November 3, 2014

Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students,

In September, I promised that after each Board of Trustees meeting I would share some of the highlights in order to improve transparency in our governance processes.  The Trustees of the College met October 24-25, 2014, and I am providing you with a summary here.

Overall, there was a sense of exciting new beginnings and momentum throughout all of the sessions. The primary focus of the meeting was to share my impressions of my first 90 days in office. Incorporated in my report was an articulation of working goals that we have developed with input from various constituencies, including the results of on-campus and trustee surveys that were conducted in September. These goals that will guide our next six to 18 months are: Strengthen Campus Culture, Ensure Academic Excellence, Share Our Successes, and Reach Financial Equilibrium.  You can find a more detailed description of these goals at and we invite you to review and comment on them, which you also can do at this Web site. More importantly, you should know that the process we will use to address them involves continued discussion in our various shared governance structures around campus and hence will involve you.

We reviewed the latest U.S. News rankings and are considering how we might better monitor these measures.  While the rankings should never drive strategy, we feel that we can make a better effort to communicate to our constituents how strong Trinity is and commit to improving our reputation so that others outside our community will realize what we already know.

In the board meeting, we also discussed ideas for developing a mentoring network that would provide a virtual enhancement of the concept of a House System.  We will be sharing some of those ideas with the larger community and asking for feedback during a series of events planned for November.  Further, we discussed the need to prioritize essential repairs to our utilities systems along with facilities to support our academic and athletics programs, and how to do so while balancing a budget.

Because I know that a number of you may wonder about the discussion of Greek Letter Organizations, I will let you know we are continuing to consider options for improved gender parity in the Greek system. Substantial progress has been made in campus Greek life under the guidance of Timothy Dunn, Associate Director of Student Services for Social Houses, including improved GPAs, a strengthened Inter-Greek Council and improved initiation procedures for new members.  We also considered creating venues in which individuals and groups in the community might share their insights on how to continue to move forward in a positive direction.  You will hear more about steps to further this dialogue before the end of the semester.

Overall, the energy and enthusiasm at my first meeting with the full board was palpable.  We all took an opportunity to enjoy the excitement that comes with all things new and to participate in activities associated with the Inauguration.

If you have specific questions about the meeting, please contact Jason Rojas, my Chief of Staff.

Joanne Berger-Sweeney
Trinity College Professor in Neuroscience