May 27th, 2008

  • Location: Sayles-Hill 251
  • Time: 4:15 pm
  • Present: Staff Members: Scott Bierman, Rob Oden, Austin Robinson-Coolidge, and Hudlin Wagner; Faculty Members: Deborah Appleman, Peter Balaam, Victoria Morse; Students: Ben Barclay, Caitlin Fleming, and Tommy Walker; Alumni Observer Lee Mauk; Trustee Observer Louise Heffelfinger.
  • Absent: Faculty Members: Mary Savina and Sam Patterson; Alumni Observer Sara Anderson; Staff members: Robbie Groth and Fred Rogers; Students Tricia England and Brandon Walker.
  • Guests: Steve Richardson, Christina Sainati, Steve Spehn and Aisling Quigley.
  • Secretary: Anna Losacano

Approval of Minutes

The minutes from the meeting of April 21, 2008 were approved unanimously.


President’s Report

President Oden first reintroduced the revised Pledge of Sustainability for approval to the Council. The Carleton Pledge of Sustainable Conduct was approved unanimously, as introduced by CSA Senator and College Council Member Ben Barclay.

President Oden updated the Council on the May meeting of the Board of Trustees. One of the major events was the presentation of proposed curricular designs by the three Curricular Review teams. The Board also greatly enjoyed hearing from students who recently participated in the Larson Fellowship program especially in remembrance of the recent passing of John Larson.

The May meeting was the Board's annual meeting as as such a number of trustees retired from the board and new trustees were elected. It was the last meeting with Mike Armacost serving as Chair of the Board and Jack Eugster was elected as the new chair.

Other important events at the Board of Trustees meeting were the approval of the five year financial plan, which outlines the College’s plans and how they will be paid for. It was also announced that the capital campaign has passed the $200 million mark, which is over two-thirds of the way to the campaign goal.

Other important events at the Board of Trustees meeting were the approval of the five year financial plan, which outlines the College’s plans and how they will be paid for. It was also announced that the capital campaign has passed the $200 million mark, which is over two-thirds of the way to the campaign goal.


Residence Halls Construction Update

Director of Facilities and Capital Planning Steve Spehn updated the Council on the construction of the new residence halls. Construction is under way using a new site plan that requires less additional parking than the original plan. The neighborhood group and Carleton worked with the Northfield City Government to reduce by 12 the number of required parking spots. The parking lot no longer extends past the Concert Hall and much of the green space along First Street will be preserved.

Steve Spehn also informed the Council about the environmentally sustainable aspects of the new dorms. One of the dorms has solar panels on the roof to contribute to domestic water heating. The other dorm will have the option of adding photovoltaic panels in the future as the technology approves. Currently the buildings will be LEED Gold certified although certification is not officially given until construction is completed.

The construction plan calls for the main structure of the dorms to be completed by Fall 2008. The plan also calls for the dorms to be complete by July 31st, 2009. Site plans, notices related to construction and webcams recording the construction can be found at http://go.carleton.edu/reshalls.


Arts Union Update

Director of the Arts Steve Richardson updated the Council on plans for the Arts Union. He first reminded the Council that the goal of the Arts Union is not simply to move departments to better facilities. The larger goal is to make the arts a physical center of Carleton, to make the arts a central part of the Carleton curriculum and to encourage the interdisciplinary nature of the curriculum.

Design development will continue through September 2008. Construction is planned to begin mid-2009 with Phase 1 of the building opening Fall 2011. Phase 1 of construction will include building the studio art area, teaching museum, CAMS studio, English common room, classrooms, and part of the three story atrium. A second part of the first phase is to renovate the middle school’s gym to be used as an intermediary space for Theater and Dance before there area is completed. Phase 2 of construction will include completing the Dance Studies area, the atrium and the three theaters including a cinema theater. As of now the building will reach LEED Silver certification.

Steve Richardson also reminded the Council that the College is working on programming to reconnect students to the process and to incorporate the surrounding neighborhood and the wider Northfield community into the process.

Student Caitlin Fleming asked whether there had been any discussion of what would happen to the area on College Street leading up to the entrance of the Art Union as currently several of the houses are Carleton-run student housing. Dean Scott Bierman answered that there are currently no plans to modify the uses of those houses although in the future it may be made into a more academic corridor by using the houses for academic departments. President Oden mentioned that issues like this are part of the reason a Campus Design Subcommittee of College Council is necessary. Caitlin Fleming also asked whether there were any specific plans to connect students back to the development of the Arts Union. Steve Richardson responded that currently the Design Advisory Group is the main connection to students. Faculty Member Victoria Morse also suggested that the College be sure to engage the surrounding community as quickly as possible. Dean of Students Hudlin Wagner mentioned that student participation was a main contribution to the incorporation of KRLX into the Arts Union.


