Dear members of the Marist College community,
We’re pleased to share with you this summary of the May 5-6 Board of Trustees spring meeting.
FRIDAY, MAY 5 COMMITTEE MEETINGS AND EVENTS
Following a series of Friday standing committee meetings, the Board continued its annual tradition of hosting a conversation between members of the Board’s Academic Affairs Committee and members of the faculty’s Academic Affairs Committee and Faculty Affairs Committee (FAC). Discussion topics included faculty retention and recruitment, as well as the balance between full- and part-time faculty. The discussion was lively and productive, and we thank members of faculty leadership for their candor, collegiality, and commitment to shared governance. Special thanks to FAC Chair Nicholas Marshall for his service as the 2022-2023 Faculty Representative to the Board of Trustees, a role he will continue next year.
Members of the Board continued their discussions with faculty over dinner and we were also pleased to re-present the Board of Trustees Faculty Award for Distinguished Teaching to the past three years’ recipients, as this was the first year we’ve resumed in-person Board dinners since 2019, due to COVID. Our congratulations again to Addrain Conyers (2020), Elisa Woolridge (2021), and Matt Glomski (2022) on being recognized by your peers for your outstanding teaching and many other contributions to the Marist community through your scholarship, service, and engagement in the life of the College.
Following dinner, many Trustees attended the Silver Needle Runway at the McCann Arena. On behalf of the full Board, we offer our congratulations to the 35 talented senior Fashion Design students who displayed their work, the nine student directors who ran the show, and all the students, faculty, and staff who lent their time and talents to the event’s success.
SATURDAY, MAY 6 BOARD MEETING
Saturday’s full Board meeting began with several welcomes and farewells, including a breakfast celebration in honor of Jim Cannavino, who stepped down from the Board after 38 years of service. Trustees also expressed their sincere appreciation to Alumni Executive Board Chair Eileen Gilfedder Altobelli ’82, who will conclude her term as an ex officio Trustee in June. The Board acknowledged Student Government Association (SGA) President Gabriel Borbon ’23 for his excellent service as the 2022-2023 Student Representative to the Board of Trustees and welcomed incoming SGA President Amanda DeFalco ’24, who will participate in next year’s meetings. We also offered a warm welcome to Provost and Dean of Faculty Katie Gunther Kodat and recognized several upcoming retirements within the academic administration.
Strategic planning update
We’re pleased to report that the Board has unanimously adopted Marist 100, an ambitious strategic plan that will guide the work of the College for the next seven years (2023-2030), carrying us up to and beyond the College’s centennial in 2029. Final revisions and enhancements will occur over the summer, along with planning for a major rollout timed to coincide with the start of the 2023-2024 academic year. On behalf of the Board of Trustees, let us express our sincere appreciation to the entire campus community for your yearlong engagement with this work, with particular thanks due to members of the Strategic Plan Steering Committee and various working groups, for their special contributions to the planning process.
We’re pleased to report that the Board reviewed and unanimously approved 11 faculty 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:
- Juan Arias – promotion to Senior Professional Lecturer of Computing Technology
- Dan Amernick – promotion to Senior Professional Lecturer of Media Arts
- Anne Bertrand-Dewsnap – promotion to Senior Lecturer of Art
- Rebecca Brown – promotion to Senior Professional Lecturer of Fashion Merchandising
- Alexander Henderson – tenure at the rank of Associate Professor of Public Administration
- Qihao Ji – tenure and promotion to Associate Professor of Communication
- Byunghoon Jin – tenure and promotion to Associate Professor of Accounting
- Zion Klos – tenure and promotion to Associate Professor of Environmental Science
- Thomas Madden – tenure and promotion to Associate Professor of Business Law
- Elizabeth Reid – tenure and promotion to Associate Professor of Mathematics
- Leander Shaerlaeckens – promotion to Senior Professional Lecturer of Sports Communication
Acting upon the recommendation of its Academic Affairs Committee, the full Board unanimously approved the proposal for a new B.A. in Environmental Studies, which was also approved by the full faculty acting in plenary session. It also unanimously approved a proposal from the School of Management to create a standalone Department of Accounting. Congratulations to all those who contributed to the development and success of these proposals.
Highlights from other standing committee reports
The Board received a report on fall 2023 admissions activities, including the number of applications, acceptances, and deposits received for the Class of 2027. The Admissions & Enrollment Committee reported that, despite the many challenges present in the higher education market, the College again expects to meet its budgeted goal for new student enrollment, with an exceedingly strong overall profile of the incoming class, including markers of academic quality and diversity.
In light of the challenging market conditions, the administration was pleased to present a balanced operating budget for fiscal year 2024, which was unanimously endorsed by the Finance Committee and subsequently approved by the full Board. 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 in the coming weeks.
The Buildings and Grounds Committee reported that the Dyson Center project remains on time and on budget, with structural steel work substantially finished. Concrete slab work is currently underway and expected to be complete within a few weeks. Architectural precast panel installation will begin in June with roofing work to follow in July. The anticipated completion of this transformative project remains late spring 2024.
The College Advancement Committee reported on year-to-date fundraising efforts, a number of new gifts and pledges, as well as continued planning for the College’s next comprehensive campaign, which will be informed, and tightly connected to, the compelling ideas and needs surfaced during the strategic planning process.
The DEI Committee reported on a DEI communications plan currently being developed by the Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, as well as plans for additional learning and development to be undertaken by both the President’s Cabinet and Trustees.
Finally, the Board received a President’s Report from Kevin Weinman, in which he expressed his enthusiasm for the strategic plan, noting that it would position Marist to compete and succeed in its existing markets and expand into new ones. He relayed his sincere thanks to members of the Board of Trustees and all those who worked to shape the plan, particularly James Snyder and Emily Saland, who co-chaired the Steering Committee, and Katie Kodat, who dedicated time to the process prior to her formal arrival. He also updated the Board on recent travel to raise Marist’s profile, connect with alumni and parents, and participate with other colleges and universities in important collaborations such as the American Talent Initiative.
The Board is planning to reconvene on the Marist campus in September for a retreat and then again in November for its annual meeting. We will 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. Best wishes to all for a successful conclusion of the spring 2023 semester – we look forward to seeing many of you at next weekend’s Commencement exercises.
Ross A. Mauri ’80
Chair of the Board of Trustees
Kevin C. Weinman