October 7, 2010 Campus Community

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October 7, 2010
TO:
Campus Community
FROM:
Gary M. Abramson, Chairman, Board of Trustees
SUBJECT:
Board of Trustees Fall 2010 Retreat and Meeting Summary and
Notification of Periodic Comprehensive Assessment of President Neil
Kerwin
________________________________________
The American University Board of Trustees held its fall 2010 retreat and meeting on
Thursday, September 23, and Friday, September 24, on the AU campus. At the September
23 retreat, President Kerwin reported on the implementation of the strategic plan (which is
now online for campus community review,
https://www1.american.edu/strategicplan/pdf/docs/September-27-2010-SP-Update.pdf,
my.american.edu login required); executive director of communications and marketing Terry
Flannery reported on AU’s branding (KNOW/WONK) project; and director of
sustainability Chris O’Brien reported on AU’s green initiatives and climate commitment.
The Board of Trustees also initiated the periodic comprehensive assessment of President
Kerwin. The purpose of the assessment is to give constructive feedback to the president and
to provide the board with insight that will improve its performance. The Board of Trustees
will use a process recommended by the board’s Special Committee on Governance and the
Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB) that includes
interviews with various members of the university community. Both individual and group
interviews will be conducted. The AU community at large may also participate by sending a
confidential e-mail to the AGB consultant we have engaged to facilitate this process,
Kenneth Shaw ([email protected]). Both participant comments and the final report will
be kept confidential.
On Thursday evening, September 23, the trustees joined 250 AU and School of International
Service alumni and friends for the dedication of the SIS building, with speakers including SIS
alumni David Gregory and Esther Benjamin, project architect William McDonough, SIS
dean Louis Goodman, President Kerwin, and me.
Business conducted at the full board meeting on September 24 and coming out of the
committees was as follows:
Academic Affairs Committee chair Bishop John Schol presented resolutions for board
approval to establish the bachelor of science in accounting program in the Kogod School of
Business and the master of laws in advocacy program in the Washington College of Law.
Both were approved. He also reported on the announced retirements (effective May 2011)
of Kogod dean Dick Durand and Washington Semester Program dean David Brown; and
the death of former trustee, board chair, and university friend Bishop James K. Mathews.
Alumni Affairs and Development Committee chair Pat Butler reported that the Campaign
for AnewAU has raised $206 million and will be celebrated at the President’s Circle Dinner
on October 21 in Bender Arena. The Athletics Committee report was delivered by director
of athletics Keith Gill, who cited the impressive academic achievements of AU
athletes⎯with 74 percent earning a 3.0 GPA or higher during fall semester and 80 percent
earning a 3.0 GPA or higher during the spring. He also reported on the new CBS College
Sports television contract with the Patriot League.
The Audit Committee report was delivered by vice president of finance and treasurer Don
Myers, who reported on the results of the committee’s July 27 meeting; Price Waterhouse
Coopers gave an “unqualified opinion” with no adjustments to AU’s audit report for FY
2010 and no material weaknesses.
Campus Life Committee chair Pam Deese reported on retention and AU’s recent (record)
success, changes in the student conduct code, and an upcoming review of summer student
orientation. Communications Committee chair David Drobis referenced Dr. Flannery’s
KNOW/WONK marketing campaign report and the unit’s aggressive media placement
efforts, citing that one-fourth of AU’s media hits are faculty.
Vice President Don Myers provided an update on the status of the campus plan, which will
be filed later this year. Efforts to engage the community are ongoing, and designs are
beginning to emerge for the East Campus and Nebraska Hall addition housing projects. And
the two-year budget process⎯chaired by Provost Scott Bass and Vice President Myers⎯will
begin this fall.
The plenary focused on the AU library was led by university librarian Bill Mayer, who gave a
thought-provoking presentation on the modern library and patterns of use, design,
technology, and the role of books⎯at AU and elsewhere.
The meeting adjourned at 1 p.m. The next board meeting will be Thursday, November 18,
and Friday, November 19.
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