October 2020

Dear Members of the Campus Community,

The board of trustees recently concluded its fall meetings, during which we discussed key issues and opportunities for Puget Sound, with a particular emphasis on student success, enrollment, retention, and comprehensive campaign planning. We also heard in various meetings about the university’s ongoing response to COVID-19, including scenarios for the possible move to more in-person learning and student engagement in the spring semester. We welcomed several new and returning trustee members, ex officios, and policy representatives – including inaugural staff representatives; enjoyed meeting virtually with students, faculty and staff members; and discussed initiatives supporting the 10-year Leadership for a Changing World strategic plan.

Before relaying the highlights from this meeting, on behalf of my fellow trustees, I want to first acknowledge all the herculean efforts by faculty and staff to continue to provide an excellent educational experience for our students this semester and safe campus environment for all members of our campus community. We are keenly aware of the dedication and tireless efforts involved, and deeply appreciate the ongoing work involved by each and every person on the campus. We especially want to recognize the ways that faculty have evolved and adapted their teaching to maintain our hallmark engagement with students even in a virtual environment with support from technology services, and the commitment of staff in facilities, dining and conference services, residence life and student affairs, and campus health and wellness – among others – to assure our campus meets or exceeds all safety recommendations related to COVID-19. Thank you all. And we also want to acknowledge President Crawford and Cabinet members for their work as well, and the ways our students have also shown resilience and flexibility over the past seven months.

Welcome to New and Returning Trustees. The board is enriched each year by the generosity, expertise, and perspectives of new members. This fall we are happy to welcome returning trustee Mitzi Carletti ’78, Wealth Manager and Research Analyst at Badgley Phelps Investment Managers (Seattle, WA); and the following new trustees:

  • Justin Graham ’90, Principal, Soundstar Real Estate Development (Mercer Island, Washington)
  • Scott Higashi ’91, President, Pyramid Insurance Centre, Ltd (Honolulu, Hawaii)
  • Sarah Lee ’94, Assistant City Attorney, City of Seattle (Seattle, Washington)

Business Meeting. In advance of the meeting, we read reports submitted by President Crawford and ex-officio representatives, including Faculty Senate Chair Robin Jacobson, ASUPS President Nicole Cariño ’21, Staff Senate Chair Emily Holloway, and Alumni Association President Ted Meriam ’05, who joined us throughout the week for our workshop and policy committee meetings. Trustees value hearing directly from students, faculty, staff, and alumni about their work, and we look forward to having the opportunity to meet informally and in person with members of the campus community in 2021.

Highlights of the business meeting include:

Staff Representation. We were delighted to welcome staff representatives as voting members of our policy committees, and Staff Senate Chair Emily Holloway as an ex officio member to the Executive Committee. More information is included below in “Community Engagement.”

Title Change for the Vice President for Institutional Equity and Diversity. The Executive Committee reported its approval of President Crawford’s recommendation to change the title of the vice president of diversity and inclusion position to vice president for institutional equity and diversity, following feedback from campus listening sessions and our search consultants. The search committee’s work is underway and we look forward to filling the position this year following a national search. Additional Professional Development for Trustees. The Committee on Trusteeship recommended additional training and education for trustees on issues related to race-based discrimination and antiracism, and sex-based discrimination, including issues affecting LGBTQ+ members of the community. We look forward to more discussion on these important issues over the course of this year. The committee also recommended that all trustees complete online orientation offered by the Association of Governing Boards before the February 2021 meeting.

Puget Sound Fund. The trustees affirmed goals for participation in and contributions to the university’s annual fund for the current fiscal year, including goals for trustee giving and renewal of our ongoing commitment to 100 percent participation. Policy Prohibiting Sex-Based Discrimination, Sexual Harassment and Sexual Misconduct. As a result of new federal regulations that affect the way we respond to complaints and concerns of sex-based discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual misconduct as part of our educational programs and activities, we approved an updated campus-wide policy and heard more about the associated campus procedure.

