October 2020 Board Report

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