Independent Minds, Working Together

Board of Trustees Meeting

October 12, 2009

Dear Colleagues,

Last week, the College’s Board of Trustees was on campus for two very busy days of committee work, capped by the meeting of the full Board on Saturday. I write to give you an overview of the meeting, but also would encourage you to attend the Open Forum this Thursday at 11 a.m. in Gault Recital Hall of Scheide Music Center, where you can hear more and ask questions.

Much of the Saturday meeting was devoted to two issues of great importance: strategic planning and the Campus Center.

With regard to the former, the Board discussed and offered comments on draft 9.0 of the strategic statements that have been developed and vetted by the campus community this semester. The Board passed a resolution approving them in principle, with the understanding that they are likely to undergo further refinement and revision as the planning process moves forward to the next stage: defining the multi-year strategic initiatives to achieve our vision and the resources required to implement them.

Albert Filoni, from MacLachlan Cornelius & Filoni, gave the Trustees a detailed presentation on the schematic design for the new Student Recreation Center, which will be the first phase of the Campus Center project. This phase will address our most pressing needs, including construction of a field house, new fitness center, and more locker rooms for both varsity and recreational athletes.

The Trustees approved a resolution authorizing us to move forward with all architect, engineering, and contractor activities necessary to put the Student Recreation Center out to bid. At their next meeting in February, they will decide whether to proceed with the bidding process. The Buildings and Grounds Committee and the Finance Committee discussed a business plan for the new facility, including an analysis of how the College’s budget will support the increased operating costs and potential debt service.

The Board also reviewed and approved the College’s 2009-10 operating and capital budgets. Thanks to last year’s contingency planning process, and an extremely disciplined approach to budgeting for this year, which unfortunately must include foregoing any salary increase for faculty or staff, we are projecting a balanced budget for the current year. Capital improvements on campus this year will be very tight; one significant project, the refurbishment of the main floor of Lowry, will be funded by the accumulated income from an endowed account restricted for facilities.

In response to U.S. News & World Report’s ranking of Wooster among the top ten liberal arts colleges that do an outstanding job of teaching undergraduates, the Board unanimously adopted the following resolution "in tribute to the service of The College of Wooster faculty":

WHEREAS, the 2010 edition of U.S. News & World Report’s America’s Best Colleges ranks The College of Wooster number ten among the nation’s liberal arts colleges for the excellence of its teaching;

AND WHEREAS, Wooster’s company in the top ten includes Williams, Pomona, Swarthmore, and Carleton;

AND WHEREAS, the ranking is based on the opinions of college presidents, provosts, and deans of admission, who are well qualified to recognize teaching excellence;

AND WHEREAS, this ranking recognizes the singular teaching and learning culture at Wooster, demanding of both students and faculty, which is the basis of excellence in our core mission;

AND WHEREAS, that culture is grounded in the commitment of Wooster’s faculty to provide the mentoring, guidance, and support necessary for every Wooster student to achieve his or her full academic potential;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that this Board of Trustees at its meeting of October 10, 2009, expresses its deep admiration and gratitude to the faculty of The College of Wooster for their commitment to excellence in teaching and their unstinting support of student learning.

To which I add a heartfelt "hear, hear!" I have profound respect and admiration for our faculty’s commitment to teaching, so particular to Wooster, and I am very pleased to have this distinguishing excellence recognized.

Finally, there were opportunities to mark and celebrate a couple of important milestones in the College’s forward progress, with the formal rededication of Babcock Hall as the new home for the Center for Diversity and Global Engagement on Friday evening, and the dedication of the new Andrew Turf Field at Papp Stadium, made possible by the generosity of Trustee Ed Andrew and his wife, Edie. And even though nationally ranked Case picked up the victory in our first-ever night game, the Fighting Scots gave them some very anxious moments along the way.

Again, I hope you will take the opportunity to come to Thursday’s Open Forum with your questions, comments or concerns.

Sincerely,

Grant Cornwell