Financial Matters. We added $2,000,000 to the university’s general operating reserve and provided guidance on 2021-22 budget parameters.

Finally, we attended to other duties of the board, including reports from the following board committees: academic and student affairs, development and alumni relations, finance and facilities, president’s advisory committee for campaign planning, and trusteeship. We also engaged in a workshop to discuss the comprehensive campaign planning schedule as part of our commitment to fully realize the objectives of Puget Sound’s strategic plan. More information about the work of the board is available at pugetsound.edu/trustees.

Please remember that our business meetings are open to all faculty, staff, and student members of the Puget Sound community. We were happy to have more than 65 members of the campus community join our virtual business meeting.

Community Engagement. During my time at Puget Sound as a parent of a student in the class of 2007, a trustee, and now chair of the board of trustees, I am consistently impressed by the passion and engagement of this community in preparing our students for success. Our students benefit from the university’s practice of soliciting recommendations from the faculty, ASUPS, staff, and alumni leadership to appoint individuals to advise board policy committees, strategic planning work groups, budget task forces, executive search committees, and more. I would especially like to recognize the following individuals for their engagement with the board of trustees this year, along with the dozens of staff members who support our work and serve as essential resources in preparing and executing our meetings.

  • Academic and Student Affairs Committee: Professor Tatiana Kaminsky, Rebecca Lumbantobing ’21, Sarah Comstock
  • Development and Alumni Relations Committee: Professor Nicholas Brody, Ryce Matsumoto ’21, Ryan Del Rosario ’15
  • Finance and Facilities Committee: Professor Nila Wiese, Aldrin Villahermosa ’21, Phillip Wells P’20
  • Executive Committee (ex-officio) ASUPS President Nicole Cariño ’21, Faculty Senate Chair Robin Jacobson, Staff Senate Chair Emily Holloway, and Alumni Association President Ted Meriam ‘05

In light of ongoing COVID-19 limitations and in order to assure that campus spaces are prioritized for academic use, the board will hold its February meeting virtually, concurrent with the meetings of the Alumni Council Executive Committee. We look forward to “seeing” you then and anticipate being in person with you next May.

Sincerely,

Robert C. Pohlad P’07
Chair, Puget Sound Board of Trustees

 

February 2021

Dear Members of the Campus Community,

The board of trustees recently concluded its winter 2021 meetings. Even though we are still meeting virtually, we enjoyed interacting with the university’s students, faculty, staff, and alumni. As a new practice, we opened our business meeting with a statement acknowledging that the university is on the traditional homelands of the Puyallup Tribe. The Puyallup people have lived on and stewarded these lands since the beginning of time, and continue to do so today. We recognize that this land acknowledgement is one small step toward true allyship and we commit to uplifting the voices, experiences, and histories of the Indigenous people of this land and beyond.

A land acknowledgment statement will be a regular starting point for our future meetings, and I’d like to acknowledge ASUPS President Nicole Cariño for inspiring us to take this step by including a land acknowledgement statement in her reports to the board over the course of the past year.

Trustees especially appreciated opportunities to engage with faculty to learn more about their recent research, scholarship, and creative endeavors; learn more about what it means to be a Logger student-athlete during the pandemic; and join our Alumni Council Executive Committee to learn about recent efforts to connect students with alumni. The board also met in committees and as a group for its business meeting to accomplish the following actions and activities:

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Antiracism. Prior to our meetings, trustees and Cabinet members completed three training modules on discrimination and harassment, managing bias, and inclusion in the workplace, along with associated readings. We all participated in a workshop regarding leadership in higher education and the ongoing work of understanding, supporting, and promoting diversity, equity, inclusion, and antiracism. President Crawford shared his Cabinet’s actions and initiatives to support diversity and antiracism to complement division-specific work taking place across campus. The board looks forward to continuing to engage with this work and think deeply about commitments it can make to support these efforts as well as the work of the incoming Vice President for Institutional Equity and Diversity.

