Last week’s Student Senate meeting highlighted both the incoming and the outgoing at Knox.
Shortly after the introduction of the newly elected Senators (as of the end of the fall term), President Roger Taylor delivered his final State of the College address in the Round Room of the Ford Center for Fine Arts during the first Senate meeting of the term.
During the address, he announced that, at the end of the fiscal quarter on July 31, 2010, the Knox endowment was in excess of $81 million, the greatest amount in the college’s history.
He followed that announcement by mentioning that the college faces a $2.4 million budget deficit which may not be balanced.
Taylor outlined the three goals he set when he began as President: to “nurture academic excellence,” to “strengthen institutional self-confidence” and to “chart a course toward financial impregnability.” For him, the progress made toward those goals constitutes the state of the college.
“The principal component of nurturing academic excellence, in my opinion, is to recognize that the faculty is the core of the enterprise,” Taylor said.
He commented that this was the easiest goal for him to fulfill as it had such a focused end: to increase pay for faculty, make more money available to develop the faculty and finance faculty research.
In terms of promoting institutional self-confidence among the student body, he referenced his “corny rhetorical device,” with which he encourages students to proclaim that they attend “KNOX COLLEGE!” when asked.
Taylor also talked about the endowment spending rate, which has been decreased from 16 percent to 5.3 percent.
Senate Vice President David Barton talked about the most recent Faculty Meeting, at which the Dean of the College Larry Breitborde discussed potential changes to the Freshman Preceptorial program. Essentially, next year’s program could be structured at the professor’s discretion. The skills in FP would still be taught, but the teacher would design his or her own course.
As the housing process is soon to begin, Chairwoman of the Residential Quality of Life (RESQUAL) Committee Katie Wrenn presented a list of pros and cons of theme housing, as aggregated during the last committee meeting. The ensuing discussion included sentiments that theme housing is a creative outlet for students, but past RESQUAL committee members acknowledged a general lack of good ideas for special interest housing.
Communications Officer Chris Bugajski spoke to the Special Meeting on the Use of the Restricted Fund (SMURF) survey, which has yet to reach the expected number of responses. Barton updated the Senate on the newly formed Special Committee on Rules (SCOR), which seeks to overhaul the Senate constitution.
The Technology Committee report covered games on campus computers and the potential for electronic voting during Senate elections, and Dining Services announced that smoothies will not be available in the cafeteria until next year, due to physical changes that must be made during the summer.
Other than to approve minutes and the consent agenda, no action was taken during the meeting.