Yale Corp. to talk academic reforms

The Yale Corporation will discuss its progress in implementing the undergraduate curricular reforms recommended in the 2003 academic review as well as the University’s initiatives to run a more efficient budget at its meeting this weekend, Yale officials said.

The University’s highest decision-making body traditionally keeps its agenda secret, but officials this week offered some hints of what may be discussed this weekend. The Corporation will not approve a budget until next spring, but its members will discuss the University’s finances, Yale President Richard Levin said. In addition, Yale College Dean Peter Salovey said he will update Corporation members on curricular changes and introduce a three-year timetable for implementing the academic review recommendations.

“It’s an opportunity to brief the Corporation and to get input from them about clarifying problems,” Salovey said. “I’m looking forward to that opportunity.”

Last month, faculty members approved an overhaul of Yale College’s Credit/D/Fail policy, which, beginning with the Class of 2009, will no longer allow students to use the Credit/D/Fail option to fulfill distributional requirements. Just last week, professors approved a preliminary list of a broad array of courses that fulfill the new science and quantitative reasoning requirements that will go into effect this fall.

The Corporation will also discuss the University’s efforts to manage facility maintenance and construction with greater efficiency, Vice President for Finance and Administration John Pepper said.

“We need to see [facility maintenance and construction] kept up in a way that meets the needs of students, faculty and everyone, and does it in a way that’s more efficient, given the enormous needs for program expansion,” Pepper said. “At the same time, we need to do all that without running a deficit.”

Yale’s long-term financial plans will be a key item on the Corporation’s finance committee’s agenda, Pepper said. By next year, Yale officials say they intend to eliminate the deficit in the University’s operating budget. Officials have projected a $15 million deficit for the 2004-2005 operating budget, down from a projection last year of $30 million. The University’s target is to balance the budget next year, Levin said.

“We plan on getting there,” he said.

The Corporation will spend a significant amount of time discussing construction and renovation issues because of the considerable resources the University has devoted to these projects, Corporation Member Len Baker ’64 said.

“We spend a huge amount of our resources on buildings,” Baker said. “We need to get as much mileage out of our dollars as we can.”

Baker said he expects the Corporation to discuss ongoing searches for vacant administrative posts, such as the vice president for development, one of Yale’s seven officer-level positions. The search to replace the University’s highest-ranking fundraiser, Charles Pagnam, who resigned in October, is still in its early stages, and a short list of candidates has not yet been identified, Levin said.

Some Yale College Council officers will meet with Corporation members when they arrive on campus later this week but will not attend the Corporation’s closed-door meeting this weekend, YCC President Andrew Cedar ’06 said. The student government officers will address issues such as dining hall restrictions, admissions and financial aid and environmental concerns, all of which were brought up at November’s YCC-sponsored open forum with Levin, Cedar said.

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