The first Board of Regents meeting of the 2022-23 academic year was held on October 12th, 13th, and 14th right here on campus. As the student observer to the Board of Regents, I, Fenton Krupp ‘24, write a report about the meeting. For further reading, see the faculty representative’s report.
The first session with the entire board was an executive session that included a briefing on the presidential search. Executive sessions are closed to the student observer, the faculty representatives to the board, and members of the president’s leadership team.
This board meeting included two breakfast sessions, one with students and one with faculty. Members of the Board of Regents Student Committee (BORSC) met with board members to discuss how to best work together this year. Members of the faculty met with board members to discuss reactions to the For Every Ole project, which came from the board’s Visioning Task Force report last year.
This board meeting included tours of several of the new construction projects on campus, including New Dorm, one of the townhouses, and the president's house, which is located below the parking lot of Regents.
There were three plenary sessions at this board meeting. The first was about the methodology behind how the comprehensive fee is set.
The second was a report on how the For Every Ole project is progressing and a proposal to provide funding to reduce the annual course load for some faculty from 6 courses to 5. This change will only apply to tenure, tenure track and teaching specialist faculty due to their increased roles in advising per the For Every Ole project. St. Olaf has over 150 non-tenure track faculty members who will continue to teach 6 courses each academic year.
The third was an overview of athletics at St. Olaf and the presentation of a proposed facilities master plan that, if approved and funded, would guide the expansion of athletic facilities at St. Olaf. The proposal aims to centralize athletics facilities on campus to where Skoglund and Tostrud are now, and would cost between $230–$280 million.
There were five committee meetings over the course of the three days of this board meeting. The student observer (again, that’s me) sits on the Community Life Committee, which is responsible for advising the board on “enrollment, student and employee engagement, and programs and services affecting learning in the co-curriculum, with particular attention to the diversity, equity, and inclusiveness the college seeks to foster in all these areas of community life.” You can read more about the board’s committees on the St. Olaf website.
At this Community Life Committee meeting, there were three topics on the agenda:
Character in St. Olaf Admissions strategies
Introduction to the interim VP for Equity and Inclusion
The role of BORSC as liaisons between students and the Board
Admissions is reoccurring theme in Community Life Committee meetings—at last year’s October board meeting, the committee heard about then-current admissions and marketing strategies. Observant readers will notice that the third topic was also on the agenda for Community Life during last May’s board meeting. Unfortunately, just as we did last May, we ran out of time and did not discuss the role of BORSC as liaisons between students and the board.
The last board session I attended was a corporate session. This is the session where the full board hears a report from each committee chair about the current business of each committee. It is also when the board votes on resolutions put forward by committees.
After their last session, members of the board joined the Queen of Norway for a private event and lunch.