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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Faculty meeting sets goals for new school year

Published: September 20, 2013
Section: News

Last Thursday marked the first faculty meeting of the year. The agenda for the meeting included topics such as a report from President Lawrence, a report from Provost Goldstein, a report from Angela Gutchess, the Wellington Prize Winner in Psychology, an introduction of new faculty members and discussion of new business and policies.

As this meeting was the first since last May, the main objective was to discuss policy changes that were made over the summer. Faculty also began to plan goals for the year ahead.

According to Provost Goldstein ’78, the most important change since last May has been the arrival of the class of 2017 and the addition of new faculty members. Goldstein remarked that the new faculty members are all “individuals of significant accomplishment and great promise.” Each of the 14 new faculty members were introduced by senior colleagues. The English, German, Russian, Asian Languages and Literature, Near Eastern and Judaic Studies, Philosophy, Romance Studies, Biochemistry, Chemistry, Mathematics, American Studies, Sociology, Economics, Education, History, Psychology and Women’s and Gender Studies departments all received new additions.

President Lawrence also introduced the newest addition to our Board of Trustees, Perry Traquina. A Brandeis graduate who came here on scholarship, Traquina has achieved great success. He is now the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Wellington Management, an investment firm headquartered in Boston. While Traquina was not in attendance at the meeting, his first meeting as a member of the Board of Trustees will be in October.

At the meeting, it was also noted that Brandeis’ Transitional Year Program has been renamed the Myra Kraft Transitional Year Program. The program was named after the university’s receipt of a generous endowment from Robert Kraft, in memory of his late wife Myra ’64.

Both Provost Goldstein and President Lawrence’s discussed the strategic plan, which received endorsement by the Board of Trustees last May. When discussing the implementation of the plan, Goldstein remarked, “the steps we are already taking, in response to all the thinking that went into the strategic plan, are putting us on a path leading to both enhanced academic strength and greater financial stability for Brandeis University.”

One step of implementation already in place can be seen in the vast renovations and construction that took place over the summer. These improvements can be seen in the renovation and refurbishment of East Quad, renovations to the buildings in the Mandel Humanities Quad, new outdoor seating areas, new banners and new landscaping.

This improvement of the campus facilities will be continued throughout the year with the construction of a larger facility for the Lemberg Childcare Center, to be located on South Street. Also projected for this year is the renovation of several social science buildings located in mid-campus. Also, once the Lemberg Childcare Center has been moved to its’ new space, the Crown Center for Middle East Studies will be relocated to Lemberg Hall.

The goal of allocating the university’s resources toward our academic missions and goals was also discussed during the meeting. Goldstein noted that an additional $1.5 million have been shifted toward the academic portion of the budget. This shift in spending can be largely attributed to savings in the university’s operations, for example in the new contract with Sodexo and in energy reduction.

In his report, Chair of the Faculty Senate and Irving Fine Professor of Music Eric Chasalow, discussed the university’s plan to experiment with standardized test optional admissions. He also spoke about Brandeis’ participation in online learning through a new colloquium of Semester Online universities, which will begin next semester.