BOT reorganizes, approves money for apartments

At its June 30 meeting, the College Board of Trustees revised the College’s governance process, appropriated money to continue the Metzger Drive Apartments and retain legal services and approved a slew of personnel actions.

The largest of these governance revisions is the removal of Advisory Councils and replacement of them with two types of committees: Planning Councils and Program Councils. Planning councils will work with an assigned “Planning Officer” and will report to the Committee on Planning and Priorities. The Planning Councils came about as a result of several campus groups expressing a need for better coordination and communication regarding the College’s planning process.

The latter Program Councils were developed from the Advisory Councils that they are replacing. The Planning Councils include: the Advising and Student Support Planning Council, Diversity and Human Relations Planning Council, Enrollment Planning Council, External Affairs Planning Council, Facilities and Construction Planning Council, Finance and Budget Planning Council and Information Technology Planning Council.

Program Councils include: the Graduate Programs Council, Honors and Scholars Program Council, International Education Program Council, Liberal Learning Program Council, Teacher Education Program Council and Athletics Advisory Program Council.

Other more minor changes include the number of members sitting on each committee and how the reporting structure works. In the past, the Committee on Planning and Priorities was larger than the other three standing committees. Now, most Planning Councils report to that committee while program councils mostly report to the Committee on Academic Programs, making the committees more equal.

“Many of the changes can be categorized as refinements,” College President R. Barbara Gitenstein said.

“I don’t think we’ve simplified governance, but I am pleased to see we haven’t made it more complicated,” Lee Whitesell, Student Government Association (SGA) vice president of Academic Affairs, said. “I hope the changes make the governance scheme easier to understand for the average student. But I see little impact these changes will have on the efficacy of governance.”

The governance revisions came from a review of the process begun in 2004 by the College’s Steering Committee. The previous governance process had gone into effect in 2000. It was intended to correct a public perception that the system implemented in 1994 was overly complex, unwieldy and kept some College groups out of the governance system.

The Steering Committee’s study focused on whether membership on committees was representative and numerous enough, whether the committees had broad enough grants of authority to consider all the issues that should be part of the committee and whether there were any other issues that needed to be considered.

According to the “Governance Structure and Processes” document the board approved, the review “affirmed the overall efficacy of and satisfaction with the Governance Structure and Processes.”

But, the document went on to say, “as a result of recommendations received, numerous adjustments and refinements of detail were made in the process.”

In addition to the governance revisions, the board allocated funds to continue the Metzger Drive Apartments project and prepare for legal action. It appropriated $210,292 to Kitchen Associates, the architects for the project, for “additional professional architectural services” and $123,920 to RAP/Moscher & Doran for “additional professional engineering services.”

It also set aside $165,000 for Schneck, Price, Smith and King, a Morristown-based 60-attorney firm, for “legal services for the Student Apartments.”

The board also approved a series of routine personnel actions, including the appointment of 24 new professors and acceptance of the resignations of two: Cathy Day, former assistant professor of English, and Sharyn Gardner, former assistant professor of business. The board also approved tenure for James Lentini, professor of music.

The board set its meeting schedule for the 2005-06 academic year. Its next meeting will be on Oct. 6.