Admissions Update

Senior Associate Dean of Admissions Jennifer Hantho presented the Council with information on the admissions process for the class of 2012. Admissions’ target number for the Class of 2012 is 490. Currently 500 students have made deposits and 8 students have been offered a place off the wait list.  About 15-20 deposited students switch to other schools during the summer, so the target number of 490 should be reached.  We expect more waitlist activity over the course of the summer due to the fact that Harvard announced it will be taking 125-200 students off its waitlist. Applications increased 2% this year to 4,950. The College had its lowest acceptance rate ever at 27%.

Deposited numbers reflect a balance between genders and show an increase in the number of international students and multicultural students. As of today, the class of 2012 has 7.8% international students and 20.8% multicultural students. We expect to enroll students from 41 states. The entering class has the highest average ACT score ever at 30.5 and SAT scores remain at a steady average of around 1400.

Student Tommy Walker commented that applications are increasing at many colleges and asked whether Carleton’s applications were increasing at about the same rate as other colleges. Jennifer Hantho responded that large universities such as Harvard have ended their Early Action programs so many more students are applying there and other places as applicants are less sure of where they will be admitted.  Carleton continues to attract more highly self-selected applicants so our increases are more modest. 

The financial aid budget was spent almost exactly and admissions decisions were made with little need-sensitivity (only 1-2%).  Student Ben Barclay asked if the Admissions Department knew what the success of the Access Scholarships had been so far. Jennifer Hantho responded that the data is being compiled and that financial aid spent almost all the funds allocated for Access Scholarships.


CRIC Charter Revisions

CRIC (Carleton Responsible Investment Committee) Member Cristina Sainati introduced the revised CRIC charter. The charter now includes language addressing environmental issues so that the group falls under the goals outlined in the President’s Climate Commitment. Other changes include expanded goals to make its actions more effective and to integrate CRIC into the wider community.

President Oden introduced a motion to approve the mission statement and the floor was opened to discussion. Faculty member Deborah Appleman commented that CRIC was a great example of revitalizing an organization that had been put on hiatus by the faculty due to lack of participation. She also suggested the charter require that the coordinator of EthIC be an ex-oficio member of CRIC. The CRIC members present at the meeting agreed to make this change.

The revised charter of the Carleton Responsible Investment Committee, as introduced by Cristina Sainati, was approved unanimously by voice vote pending some changes in the language of the charter.


CSA Retention Resolution

CSA President Caitlin Fleming informed the Council about the discussion at the May 12th CSA meeting that led to the passage of a CSA resolution on the issue of low retention rates for multicultural students and especially of African-American men. With the intent of addressing this issue, the resolution calls for a campus-wide forum on the issue and a reevaluation of the RAD requirement. It also calls for “a comprehensive power and privilege training program” for all incoming CSA students as well as a similar program as part of New Student Week activities.

President Oden informed the council on how the College has addressed the issue of low retention rates in the past. He first explained that their retention rates are high when compared to national average rates but are low when compared to the retention rates at Carleton’s peer schools. The POSSE program and the Campus Climate Survey were both undertaken with the goal of addressing the issue of retention rates.

Deborah Appleman raised concerns about the resolution. She first agreed that the low retention rates must be addressed and greatly appreciated the CSA’s intention to address the problem. Her concerns were that that the language of the resolution may be too simple and may trivialize the complexity of the issue. She was also concerned that the resolution does not address the work already done on retention and the fact that faculty, staff and students are working everyday to increase retention in many different ways. She was skeptical about the effectiveness of privilege training and reminded the Council that the RAD requirement is being reevaluated as part of the curriculum review. Hudlin Wagner said that after many conversations with students, she believes that the resolution is a good idea. She commented that she views it as an important commitment that is very powerful as it coming from students and that it is part of the process of deciding how to move forward. Ben Barclay added that he believes it a commendable step on the part of the CSA to take concrete action to address this issue.



The meeting adjourned at 5:50 pm.

Respectfully submitted,

Anna Losacano ‘10

College Council Secretary