Little fanfare at weekend Corporation meeting

Despite the hoopla surrounding this year’s Yale Corporation election, it was business as usual when the University’s highest policy-making body met last weekend.

Yale President Richard Levin said the Corporation dedicated a large portion of the weekend’s agenda to the ongoing review of undergraduate education, in addition to approving this year’s budget, reviewing campus renovation projects, and receiving an update on labor negotiations and Yale’s distance learning alliance.

Levin said Corporation members met in groups of three and four with students and faculty members serving on the academic review committee for a “two-sided exchange” that he likened to free-flowing dialogue. He said the review committee did not make any concrete announcements, and predicted the path of the committee’s summer work.

“I think there will be a fair amount of fact finding about what is going on at other schools,” Levin said, adding that the academic review committee will present findings to the Corporation again in the fall.

The buildings and grounds committee approved next year’s Vanderbilt Hall renovation project and reviewed medical school renovations. Stephen Kieran ’73, the architect for the Pierson College renovations, spoke to the Corporation about his ideas for adding extra capacity to Pierson.

The plans for the new chemistry research building were also assessed, and Levin said the Corporation examined the laboratory layouts and discussed the challenges posed by the particular building project, which is located at the top of Science Hill.

“It is a challenge because the hill gets higher,” Levin said. “Our concern was to keep it from dominating the horizon. The question is, how do you conceal the fact of the huge ventilation equipment on the roof?”

Levin said work would not begin on the project for about another year.

Director of Labor Relations Brian Tunney spoke to the board about labor negotiations, and Levin said he gave a “thorough report” and that the Corporation endorsed the University’s course of action to date.

Regarding the Alliance for Lifelong Learning — Yale’s distance learning alliance with Stanford and Oxford — Levin said he felt very positively that the venture was gaining momentum. The first round, he said, was plagued by the usual start-up glitches, but he said he feels the project has matured since the first rounds.

“Like any new medium, you can never predict what will take,” Levin said, adding that he is encouraged by the program’s growth. “Our hope is to probably double the courses by fall or winter.”

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