Board of Trustees adds new members, proposes changes in budget

by Ashley Ulrich | 6/7/12 10:00pm

Over the past year, the College's Board of Trustees discussed issues of diversity and long-term promotion of the College, voted to decrease the number of loans in student financial aid packages and appointed College Provost Carol Folt to fill the role of interim College president upon President Jim Yong Kim's departure. The Board added three alumni trustees Nathaniel Fick '99, Richard Kimball '78 and Benjamin Wilson '73 who will assume their roles in June.

In September, the Board added five new members. Gregg Engles '79, Marye Anne Fox GR'74 and James Coulter '82 joined in June 2011 as charter trustees. Bill Burgess '81 and Gail Boudreaux '82 were elected in April 2011 as alumni trustees.

During its November meeting, the Board heard recommendations from five student members of the Inter-Community Council about issues of diversity on campus.

The College plans to improve its outreach programs to increase diversity among students and faculty, Kim said in a past interview with The Dartmouth.

Kim said that the College is not trying to satisfy specific diversity quotas, but instead aims to recruit the best students and staff.

Christian Brandt '12, an ICC member who participated in the panel, said that the Board wanted to hear students' opinions on diversity on campus.

"Most of the conversation had to do with what the panel thought Dartmouth could do better in regards to diversity," Brandt said. "We discussed Dartmouth's conception of diversity and how it manifests itself in reality."

Since then, there has not been follow-up communication between the ICC and the Board, Brandt said. Students do not hold permanent roles on the Board, which Brandt cited as a problem for maintaining meaningful discourse between the Board and students.

"A lot of things that the Board does related to the College's finances and budget students don't need to be a part of," Brandt said. "But for student life issues I think it would be pertinent for the Board to listen to student feedback."

Peer institutions such as Cornell University and Princeton University each include two student members on their Boards of Trustees.

During its March meeting, the Board voted to eliminate loans from the financial aid packages of students whose family incomes totaled $100,000 per year or less. This was an increase from the 2011-2012 academic year no-loan cap of $75,000, which had been put in place as part of the College's effort to cut $100 million from its budget over two years.

The policy change will take effect starting in the Fall term for currently enrolled and incoming students. Kim said that the change "reaffirms our commitment to affordability," according to a College press release. Kim noted that Dartmouth students' debt coming out of college is about half the average for graduating college students in the state of New Hampshire.

During the meeting, the Board also approved a budget of $934 million for fiscal year 2013 and a capital budget of $54 million for building repairs and renovations. It voted to raise tuition to $43,782 for the 2012-2013 academic year, a 4.9 percent increase from the current year. The cost of attending Dartmouth for the 2012-2013 academic year including tuition, room, board and other fees will total $57,998, a 4.8 percent increase from the current year. This change makes Dartmouth the second most expensive school in the Ivy League.

On April 13, Fick, Kimball and Wilson were elected to join the Board as alumni trustees. They will officially assume their positions at the next Board meeting on June 11, according to Diana Lawrence, Alumni Relations communications director.

Fick, who will be the Board's youngest member, said he believes finding a successor to replace Kim in the role of College president will be the Board's top priority.

"As a Dartmouth alum, I want to see Dartmouth's brand and mission and reputation continue to increase," Fick said in an interview with The Dartmouth. "I think that recruiting and maintaining top talent is a central challenge for universities in the 21st century."

Other priorities for the Board will include coordinating its ongoing strategic planning process with the support of Kim's successor and continuing the development of a major capital campaign, according to Fick.

Kimball said he believes the student-professor relationship is the "hallmark of the Dartmouth experience" and hopes to continue to support the school's efforts to offer students small classes and opportunities for research outside the classroom.

"I will do what I can to support the Board and our administration in their efforts to recruit and retain the most talented and diverse faculty possible," Kimball said in an email to The Dartmouth.

Wilson said in a previous interview with The Dartmouth that fundraising efforts will be critical in keeping Dartmouth competitive with its peer institutions and drawing top faculty talent to campus.

The new trustees will replace Stephen Smith '88, who chose to not pursue a second term on the Board, and John Donahoe '82 and Thurman Rodgers '70, who have completed their second four-year terms, according to Association of Alumni president John Daukas '84.

On April 17, the Board appointed Folt to serve as Dartmouth's interim president following Kim's selection as president of the World Bank. Folt, who will assume her new role on July 1, is the first woman to hold the College's top leadership position. Folt became Provost in 2009 after spending three years as dean of faculty for the College.

The College announced 14 new members of the 17-member Presidential Search Committee on May 25. Trustees on the committee include committee Chair Bill Helman '80, Vice Chair Diana Taylor '77, Jim Coulter '82, Denise Dupre '80, Annette Gordon-Reed '81 and John Rich '80. Chairman of the Board of Trustees Stephen Mandel '78 will serve as an ex-officio member of the committee.