Comprehensive Academic, Administrative, and Auxiliary Program Review. The board adopted a resolution supporting the President’s recommendation that the university conduct a comprehensive review of its academic, administrative, and auxiliary programs. Conducting this type of evaluation is important to help respond to the challenges currently facing higher education, and will support the university in fulfilling its mission within a sustainable financial model. The university will engage a consulting firm with expertise in this area and will convene a cross-functional steering committee to include faculty, staff, students, trustees, alumni, and Cabinet members. This steering committee will report its recommendations to the President, who will provide his final recommendations to the board by or before its October 2022 meeting. The board will receive periodic updates on this work.

Appointment of a Special Advisory Committee on Strategic Enrollment Initiatives. At the October 2020 meeting, the Committee on Trusteeship asked President Crawford to bring forward a proposal for a board committee to support the university’s student success initiatives. Higher education is facing a demographic shift and a changing level of demand for higher education. To support the university in moving forward with its strategic enrollment plan, the Committee on Trusteeship recommended at this month’s meeting that I appoint a Special Advisory Committee on Strategic Enrollment Initiatives. I will be working to identify and appoint at least six trustees to 3-year terms on this committee; we expect this committee will convene within the next month to begin its work.

Budget Recommendation for 2021-22. The board approved President Crawford’s budget recommendation for 2021-22, as shared with the campus community. Although the university has a longstanding history of balanced budgets, a temporary exception to this practice is necessary due to public health and economic circumstances. This budget responds to short-term challenges while advancing the university’s mission and commitment to student success. We thank the collaborative efforts of the members of the Budget Task Force in developing this budget.

Amendments to Faculty Code and Bylaws. The board approved two amendments to the faculty code as recommended by the faculty to modify the language used to describe the evidence required for promotion to the rank of full professor and to address the timing of when the modified language for evaluation and promotion should go into effect. We also approved an amendment to the faculty bylaws to update the charge of the University Enrichment Committee to select the recipient of the Dirk Andrew Phibbs Award and arrange for announcement to the university community and the Phibbs Family.

ASUPS Transition. We thanked Nicole Cariño '21, for her service to the board and the university in her role as ASUPS president, and look forward to meeting the new ASUPS leadership in the spring.

Tenure and Promotion. In closed session, we were pleased to support promotion and/or tenure of the following outstanding faculty members:

  • Tenure: Shen-yi (Sam) Liao (Philosophy)
  • Tenure and Promotion to Associate Professor: Sara Protasi (Philosophy)
  • Promotion to Clinical Associate Professor: Holly Roberts (Physical Therapy); Karin Steere (Physical Therapy); Sheryl Zylstra (Occupational Therapy)
  • Promotion to Professor: David Latimer (physics); Brett Rogers (Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies); Bianca Wolf (Communication Studies)

May Meeting Plans. While we had hoped to be able to convene in person for our annual meeting in May, we will instead be holding that meeting virtually, with the hope of resuming in person on campus in October. We look forward to “seeing” many of you then.

Thank you for all your continuing efforts and contributions to ensure the university’s success. We know the past year has been unprecedented and enormously challenging for everyone. The trustees are grateful and impressed by the ongoing dedication of the university’s faculty, staff, and students to keep themselves and the campus safe, supported, and focused on success. You embody our motto, “To the Heights!”, in everything you do and it is an honor to serve as your board chair and support the university in this role.

Sincerely,

Robert C. Pohlad P’07 Chair, Puget Sound Board of Trustees

 

May 2021

Dear Members of the Campus Community,

On behalf of the Board of Trustees, congratulations to our 2021 graduates! Commencement is such a special time, and I so enjoyed celebrating with you and our 2020 graduates this past weekend. While the ceremonies were a little different from those in the past, we are deeply thankful to all involved in a truly extraordinary effort that made our in-person ceremonies possible and safeguarded the campus community throughout the pandemic.

