Dear Members of the Brown Community,
The Corporation of Brown University recently completed its winter meetings. The Corporation (the name given in the Charter of the University, written in 1764) is the University’s governing body. The Corporation comprises a Board of Fellows and a Board of Trustees and is responsible for matters of policy and long-term planning. More information about the trustees and fellows as a whole, biographies of members, and their roles and responsibilities can be found on the Corporation website:
ACADEMIC PRIORITIES AND PLANNING
Members of the Corporation, both in the Committee on Academic Affairs and meetings of the whole, focused on a wide range of issues related to academic priorities and excellence. This included discussion of emerging plans to grow our research enterprise by increasing the level of external funding from the federal government, foundations and corporations. Research expenditures at Brown have grown significantly — and significantly faster than our peers — over the past decade, but there is great opportunity for continued improvement. Provost Richard M. Locke and the senior academic deans will be leading conversations with faculty in the coming months in order to develop plans for growth that align with areas of existing academic strength, complement our educational mission, and have a high potential for impact. As context for this discussion, members of the Academic Affairs Committee spent time engaging with faculty and students in the physical sciences and engineering who are conducting cutting-edge research in their fields.
The Corporation also received presentations regarding and discussed opportunities for academic innovation, building on the foundation of experience with teaching and learning technology necessitated by the pandemic. Initiatives to foster innovation in teaching and learning provide many opportunities, including enhancing experiential education to encourage more undergraduates to participate in off-campus internships, research opportunities, volunteer and civic engagement work, and traditional study abroad programs; strengthening and expanding professional education programs to diverse learners around the world; and advancing high-impact teaching and learning for students and faculty. Our ability to do so has been reinforced by the recent approval from our accreditors, the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), allowing Brown to offer distance education opportunities. Ideas, initiatives and plans in this arena will also be the subject of ongoing discussions led by the provost and deans with faculty and students in the coming months.
FISCAL YEAR 2023 TUITION, FEES AND SALARY POOL
The February meeting of the Corporation traditionally includes consideration of the mid-cycle report and recommendations of the University Resources Committee (URC), chaired by Provost Locke and composed of students, faculty and administrators. The URC operates on a full-year schedule and will present to me their recommended budget for Fiscal Year 2023 — including the University’s financial aid budget, which we expect to continue to outpace increases in tuition and fees — later this semester for action at the May meeting of the Corporation.
The URC recommended a proposed increase in tuition and fees of 2.85% for undergraduate and non-variable graduate programs. This is equivalent to last year’s increase, thereby matching the lowest increase in the past 11 years. Maintaining a modest approach to the tuition increase recognizes the economic impact that COVID-19 has had on many families and highlights the University’s commitment to accessibility. I recommended the increase, and it was approved by the Corporation. The Corporation also approved recommended variable tuition increases to graduate, executive and medical programs, and summer and winter sessions.
Importantly, the URC and the Corporation weighed increases to tuition and fees within the context of the University’s announcement in October that Brown will significantly increase scholarships for moderate-income students, reduce the summer earnings expectation for our highest-need students, and move toward need-blind admissions for international students over the next several years. These important investments will further strengthen the University’s ability to attract the most promising students from all socioeconomic groups and will reduce financial obstacles for low- and moderate-income families. When fully implemented, financial aid investments will add approximately $25 million annually to the current undergraduate financial aid budget, which stood at $164 million in Fiscal Year 2022. The incremental financial support will be made possible, in part, by the extraordinary performance of the University’s endowment and the success of the BrownTogether fundraising campaign.
The Corporation also approved a faculty and staff salary pool of 4.25% for FY23, the highest increase in over a decade. The salary pools are allocated by deans and senior officers to fund annual performance-based salary increases, equity adjustments, retention and promotions over the course of the next fiscal year. In making this recommendation, the URC reviewed substantial analyses, including presentations by the Dean of the Faculty and leadership from BioMed, the School of Public Health, and the School of Engineering on faculty salary levels and hiring and retention rates across all faculty ranks and disciplines. University Human Resources provided market data and hiring and retention trends at Brown in all staff employment categories. In their recommendation to me, which I endorsed, the URC noted they felt strongly that although the pandemic has had substantial financial consequences for Brown, it was crucial to put forth an extraordinary salary pool increase to address recruitment and retention concerns. Tight labor markets and increased opportunities for remote and hybrid work have made recruitment and retention more challenging and has resulted in increased voluntary staff turnover across the country, including here at Brown. This increase is also an acknowledgment of the incredible commitment our community has had to this institution throughout the pandemic.
