The Board of Trustees will convene this weekend to survey the state of the University and evaluate strategies for future programs, including entrepreneurship and Duke Kunshan University.

The Trustees will hear updates on the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative, the Trinity College of Arts and Sciences and the University budget for fiscal year 2013. The Board is expected to approve the Master of Science in Global Health degree program for Duke Kunshan University, which was approved by Academic Council Thursday, as well as several new construction projects.

The last Board meeting, held in February, focused on the future of higher education through retreat-style guest speakers and discussion. This week’s meeting will return the focus to a diverse set of strategic initiatives, said Board Chair Richard Wagoner, Trinity ’75.

“This time around I think we have a greater number of matters that cover the full span of the University, because at the last meeting we focused on a single topic,” he said. “[The agenda items] are almost all aligned with the strategic plan [President Richard Brodhead] has for the University.”

Expanding entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurial activity has been on the rise at Duke, and Kimberly Jenkins, senior adviser to the president and provost for innovation and entrepreneurship, will report to the Board on the status of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative, launched in Fall 2010. Jenkins served as a Board member for nine years before stepping down to lead this initiative.

“All universities have increasingly moved from being places all about creating new knowledge and disseminating it through books and teaching courses, to translation of the knowledge out of the university,” she said. “[Entrepreneurship] is transformative. The culture at Duke is being transformed by this movement in higher education and specifically by Duke’s commitment to playing a leading role in this.”

Duke’s development in innovation leverages the University’s strength across disciplines including liberal arts, engineering, applied science and medicine, Jenkins said. The initiative has also benefitted from considerable involvement by alumni who have professionally engaged in entrepreneurship, and engage with current students as mentors, guest speakers and investors.

Recent developments that Jenkins will discuss with the Board include the Duke in Silicon Valley summer program, which will send students to work with alumni in the Dogpatch Labs incubator in California and to pursue internships at startups in the region, and a new curriculum for innovation and entrepreneurship. This faculty committee proposal, pending approval by Dean of Arts and Sciences Laurie Patton and Tom Katsouleas, dean of the Pratt School of Engineering, would create a transcript designation for “innovation scholars” who complete three courses and an approved internship, and may grow into a minor program in the future.

Jenkins will also solicit the Board’s input regarding a proposed innovation and entrepreneurship center—a physical hub for the entrepreneurial community—designed to encourage teamwork with around-the-clock access, a legal clinic, mentoring opportunities and other amenities.

Jenkins noted that the Board has shown a remarkable level of interest in the innovation initiative. This meeting marks her third invitation to address the Board in the past 18 months, she noted.

“It fits very well with the historical Duke culture and in keeping with what we perceive as the growing interest of students and with other goals the University aspires to,” Wagoner added. “We want to make sure the University is leading edge on all fronts there. We thought we had a good culture, but we needed a good dose of concentrated efforts [which the Initiative supplied].”

In other business

The Board is expected to review the University’s finances and resources available for strategic investment in new programs and buildings, said Executive Vice President Tallman Trask. It is expected to approve the University budget for the coming fiscal year, which will total more than $2 billion.

Patton will provide an update on the state of Trinity College. She was unavailable for comment in time for publication.

The Board, which is tasked with ultimately approving any new degree programs, will likely approve the new DGHI degree for DKU, following Academic Council’s affirmative vote yesterday.

“There’s a lot of enthusiasm for that program, so hopefully we’ll be in line with the administration’s position on it,” Wagoner said.

The Board also will affirm all Duke degrees to be conferred to students on graduation, said Michael Schoenfeld, vice president for public affairs and government relations.

“It’s a routine approval, but, nonetheless, from both a governance and ceremonial standpoint, it is always an important and meaningful moment for the Trustees to confer the degrees,” he said.

The Trustees will likely give the green light to three construction projects: the approximately 8,000 sq.-ft. events pavilion that will house displaced eateries for two years during the West Union Building renovations, and later be repurposed into an event space to hold up to 400; the final phase of the Perkins library renovation, which will overhaul space for the Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library; and a new Marine Science and Conservation Genetics Center, the first major construction project in several years at the Duke University Marine Lab.

As of Fall 2011, the center had a budget of $6.75 million, paid for in large part by donations from the Oak Foundation—a philanthropic entity that supports non-profits grappling with global social and environmental issues—and chemical oceanographer Philip Froelich, Trinity ’68, and his wife Kathy. Construction is scheduled to begin summer 2012 with completion slated for Fall 2013.