Trustees will discuss economy, expansion

by Tara Kyle | 11/9/01 6:00am

Dartmouth's Board of Trustees converged on Hanover yesterday to kick off their quarterly weekend of meetings.

The primary responsibility of the 16 board members -- including President James Wright and ex-officio member New Hampshire Governor Jeanne Shaheen -- will be to examine Dartmouth's overall academic plan, and then reconcile the strategic desires of the College with the economic and development resources currently available.

"The College is in healthy shape, it looks great, and our job is to make sure it stays that way," Trustee David Shribman '76 said.

Neither Wright nor Chair Susan Dentzer '77 anticipated any landmark decisions. The faculty, finance and development committees will be among those convening over the weekend.

In their committee deliberations, the trustees will have to take into account an endowment that has taken a hit in the weak economic conditions of the last year. The endowment has, however, recovered somewhat after dropping substantially in the period immediately following Sept. 11, according to Dentzer.

"The picture's not as gloomy as it looked a month ago, but it's also certainly not as rosy as it has been in recent years," Dentzer said.

The Trustees will also discuss the expansion of the northern campus outlined by President Wright in his annual address to the faculty last week. Dentzer noted that the board will focus "a lot of time and energy on the residential side and social side in particular."

Another major facet of this weekend will be presentations from four faculty members -- economics professor Andrew Samwick, studio art professor Louise Hamlin, computer science professor Daniela Rus and English professor Barbara Will.

Although the trustees frequently meet with groups of professors at dinners and other events, these meetings will focus more explicitly on the professors' personal academic interests, projects and concerns.

"This was really born of a desire to spend more time getting to know the professors individually and understand what they are doing," Dentzer said.

Dartmouth's student body had a chance to meet the trustees at a well-attended reception last night in the McCulloch Hall lounge.

Dentzer expressed enthusiasm regarding the evening's gathering, explaining the value of interacting with students in a less formal setting than the standard speeches and meetings.

The board meeting and the four presentations by faculty members are set for today, according to Assistant to the Board of Trustees Sharon Greene. A continuation of the board meeting and additional committees will fill Saturday's schedule.

"The board members are all very busy people, and what they have to do to get here is very impressive," Wright said.