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Board meeting opens today

At its first full meeting since the appointment of Dan Weiss as the next President, the Board of Managers, which convenes October 11-13, will begin laying the groundwork for Weiss’ arrival.

“This is the first time they’re getting their heads around the ‘transition year’ plan as a group,” said Jesse Lytle, secretary of the board and chief of staff for Interim President Joanne Creighton.

On the first night of the proceedings, Weiss will speak about the issues currently facing liberal arts colleges.  The board will attempt to tackle many of these challenges as they move into the first year of a two-year plan, which will involve the input of both Creighton and Weiss.  “I’m shepherding the first year and Dan Weiss will be shepherding the second,” said Creighton.

The fact that Weiss is taking a final year as Lafayette’s president did not cause the board to delay its plan. Instead, Creighton will take the lead this year as Weiss advises from the background.  “We’re working together,” Creighton said.  “It’s fortunate that we do tend to see eye-to-eye.”

The Board of Managers’ fall meeting, the first time the board gathers each year, is typically very different from the three other yearly meetings: it often takes the form of a board-wide, off-campus retreat.  This year, however, the meeting will be more conventional, conducted fully on campus.

The upcoming meeting will consist of three plenaries.  The first will concern academic planning, and will employ a task force of Haverford faculty.  Before the next plenary, devoted to planning and use of space, board members will tour Ryan Gym and the Union Music Building—two buildings that Creighton believes the College needs to use and maintain better. The third will feature “an array of presentations to show a smattering of technologically infused projects,” said Provost Kim Benston, and will focus on how technology can more effectively complement education.

This year, the board also plans to look at ways to improve its own structure. According to Creighton, the managers will ask, among other questions, “What are the priorities of each committee? And philosophically, do we have the right committees?”

Other items on the agenda include the official dedication of the new Kim and Tritton Dormitories, at noon Saturday, and a board-student luncheon Friday at noon. A lottery will select students for the luncheon.

Following strong recommendations from the administration, the board plans to table concrete budgeting considerations until next year.  In the strategic outline of the two-year plan, discussion of the financial aid policy was listed at the end of the first year. Accordingly, the board will not debate Haverford’s need-blind policy, which students supported in a plenary resolution last spring, at this first meeting.

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