September 16, 2008 Minutes

Tuesday, September 16, 2008
4:00 P.M. – 5:30 P.M.
Leung Gallery

Members: President Simmons, Provost Kertzer, Karen Davis, Margaret Klawunn, Marisa Quinn, Vince Tompkins, David Cutts, Suzanne de la Monte, Chi-Ming Hai, Timothy Herbert, Marida Hollos, Evelyn Hu-Dehart, Lynne Joyrich, David Sheinberg, Brian Becker, Alison Cohen, Michael Glassman, Subha Subramanian, Clay Wertheimer, Lauren Buckel, Joseph Bush, James Doyle, Yolanda Castillo-Appollonio, Nancy Fjeldheim, Kathleen Rossi, Sarah Sharpe, Marlene Cutitar, Charlie Kroll, and Damon Rarick were in attendance. Anthony Cokes, Stephen Foley, Kartik Venkatesh, Carin Algava, Gillian Bell, and Ken McDaniel were unable to attend.

The minutes of the April 8, 2008 meeting were approved.

Provost Kertzer reviewed changes to Brown’s financial aid policies which took effect this year. Brown now waives the parental contribution for most families earning less than $60,000. In addition, most students from families earning less than $100,000 now receive scholarships instead of loans. Between 2007-08 and 2008-09, the number of families whose parental contributions from income were waived increased from 284 to 818, and the number of students with no loans in their financial aid package rose from 143 to 1,479. Sixty-one percent of students who now receive financial aid may leave Brown without any student-loan debt.

Margaret Klawunn, Vice President of Campus Life and Student Services, outlined how the University was housing the 55 students more than anticipated, resulting from a larger incoming class than predicted. Temporary rooms were created in first-year areas and upper-class students were relocated. It is expected that even with the natural attrition experienced each semester, housing will be over-capacity by 15 students at the end of this semester.

Russell Carey, Senior Vice President for Corporation Affairs and Governance, discussed a governance review that the Corporation is undertaking this year. In 2003, the Corporation approved a major governance restructuring which has now been in place for five full academic years. This year’s review will focus on two questions: 1.) How should the Corporation best organize itself to gain the information, including from the breadth of knowledge and perspectives through its membership and other means, it needs to make the best decisions? 2.) Is the Corporation conducting its business in a manner that best leads to well-informed Corporation decisions with the long-term view of the best interests of the University? Chancellor Tisch and the officers of the Corporation are leading the review. It is anticipated that they will seek community input during the review process.

Brenda Allen, Associate Provost and Director of Institutional Diversity, explained the comprehensive and wide-ranging self-study that Brown is currently undertaking as part of its re-accreditation by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Re-accreditation occurs every ten years and the process culminates in an evaluation by a team of outside experts who come to campus. The self-study looks at the mission of the University as reflected in the 11 standards defined by the Commission of Higher Education. It is the cornerstone of the re-accreditation process and is intended to present a clear picture of the University’s past, present, and future. The draft self-study which focuses on undergraduate education will be made available to the Brown community in early October. The final self-study will be submitted in January and a visiting committee will on campus in April to conduct a peer review. 

The next meeting of the Brown University Community Council will be held on October 28, 2008 
from 4:00 – 5:30 pm in Leung Gallery, Faunce House.

Respectfully submitted,

Catherine Pincince
Secretary of the Brown University Community Council