dean McKinsey reminded the Council that this did not mean the college was stuck where it is. She felt there were better ways to work within the time frame we have and questions of workload and length of terms as well as their placement within the calendar year are still under discussion. Options include decreasing the course load of professors and reducing the required classes or credits required to graduate. She felt discussion last spring had helped the Committee and the College focus on the real issues, such as problems with pacing and writing development as well as time for private faculty research. Faculty had already began to look at the next step during discussion at the faculty retreat. She thought that the ECC would continue to be the locus of student and faculty discussion under the new co-chairmanship of Professor Cathy Yandell.

Meeting was adjourned at 5:55 p.m.