Speeches & Communications
Summary of Board of Trustee Meeting - May 13, 2022
Dear members of the Marist College community,
This past weekend (May 6-7) the Marist College Board of Trustees held its spring meeting, which, for the first time in more than two years, included a full set of campus-based events. In keeping with our commitment to inform the campus community about the work of the Board, below is a summary of some of the weekend’s activities and key outcomes.
Particularly gratifying to Trustees was the opportunity to re-engage in meaningful discussions with faculty, students, and staff, and to experience the intellectual and cultural vibrancy of the Marist College campus. Following a series of Friday standing committee meetings, the Board continued its annual tradition of hosting a discussion between members of the Board’s Academic Affairs Committee and members of the faculty’s Academic Affairs and Faculty Affairs Committees. Discussion topics included opportunities and barriers related to academic excellence, as well as diversity, equity, and inclusion. The conversation was both honest and robust; Trustees found the discussion to be enjoyable and productive, and we thank members of faculty leadership for their candor and commitment to shared governance.
Members of the Board continued their discussions with faculty over dinner, and many attended the Silver Needle Runway Show at the McCann Arena. On behalf of the full Board, we offer our congratulations to the talented senior Fashion Design students whose work was displayed, and to all those students, faculty, and staff who contributed their expertise and creativity to the event’s production.
Saturday’s full Board meeting began with several welcomes and farewells, including a moment of silence in honor of the Board’s Immediate Past Chair, Ellen Hancock. Trustees also expressed their sincere appreciation to Faculty Affairs Committee (FAC) Chair Julie Raines and Student Government Association (SGA) President Tenzin Tsundu ’22, for their extraordinary service as the 2021-2022 Faculty and Student Representatives to the Board of Trustees. We welcome incoming FAC Chair Nick Marshall and SGA President Gabriel Borbon ’23 as the Board’s 2022-2023 Faculty and Student Representatives, respectively, and look forward to their active participation in the coming year’s meetings.
We’re pleased to report that the Board reviewed and unanimously approved eight tenure and/or promotion cases. Please join us in thanking the many faculty members who played a part in the tenure and promotion review process (particularly those who served on peer-review committees or the Rank and Tenure Committee), and in congratulating the following faculty members on their accomplishments:
- Kuangnen (Hans) Cheng – tenure and promotion to Associate Professor of Operations & Management Sciences
- Megan Dennis – tenure and promotion to Associate Professor of Biology
- Katharine Dill – tenure and promotion to Associate Professor of Social Work
- Marina Melita – promotion to Senior Lecturer of Italian
- Kathleen McNulty – promotion to Senior Professional Lecturer of Communication
- Duy Nguyen – tenure and promotion to Associate Professor of Mathematics
- Jennifer Robinette – promotion to Senior Lecturer of Communication
- Philip Skepanski – tenure and promotion to Associate Professor of Media Arts
Trustees also reviewed a number of academic programs. Acting upon the recommendation of its Academic Affairs Committee, the full Board unanimously approved the following proposals, all of which were also approved by the full faculty acting in plenary session: a new Master of Social Work degree, a new Master of Science in Athletic Training degree, a new BS in Biology/MS in Athletic Training dual-degree program, and new minor in Social Justice. Congratulations to all those who contributed to the development and success of these program proposals.
The Board received a report on fall 2022 admissions activities, including the number of applications, acceptances, and deposits received for the Class of 2026. The Admissions & Enrollment committee reported that, despite the many challenges present in the higher education market and intense competition for prospective students, the College expects to meet its budgeted goal for new student enrollment, with the overall profile of the incoming freshman class – including markers of academic quality and diversity – exceeding that of last year’s. In light of the challenging market conditions, the administration was pleased to present a balanced operating budget for fiscal year 2023, which the Board unanimously approved. Members of the administration are in the process of making final allocations, and will communicate additional information about next year’s budget to the campus community within the next few weeks.
The Board’s Audit Committee reported on their review and acceptance of the 990 and 990T forms, as well as their review of the audit plan and scope for the coming year. The Technology Committee invited Emily Harris, Director of Cybersecurity, to present the findings of a cybersecurity assessment and roadmap, undertaken in partnership with IBM.
Trustees also received an update on the status of the Dyson Center expansion and enhancement, including the finalization of the building’s design documents, the successful execution of the $60 million bond issuance that was authorized by the Board at its February meeting, and the plan to begin the project in June. In order to commence construction on the new building, the Dyson Center’s current occupants and activities will relocate to other areas on campus until the building is complete in spring 2024.
Trustees and other meeting participants also received a President’s Report from Kevin Weinman. Among the items covered in that report was an update on the many year-end events and activities that make the culmination of the year so exciting for students, faculty, and staff, including Honors thesis presentations, business plan presentations, poetry slams, music and theater performances, and the return of Mon Afrique after a several-year absence. Kevin also shared observations from the week he spent engaged with the College’s branch campus in Florence, Italy, and described his intent to participate in their upcoming commencement ceremony. He also provided an update on the structures being put in place to support the $250,000 pledge that he and his wife Beth made in support of access and equity-related initiatives at the College. Finally, Kevin discussed early efforts related to the planning of a September 23, 2022 presidential inauguration, with additional information to follow. The next day, the Board will remain in Poughkeepsie to engage in a strategic visioning exercise as part of the recently-announced strategic plan.
The Board’s annual meeting will take place in November on the Marist campus, and we look forward to updating members of the campus community on the major outcomes of that meeting. Our thanks again to those who contributed to the success of last weekend’s meetings and events. Congratulations to all on the upcoming conclusion of the spring 2022 semester – we look forward to seeing many of you at the Commencement exercises for the Classes of 2020 and 2022.
Ross A. Mauri ’80
Chair of the Board of Trustees
Kevin C. Weinman