On Friday, the trustees concluded our fourth series of virtual meetings. We are eager to return to campus for our meetings in the fall. In the meantime, I am pleased to share with you the key actions and activities undertaken during our May meetings:

Strategic Plan. Trustees, President’s Cabinet members, the Faculty Senate Chair, the President of the Alumni Council, and members of the University Relations team participated in a workshop focused on comprehensive campaign planning to support the objectives of the Leadership for a Changing World strategic plan. We assessed the university’s readiness for a new fundraising campaign and plan to move forward in January 2022. We also discussed ways to highlight and advance the distinctiveness of a Puget Sound education in preparing students for success.

Business Meeting. The board received reports from Robin Jacobson, Chair, Faculty Senate; Sarah Johnson, Acting Chair, Staff Senate; Ted Meriam '05, President, Alumni Council; and Kayden Diodati '23, ASUPS President. The board also heard reports from its policy, operating, and special committees.

The newly appointed Special Advisory Committee on Strategic Enrollment Initiatives convened the first week of May to discuss the Strategic Enrollment Planning process in which the university has been engaged over the past year and likely key areas of focus for the committee going forward.

The Audit Committee brought forward revisions to the university’s Code of Conduct that are designed to better align university policies, provide clarity to the campus community about points of contact and protections against retaliation, and emphasize the Code of Conduct’s applicability to our individual conduct and the collective performance of our responsibilities as members of the university community. The board approved these changes, and the revised Code of Conduct will be available on the university’s webpage this week.

The Academic and Student Affairs Committee brought forward a Phased Retirement Policy for faculty and accompanying Faculty Code amendments, both of which were approved.

Tenure and Promotion. We were pleased to support promotion and/or tenure of the following outstanding faculty members:

  • Tenure: Renee Simms, African-American Studies; Bryan Thines, Biology
  • Tenure and Promotion to Associate Professor: Jason Struna, Sociology and Anthropology
  • Promotion to Clinical Associate Professor: Renee Watling, Occupational Therapy
  • Promotion to Professor: Peter Hodum, Biology; Emelie Peine, International Political Economy; Amanda Mifflin, Chemistry

Elections. The board also elected trustee and non-trustee officers for the upcoming year, and elected a new class of incoming trustees who will join the board on July 1.

We recognized and thanked the following departing trustees for their service and generosity to the university:

  • Christopher R. Pohlad '07
  • Michael A. Veseth '72
  • Linda R. Wilson '75, P'12

Trustee Kenneth W. Willman '82, P'15, P'18, read a resolution in appreciation of the lifetime of service of departing trustee Michael A. Veseth '72, a Tacoma native who has the unique distinction of contributing to the university as a student, professor, and trustee.

We are pleased to welcome the following newly elected trustees, who will begin their service on July 1, 2021:

  • Carla Cooper '72
  • Brian Gross '98
  • Karen Jenkins-Johnson '82
  • Lyle Quasim '70, Hon. '05 (returning)

We also elected the following trustees to their second and third three-year terms on the board:

Second Term

  • Shelly J. Heier '98
  • Sunshine A. Morrison '94
  • John P. Walker P'18

Third Term

  • Sumner P. Erdman '87
  • Jeremy L. Korst '97
  • William T. Weyerhaeuser

Trustees also recognized the exemplary service of retiring faculty and staff members; enjoyed the opportunity to view a broadcast of the School of Music Opera Theater’s “An Evening of Opera Scenes;” and heard a brief presentation from the new director of the Master of Public Health program, Dr. Cara Frankenfeld. We very much look forward to welcoming the inaugural cohort of MPH students in the fall.

As the current academic year comes to a close and we prepare for next fall, we wish to not only acknowledge but continue to participate in the important work in which the university community as a whole is engaged in continuing to build a campus culture grounded in equity and inclusion. Our mission calls for it, and our vision for the future of our university depends upon it.

More information about the trustees and our work in support of Puget Sound can be found on our website.

With much appreciation to our students, faculty and staff members and with gratitude for your good and important work over the course of such a challenging year,

Robert C. Pohlad P’07
Chair, Puget Sound Board of Trustees