Campus leaders, donors and alumni flocked together this past week for the seasonal Board of Trustees meeting. As a student organization, Senate was invited to participate in three specific Board meetings: The President, Sean Fiedler, was invited to the Board’s Student Life
Committee meeting, the Executive Cabinet was invited to experience the Strategic Planning meeting and Fiedler and Vice President Adam Saubel were invited to the general business meeting Saturday, Oct. 29.
The Student Life Committee was composed of a Trustee collective, Dean Marianne Calenda, Chaplain Tracy Sadd, the Faculty Assembly President Dr. April Kelly-Woessner, Fiedler and other Student Life directors and stakeholders. Calenda highlighted the important changes that had occurred since the previous meeting.
Most importantly, retention has been significantly high at 86.7 percent. A new counselor will soon fill the vacant position in Counseling Services, and residence hall bathrooms will receive renovations. Senate provided updates on their progress, while also providing feedback on possible projects and input when necessary.
The Strategic Planning meeting occurred Friday, Oct. 28. The Board of Trustees, Faculty Assembly Committee chairs and President Carl Strikwerda gathered to have an open mic session. The goal was to address the future of the College through the Strategic Plan that is in development. A large majority of the meeting placed emphasis on making the College innovative and giving Etown the opportunity to adapt to future circumstances it will face.
The Board of Trustees and Senior Staff met to approve future operating plans and budget proposals as well as give updates on the current state of the College. The room filled with tension as the meeting progressed, with some Board members expressing concerns about current trends that the school is seeing in regard to enrollment, the Office of Marketing and Communications and other financial situations.
Some highlights of the meeting included Dr. Sara Atwood and students presenting their research experience to the Board of Trustees. The Board also approved the purchase of a property along College Avenue, which will allow for increased flexibility.
The general business meeting on Saturday morning marked the conclusion of the Board of Trustees events for the week. The Board of Trustees will gather again in the spring semester. They plan to visit Southwestern University, the #1 ranked liberal arts college in Texas. The Board is hoping to gather ideas from this visit and see where the College can improve.