From staff reports
The following are highlights from the Board of Trustees' committee meetings held on Feb. 25.
Business and Finance: The committee approved deferred maintenance projects in two East Campus residence halls and renovations to bathrooms in Edens quadrangle dormitories.
Trustees also questioned why the University has more than 100 beds empty during any given period of time.
"Is there some better way to manage [empty bed spaces] to avoid building a new dorm?" said trustee Herman Postma. "An empty bed is a terrible space to waste."
The administration is expected to review some of its policies concerning rent refunds, overcrowding and undergraduate admissions in an effort to decrease the number of vacant bed spaces.
The trustees also approved the first phase of widening Trent Drive.
Some expressed concern about maintaining freshman residence halls on North Campus.
"North Campus is an inadequate place to house students whether there is a Medical Center there or not," said William Donelan, vice chancellor and chief financial officer for Medical Center administration. "It ain't where students ought to be."
The committee also approved financing for capital projects in Arts and Sciences. These projects will include a new sculpture studio and renovations in Biological Sciences building.
The committee also approved a $4.1 million plan to renovate Brown and Bassett dormitories and a $600,000 proposal to upgrade bathrooms and plumbing fixtures in dormitories on Edens quadrangle.
Buildings and Grounds: Members of the buildings and grounds committee discussed the timetable for plans to expand Trent Drive and build a new recreational facility.
In December, the Board of Trustees authorized the expansion of Trent Drive into a four lane road. But the Medical Center has altered its plans because of the student presence on North Campus, and the road will only be expanded to three lanes for several years, said Larry Nelson, architect for the Medical Center.
By 1998, construction on a new primary care facility should be complete, and Medical Center officials will study traffic patterns to determine if another lane needs to be added, Nelson said.
"From a student perspective, this is the best possible way to make life for the residents there bearable," said Trinity senior Kevin Mullen, the committee's undergraduate representative. University officials have said North Campus will continue to house undergraduates for the foreseeable future.
President Nan Keohane has received a recommendation for an architect to design a new recreational facility, said John Pearce, University architect. The architect will speak before the committee in May, Pearce said.
Ed Shaughnessy, professor of mechanical engineering and materials science, criticized the recreational facility committee for not keeping the community informed about the project's progress.
Shaughnessy also asked how an architect could design and pick a site for a building before the University community has drafted a broader residential vision and decided where to build new dormitories.
Student Affairs: The progress of three groups evaluating student life at the University was the focus of discussion during the student affairs committee meeting.
Ron Butters, professor of English and chair of the Arts and Sciences Council's residential life committee, reported that his committee was conducting a phone survey early this week to garner student views on the residential system.
The greek life task force has begun discussing possible recommendations after a semester of gathering information from a variety of campus groups, said task force chair Sue Coon, director of the office of cultural affairs.
Hazing has also drawn attention from the task force after comments at a town meeting in January, Coon said, but the committee has not been able to ascertain how much hazing occurs at the University.
Trustee Julie Ezry encouraged the task forces to support continuity in residential life. "Those `hopping around' don't get the same bonding to Duke," Ezry said.
Peter Burian, assistant professor of classical studies and chair of the task force on intellectual climate, told committee members he would present the task force's preliminary report to the Academic Council on March 17.
The trustees heard a report from Dr. William Christmas, who arrived as director of student health in January.
In a presentation by international house staff members and international students, committee members participated in role playing games and discussed contrasts between values in the United States and other parts of the world.
Institutional Advancement: The institutional advancement committee centered its discussion on the University's local and national fund-raising efforts.
The number of donors to the annual fund has increased since last year, said Linda Gerber, associate vice president and director of University development.
"We're putting a tremendous emphasis on gifts of individuals--that's our growth area," said John Piva, senior vice president for alumni affairs and development. Because 43 percent of the University's alumni have graduated since 1980, Piva said he expects that more people will donate.
Fund raising has not been successful on all fronts, however. Specifically, Piva said, the administration has had trouble obtaining donors for the Levine Science Research Center.
"It's been a very hard sell," Piva said.
Because the project is facilities-related and science-based, two areas which garner little support from wealthy donors, the LSRC, a more than $70 million project, is still short by $40 million, he said.
Piva said that a committee has now been created with the specific purpose of raising money for the LSRC. "We've stated that this is the priority," he said.
Academic Affairs: The committee discussed the development of the institute of statistics and decision sciences.
The institute, established in 1986, was formed to consolidate and strengthen the instruction of statistics, as well as create a master's and doctorate program, said Lewis Siegel, dean of the graduate school. Originally the institute taught 400 students, and now teaches about 1,200, Siegel said.
A panel of three professors from other universities recently completed a review of the institute to examine its progress.
"They gave rave notices for the success of the institute," Siegel said.
Hiring more tenure track faculty is the next step in improving the institute, he said. The institute should also coordinate its research and teaching more with the social sciences.
Some committee members expressed concern with the quality of teaching that the introductory statistics courses receive.
"We need to figure out why freshman courses are not considered good teaching assignments," said Roy Weintraub, acting dean of the faculty of Arts and Sciences.
Medical Center Affairs: A doctor explained how anger and hostility can effect people at the committee meeting.
Dr. Redford Williams, professor of psychiatry, spoke about recent behavioral medicine research documenting how anger and hostility may lead to coronary heart disease. Coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death in the nation.
In the closed session of the meeting, Dr. Ralph Snyderman, chancellor for health affairs, and Dr. Mark Rogers, chief executive officer of the Hospital, reported on recent Medical Center operations.
Rogers and Paul Rosenberg, chief operating officer of Duke Health Network, updated committee members on the new network, which will coordinate all off-campus health services provided by Duke and Duke-affiliated physicians.