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BOT approves first Baldwin renovations

The Board of Trustees approved plans for renovations to Baldwin Auditorium at its first meeting of the academic year this weekend.

The update to Baldwin, which has not been substantially renovated since it was built more than 80 years ago, falls in line with the University’s commitment to the arts, said Board of Trustees Chair Richard Wagoner, former president and CEO of General Motors Corp. and Trinity ’75.

“Some Trustees are particular advocates for the arts, and they were incredibly excited about this venture,” Wagoner said.

Initial renovations to the auditorium have already begun. Although the exterior of Baldwin and internal layout will not change, the new interior will feature renovated seats, floors, lighting and rehearsal space, as well as an improved acoustic system, said Michael Schoenfeld, vice president for public relations and government affairs. Renovations will cost $15 million and are scheduled to be completed in 2013.

The Board also approved a new 8,000 sq.-foot pavilion that will house dining facilities while the West Union Building undergoes renovations—slated to begin Spring 2013 at the earliest, Schoenfeld said. The pavilion will be used as an event space once renovations are complete.

The pavilion will be built along Union Service Drive, adjacent to the West Campus Plaza and the Bryan Center. It will serve as a natural pathway between the Bryan Center and buildings located along Towerview Drive, such as the Sanford School of Public Policy, President Richard Brodhead said.

The Board also discussed preliminary planning for the West Union, though details as to where different offices and private student spaces will end up are still under consideration, Schoenfeld said.

Wagoner noted that the University will be stretched thin during construction.

Brodhead said the Bryan Center may require some changes in order to house student groups in the interim, but he does not expect a substantial overhaul of the space.

Some undergraduate students expressed that they would like to have more input in discussions about the West Union renovations, Wagoner said. The Trustees met with several student groups this weekend at the request of several BOT members.

The Board also approved continued renovations to the West Campus Steam Plant and the renaming of the Rare Book, Manuscript and Special Collections Library in honor of co-Vice Chair David Rubenstein, Trinity ’70 and co-founder and managing director of The Carlyle Group. Rubenstein donated $13.6 million to the library in August.

The Board also heard a series of presentations—including one on Duke Kunshan University, which was given by Provost Peter Lange; Global Health Institute Director Dr. Michael Merson, who also serves as the interim vice president and vice provost for the Office of Global Strategy and Programs; and Nora Bynum, associate vice provost for the Office of Global Strategy and Programs and managing director for DKU and China initiatives.

The Trustees discussed DKU’s facilities, financial state, programming and recent leadership appointments, Bynum said.

“DKU is a very large and complex project with many moving parts,” Bynum said. “I gave them a good idea of what our focus is in the next few months, especially as we try to accelerate the process of the Chinese government’s official approval [of the project.]”

The DKU proposal was submitted to the Jiangsu Province Education Bureau and the Chinese Ministry of Education in June. The University is waiting on the MOE’s approval before the campus can open.

At the Academic Council meeting Thursday, Lange announced a semester-long delay due to construction challenges, pushing back the opening of DKU from Fall 2012 to Spring 2013.

“There is no anxiety whatsoever on the Board’s side about the rate of construction—everyone is completely relaxed,” Wagoner said. “We want the buildings and academics up to Duke standards.”

Bynum said the delay became apparent as construction progressed.

“You have to be at a certain point in the project before you can accurately predict the end date—that wasn’t something that was fully possible six months ago,” Bynum said. “Given the scale and complexity of the project, that’s just the nature of things.”

DKU’s facilities are designed to be flexible in order to adapt to the academic programming, which has yet to be finalized, she added.

The Duke Global Health Institute faculty members are considering two proposals—one for a Master of Science in Global Health and the other for an undergraduate global health module. The undergraduate program would contain four courses that are included in the Global Health Certificate Duke currently offers, Bynum said.

The faculty plans to vote on the proposals in late October, she added. If approved, they will go through the standard academic approval processes at Duke.

Bynum also noted that the Fuqua School of Business faculty committee is considering a Master’s of Management Studies in Finance, though when the program will be put to a vote has not yet been determined.

New appointments include Mingzheng Shi to executive director of the DKU initiative in China this Spring. Shi currently serves as the director of New York University-Shanghai. William Kirby, T. M. Chang professor of China studies at Harvard University, has become Duke’s senior adviser on China.

“[Kirby is] extremely well connected in the academic world in China and in the U.S.,” Bynum said. “I’m simply delighted and honored that he agreed to work with us.”

At the request of the Board, Sanford Dean Bruce Kuniholm gave a presentation on the objectives, progress, status and challenges of the school.

Kuniholm, who will retire from his position at the end of this academic year, referenced a number of statistics that point to Sanford’s success—including the school’s record number of undergraduate applicants and ranking as a top 10 public policy analysis school. He said the school’s performance is primarily attributed to the faculty, who have doubled in number during the past six years.

Kuniholm outlined several challenges the school is facing, which include launching a multi-year capital campaign and increasing financial aid for master’s of public policy students.

The Duke University Management Company also gave an update on the University’s financial statements and the Duke Endowment’s performance in fiscal year 2010-2011.

Duke saw a 24.5 percent return for fiscal year 2010-2011, which ended June 30—placing Duke among the top performing university endowments, Schoenfeld said. The Duke Endowment has recovered about 80 percent of the losses it sustained in the economic downturn, he added.

“It’s not like it was in the good old days, but having that [growth] is both a relief and a potential source of strength,” Schoenfeld said.

The weekend’s meeting marked the first under Wagoner. In addition, six Trustees and three observing members joined the Board for the first time Friday.

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