Summary of October 2020 Board of Trustees Meeting
As it does each year, the Board authorized the President and Chancellor to confer degrees upon those who have fulfilled the appropriate course requirements. On the recommendation of the President and Provost, the Board approved the appointment of Arlie Petters as Provost of NYU Abu Dhabi and the appointment of Susan Antón as Interim Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Science for a one-year term. The Board permitted the suspension of Bylaw 81(c) to allow a faculty member to enroll in a Master’s program at NYU. The Board approved the establishment of the Bergman Family Professor of Skull Base Surgery and the Elisabeth J. Cohen, M.D. Professorship in Ophthalmology, both in the Grossman School of Medicine, and the renaming of the Samuel A. Brown Professorship in Therapeutics in the Grossman School of Medicine to the Samuel A. Brown Professorship in Medicine. The Board also approved amendments to the Faculty Handbook.
On the recommendation of the Committee on Trustees, the Board approved the re-election of six members of the Institute of Fine Arts Board of Trustees; approved the election of eleven members and the re-election of nine members of the School of Law Foundation Board of Trustees; and approved the re-election of fourteen members of the NYU Langone Health System Board of Trustees.
Select Committee Reports
- The Academic Affairs Committee summarized the presentation it received on the University’s hybrid approach to teaching that includes a mix of in-person, remote, and blended instruction. The Committee also received presentations from four University faculty members regarding new courses and delivering instruction remotely. The Committee also heard a presentation about the University’s research enterprise and the upward trajectory of the University’s research activity.
- The Alumni Affairs and University Life Committee reported on the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic and the shift to remote learning has had on student life, including housing, student engagement, career services, and wellness services. The Committee also highlighted that all current alumni engagement has moved online and there has been strong social media growth. It was also reported that the University is in its second five-year alumni relations strategic plan and that things are moving forward in spite of the pandemic.
- The Audit and Compliance Committee heard reports on the plans for monitoring and mitigating potential institutional risks. The Committee received a report on the University’s COVID-19 response which, until recently, was focused on reopening the University in fall 2020 and which is now refocused on future operations of the University. Finally, on the recommendation of the Audit and Compliance Committee, the Board approved the revised Charter for the Audit and Compliance Committee.
- The Development Committee gave an update on fundraising, highlighting that the School of Law received the largest gift in its history.
- The Facilities and Real Estate Committee reported that it had reviewed the status of the six largest capital projects underway at the University, which included a description of the significant efforts associated with project demobilization and remobilization related to the pandemic. On the recommendation of the Facilities and Real Estate Committee, the Board approved the revised Charter for the Facilities and Real Estate Committee.
- The Finance Committee reported on the impact of COVID-19 on the University’s finances, but noted that losses had been mitigated by cost-saving measures. The Committee commended NYU Langone Health’s work undertaken to mitigate the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on NYU Langone Health.
- The Investment Committee reported on the presentation it received on the performance of the endowment. In addition, the Committee reaffirmed the University’s asset allocation strategy.
- The Committee on Online Education and Technology provided a summary of the University’s transition to remote learning.
Report on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiatives at NYU
The Board received a report on a number of University initiatives and programs, including the enhanced Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholars Program; the establishment of the James Weldon Johnson Scholars Program; the Big Ideas Course Series; a micro-grant initiative awarding small grants to encourage dialogue across schools of difficult topics; the Office of Global Inclusion, Diversity, and Strategic Innovation and its various centers, events and programs; and this year’s NYU Reads series. The Board also received a report on the Center for Faculty Advancement’s work to support and strengthen faculty recruitment, retention, and advancement by ensuring that all faculty have access to all University resources to better enable them to achieve their professional goals.
The Chair provided an update on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the University and expressed his gratitude for the efforts of University faculty and staff who have worked under the pressure of the pandemic.
President Hamilton reported on the University’s planning efforts for the 2021-22 academic year, including anticipated challenges ahead related to the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated economic fallout, racial justice issues, and political volatility, among others. President Hamilton listed the numerous achievements made by the University in the last year in spite of the pandemic, including the University moving up in the national university rankings. President Hamilton added that graduation rates were up, and that the University was working diligently to make NYU more affordable for more students with a result that NYU moved from being the 4th most expensive college in 2015-16 to now being 54th on the list. The cost of an NYU education was steadily declining.
President Hamilton also provided reports on undergraduate and graduate enrollment, the University’s finances, hybrid model teaching, and guidance related to Thanksgiving travel and recommended testing protocols. President Hamilton further reported on research, highlighting COVID research being conducted at NYU Langone Health and the University. With respect to the University’s post-COVID future, President Hamilton said that the University is evaluating online teaching as well as its global structure. President Hamilton extended his appreciation to his senior team and to the administrators and faculty who have worked so hard during the pandemic.