Related to staff and faculty excellence and support, the Corporation also considered and approved my recommendation that we provide a special one-time bonus payment for eligible Brown employees in recognition of the shared extraordinary efforts of Brown faculty and staff. Approximately 4,600 active employees will be eligible for a one-time payment in March 2022 equivalent to 3% of their base pay, with a minimum payment of $2,000 and a maximum of $4,500. Employees who will receive this payment include non-union and union staff, regular and non-regular faculty and postdoctoral fellows and associates who work 50% time or greater and have a hire date on or before January 4, 2022.
ACCEPTANCE OF GIFTS AND OTHER ACTIONS
The Corporation formally accepted individual gifts and pledges in the amount of $1 million or more made since October. Totaling approximately $140 million, these generous commitments provide critical support to a wide range of Brown’s academic priorities. The success of the BrownTogether fundraising campaign to date and in the future builds from gifts of many dollar amounts, and all are essential to our success and deeply appreciated.
The Corporation approved the establishment of the following endowed positions in recognition of gifts having been received:
· The Khosrowshahi University Professorship in Computer Science with the generous support of Dara Khosrowshahi '91, P'22 and Sydney Shapiro;
· The John Nickoll '57 P'82 GP'24 Provost's Professorship with the generous support of John F. Nickoll '57, P'82, GP'24;
· The Malcolm S. Forbes P'76, GP'95, GP'08 Professorship in Modern Culture and Media with the generous support of Timothy C. Forbes '76, LHD'96 hon., P'08 and Anne S. Harrison '76, P'08;
· The Bioinformatics Professorship at the Center for Alzheimer's Disease Research with the generous support of an anonymous donor;
· The Neuroimmunology Professorship at the Center for Alzheimer's Disease Research with the generous support of an anonymous donor;
· The Giancarlo Family Provost's Professorship with the generous support of Charles H. Giancarlo '79, P'08, P'11 and Dianne G. Giancarlo P'08, P'11;
· The Mimi Pichey '72 Assistant Professorship in Obstetrics and Gynecology with the generous support of Miriam Dale Pichey '72;
· The Chancellor Samuel M. Mencoff '78 Directorship of Athletics with the generous support of Samuel M. Mencoff '78, P'11, P'15 and Ann S. Mencoff, P'11, P'15;
· The Dahl Family Assistant Coaching Chair for Women's Crew with the generous support of Bob Dahl, P'21 and Leslie Dahl, P'21;
· The Robert F. Hill, Jr. '88 Assistant Coaching Chair for Wrestling with the generous support of Serge Brunner '71;
· The Director of Operations Position for Men's Wrestling with the generous support of an anonymous donor.
The Corporation approved the naming of the Saxena Center for Contemporary South Asia in recognition of the generous support of Parag Saxena P’13, P’14, P’15 and Usha Saxena P’13, P’14, P’15.
The Corporation approved the appointment of the following faculty members to named chairs:
· Jack A. Elias, Warren Alpert Foundation Professor of Translational Science;
· Jill Maron, William and Mary Oh-William and Elsa Zopfi Professor of Pediatrics for Perinatal Research.
The Committee on Budget and Finance authorized construction of the new undergraduate student residence halls on Brook Street and a renovation of 22 Benevolent Street to be the new home of the LGBTQ Center.
Student leaders from Religious Life, the Swearer Center, BWell, Student Activities and Athletics communities met with members of the Corporation on Thursday evening to discuss a variety of aspects of life at Brown. The Committee on Campus Life convened discussions with graduate students over breakfast Friday morning, and the Fellows met with officers of the Medical Faculty Executive Committee to learn about issues of concern to Brown’s faculty members.
Finally, after a review and consultation process involving all members of the Trustees and Fellows, the Corporation voted to reappoint Chancellor Samuel Mencoff ’78 and Treasurer Theresia Gouw ’90 to third three-year terms in their respective offices, through June 30, 2025. The Corporation also elected Pamela Reeves ’87 to serve as Vice Chancellor, effective July 1. Pamela will succeed Alison Ressler ’80, who, after remarkable and distinguished service to Brown as Treasurer from 2008 to 2016 and Vice Chancellor since 2016, opted not to serve another term as officer in an effort to allow others to have an opportunity and with a view to strong governance. I join in congratulating Sam, Theresia and Pamela and thanking Alison for all that she has done, and will continue to do, for Brown.
Christina H. Paxson