Board of Trustees engage in aggressive listening tour
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- In her remarks as new chair of Penn State's Board of Trustees (http://live.psu.edu/story/57339), Karen Peetz in January said she and other members of the board would be meeting with students, faculty, staff, alumni and other groups to improve upon the University's communications and its overall openness. In addition, Peetz said the board will examine its own governance to determine whether changes would improve its oversight of the University and its accessibility to it.
Those processes have begun. Members of the board were in State College for several days last week, meeting with numerous groups as part of an ongoing listening tour. Board leaders met with the Staff Advisory Council, the Faculty Advisory Committee, the Academic Leadership Council, and President's Council. Meetings also were held with Katie Smarilli, president of the Alumni Association, and leadership within the Alumni Association. The executive committee of For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students and other Development staff also met with board leadership.
Last month, the entire board met with the Student Leadership Roundtable and board leaders held discussions with graduate and undergraduate student leaders, and students representing Commonwealth campuses, all in an effort to gain understanding of concerns from across the University and to allow input and insight into University operations and need as Penn State moves forward.
"The meetings are part of our continuing listening efforts, in particular for the new leadership," Peetz said. "It has been educational. It is a tremendous opportunity to learn first-hand how all of these components of Penn State interact, how they view their roles within the University and how they see the University as a whole. The information we are gathering is critical to formulating our plans for the future."
In addition, a number of board members went to THON to show support for students involved in the $10.7 million fund-raising effort and learn more about how the students produce the largest student-run philanthropy in the country.
The board also held a retreat at the Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel on Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 18 and 19, to review options for its operating structure moving forward. No decisions were made and no business deliberations occurred. A few BOT members involved in the listening tour also reported back to the larger group what they have been learning through their discussions with the various constituencies.
Members of the board leadership plan to attend the March 13 meeting of the Faculty Senate. At that meeting, Peetz and Vice Chairman Keith Masser plan to address and take questions from University Faculty Senate members.
"We are eager to listen, receptive to new ideas and welcome more openness and communication among the president, the board, the Faculty Senate and the faculty in general," Peetz said. "We also are discussing plans for additional meetings with students and alumni, as part of our commitment to open dialogue with a variety of University groups."