Recent easing of the international financial crisis brings improved prospects for the budget, the endowment, the Reaching the World campaign, and, to a degree, Colby's building plans. President Bro Adams, at his forum following the Board of Trustees meeting, discussed those topics as well as admissions and financial aid, the new alcohol policy, developments in writing instruction, and changes to the makeup of the board. Some details:
BUDGET PROJECTS PAY RAISE(S)
The budget was a major focus of trustee meetings April 9-10, and current plans are for a 2-percent increase in wages up to a maximum of $1,000 per employee, Bro said. Depending on the year-end surplus, there is a possibility of one-time payments as well, but that hangs in the balance at the end of the fiscal year. Colby’s comprehensive fee, the main determinant on the revenue side, is $51,990 for 2010-11. That's a 3.32-percent increase, or 1 percent over the consumer price index of inflation.
CAMPAIGN'S CONCLUSION APPROACHES
The fact that the Reaching the World capital campaign has recorded $359 million in commitments with two and a half months to go is impressive, given the challenges of the economic climate. But, with a campaign goal of $370 million, Bro said, "It is not a trivial matter raising eleven million dollars in two months." He expressed some optimism. The Colby Fund is on track to recoup some of the ground it lost in the depth of the recession, but a lot of the gifts come in during the remaining 10 weeks of the fiscal year. The endowment has crossed the $500-million mark but still has about $100 million to go before it regaining the pre-recession high-water mark.
Renovation and expansion of the Goddard-Hodgkins dorm is underway and will be completed this summer. Plans for the museum expansion and renovation are progressing, with construction to begin in the summer of 2011. Taking possession of the promised Lunder Collection awaits opening of the new museum space, and that project will close the museum for a little over a year, Bro said. The College is eager to start construction of a biomass boiler that will reduce energy costs over time as well as Colby’s carbon footprint, and the science building on Colby Green is also still on the drawing board. The science building will require more fundraising than originally planned, so no firm date has been set for a groundbreaking there.FINANCIAL AID AND ADMISSIONS
The Admissions Office is in the phase where admitted students "keep us on pins and needles," said Parker Beverage, dean of admissions and financial aid. Based on students admitted, he predicted significant progress in efforts to increase the racial and ethnic diversity of Class of 2014, and he was also optimistic that we'll see good yield among the most academically capable admitted students. Admitted students come from 71 countries, 44 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. The goal is an incoming class of 495 with five to seven transfers and 35-40 mid-years, he said. The current enrollment target is 1,850, Bro said. While slightly higher than this year, that's no higher than it had been for the previous four years.
NEW TRUSTEES AND OVERSEERS
Trustees approved two new members of the board, Eric Rosengren '79, P'12, president of the Boston Federal Reserve Bank, and John Mc Clain '69, a former senior administrator and research scientist at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and now a consultant. Bill Goldfarb '68 and David Pulver '63 will return to the board for new terms. Bill Koster '66 was appointed as an overseer. Going off the board as required by bylaws were Bill Alfond '72, Jerry Dorros, Nancy Weiland '65, and Anne Clarke Wolff '87.
The board heard about new developments in English composition for first-year students next fall. A proposal for a writing-across-the-curriculum program is also in the works. Bro noted anecdotally that in a recent conversation with young alumni, each one he talked to mentioned the importance of communication skills in the workplace and graduate school, which highlighted to him the importance of this initiative. The board also expressed considerable interest in rejuvenating the January Program, Bro said.
ALCOHOL POLICY CHANGE
Starting in 2010-11 the College will adopt changes to the alcohol policy aimed at minimizing high-risk, dangerous drinking by limiting the use of hard alcohol by students. Bro said the new policy will bring Colby in line with policies at other liberal arts colleges in Maine and will address what he called "the epicenter" of problems with alcohol on campus.
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