Dartmouth’s Board of Trustees Reviews Progress on Budget Initiative and Strategic Planning Process

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During its fall meeting September 10 through 12, the Dartmouth College Board of Trustees reviewed the progress of the College’s Strategic Budget Reduction and Investment (SBRI) initiative and plans to launch a strategic planning process. The meeting was led by Stephen F. Mandel ’78, whose term as Board chair began with the close of the June 2010 meeting. He succeeded Charles E. Haldeman ’70, who continues to serve as a member of the Board.

The Board reviewed fiscal 2010 financial results and progress made to date on the College’s SBRI initiative, which aims to close the previously projected $100 million gap between the College’s revenues and expenses for fiscal 2011 and 2012. Current plans close the entire projected gap for 2011 and address 80 percent of the 2012 shortfall. The Trustees reviewed the fiscal 2011 outlook and budget, which was approved at the June meeting.

The Board also heard updates from President Jim Yong Kim and Provost Carol Folt on Dartmouth’s institution-wide strategic planning process beginning this fall. The process will include participation from individuals across the Dartmouth community in defining a vision for Dartmouth in 2019, when the College celebrates its 250th year. It began informally last spring with discussions among faculty and will involve broader faculty and community participation as the academic year begins.

President Kim said, “The entire Dartmouth community deserves credit for the great progress we’ve made over the past year in putting Dartmouth on sound financial footing. It has involved many difficult decisions and there is still work to do, but we have made substantial gains toward our goal and can focus now on engaging all areas of the community in defining the vision for Dartmouth’s future.”

Board Chair Steve Mandel said, “President Kim and his team have done a tremendous job balancing the need to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of our administrative operations while continuing to invest strategically in outstanding teaching and scholarship. As we continue to support President Kim and his team in their work, the Trustees also are strongly committed to engaging directly with a broad array of Dartmouth community members. One of the areas of focus at this fall’s meeting was discussing ways in which Trustees can engage in representing Dartmouth to its many constituencies and hearing feedback about how we can best advance Dartmouth’s unique educational mission.”

During the three-day meeting, Trustees reviewed reports from a number of senior leaders about their goals and objectives for 2010–2011. In addition to President Kim and Provost Folt, these leaders included newly appointed Dean of Faculty of Arts and Sciences Michael Mastanduno, who assumed his position in mid-July, as well as leaders responsible for undergraduate students, graduate studies, the professional schools, admissions and financial aid, advancement, and finance and administration.

Provost Folt presented the Board with an update on Dartmouth’s ongoing voluntary accreditation review by the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). She shared findings of the College’s self-study report, which is prepared in advance of the NEASC evaluation team’s upcoming campus visit in November. Folt noted the progress made since Dartmouth’s last review in 2000 toward building a stronger and more diverse student body, in curricular innovation, and in growing both the faculty’s size and research productivity.

“The Board congratulates Dartmouth’s faculty on its excellence in research and for again achieving the number 1 ranking for ‘Strong Commitment to Teaching’ from U.S. News and World Report,” said Mandel. “This reflects our faculty’s exceptional dual dedication to teaching and the creation of knowledge.”

On Friday, President Kim and the Trustees hosted a dinner for newly tenured faculty members, while Saturday’s dinner included a discussion with the College’s new Director of Athletics and Recreation, Harry Sheehy. (Sheehy joined the College this month after a highly successful 10-year tenure as athletic director for Williams College.)

The Board also expressed its support and enthusiasm for the newly appointed Dean of Dartmouth Medical School (DMS) and Vice President for Health Affairs of Dartmouth College, Dr. Wiley “Chip” Souba. President Kim announced last Thursday that Dr. Souba, an internationally recognized academic surgeon, would join the College from Ohio State, where he served as Dean of the College of Medicine and as Vice President and Executive Dean of Health Sciences. President Kim and the Board extended their deep appreciation to Bill Green, who has served as Dean of DMS since January 2008.

The meeting adjourned midday Sunday.

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