On February 7th, Trustees met with students for dialogue on a wide variety of topics including the mission statement, next year’s budget, fundraising, and metrics with which they can assess progress towards fulfillment of the strategic priorities. Between February 7th and 9th the Board will hold their first set of meetings for the semester. The next time they will meet is in May. These meetings have special significance because starting in July when the new fiscal year beings, Chair-Elect Nancy Serrurier will take over from incumbent Chair of the Board of Trustees Brad McMurchie.
The February 7th meeting saw four trustees meet with students for a set of round table discussions. Chair of the Board Brad McMurchie, Chair-Elect Nancy Serrurier, Governance Chair Barbara Feigin, and Trustee Joe Davis fielded questions about their ambitions for the College.
Brad McMurchie laid out the Trustee’s agenda in an email to The Wire. “All of the Policy and Functional committees of the Board will be meeting [between February 7th and 9th] with the exception of the Executive Committee. There will be a variety of matters addressed at each of these meetings, all of which will include student and faculty representatives.”
On Friday the Board will review and vote on the proposed budget for the 2018-2019 academic year. That budget is typically made public, and The Wire will provide analysis when it is released. Friday will also see the Trustees review the Mission Statement. Though students have been receiving regularly updated drafts, many Trustees have only seen the most recent copy. The Whitman Experience Committee will make edits and that will then be sent for consideration in the accreditation process.
Among the most important goals of this week’s meetings is to think further about metrics with which the Trustees can assess Whitman’s progress towards fulfillment of the Strategic Priorities. These metrics “will measure Whitman’s success in the next 5-7 years relative to the priorities we have set for the institution,” said McMurchie.
For Chair-Elect Nancy Serrurier, these metrics will be integral moving forward. Though the committees will brainstorm how to craft the metrics this week, the final versions won’t be available for public scrutiny until after their next meeting in May.
In some cases these metrics will be more straightforward, like in addressing the under enrollment problem. But in less quantifiable areas like Diversity and Inclusion or Celebrating the Local, creating metrics to measure success will be far more difficult. For Trustee Joe Davis, it all needs to be done on a case by case basis. “Every committee is developing their own metrics,” he said.
Though students can expect to see an approved budget and mission statement by the end of the meetings, these metrics will not be made public until the end of meetings in May.
Check The Wire next week to read an extended interview with Chair-Elect Nancy Serrurier.