Facilities Planning

Today Joyce Jacobsen and I sent out an email about two upcoming open discussions of our facilities planning. Here it is. 

Three years ago we worked with consultants from Sasaki Associates, Inc. and Eastley & Partners to develop planning principles to guide campus development over the coming years. Broad input from faculty, staff and students about how they actually use the physical spaces on campus was crucial to this process. Since then, with guidance from these principles, we have made a number of improvements to campus – such as renovating two floors of Fisk Hall, the new Shapiro Writing Center, the new Resource Center, a student-controlled maker space, and adding the informal learning spaces in Exley.

Following on these positive changes, we are now considering what facilities improvements to make next. While we have made real progress in our planning, much is yet to be decided, and at this stage we are reaching out for broad input across many areas including moving the DAC collections into Olin Library, expanding the current digital design studio into a larger digital design commons, renovating the south gallery in Zilkha, building the third phase of the Center for Film Studies, renovating the PAC and building a new science building to replace Hall-Atwater. A forum dedicated to facilities planning will be held on February 6, during common time (11:50 am) and another on February 13, at 4:30 pm. Both will be in the Kerr Lecture Hall (Shanklin 107). At both forums, we will present a brief outline regarding the planning process and some currently salient ideas and then open the floor for comments, suggestions and questions.

These forums are open to all faculty, staff and students. We hope to see you there!

 

Joyce Jacobsen

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Andrews Professor of Economics

 

Michael S. Roth

President

1 thought on “Facilities Planning

  1. Wesleyan is doing such a great job on so many fronts — curricular innovation, deepening the applicant pool, embracing diversity, attracting and retaining superb faculty, strengthening finances — it seems almost churlish to focus on an isolated shortcoming, even in the spirit of constructive criticism intended here.

    Building the endowment is a vital priority, yet the communications from the University’s Investment Office in this regard are becoming a bit of an embarrassment. Consider this. It has now been seven months since the end of the 2017 fiscal year (June 30, 2017), yet the Investment Office still has not posted its year-end endowment performance report for that year, unlike many of its counterparts at peer institutions.

    Coming on the heels of the successful capital campaign, many prospective donors, whether to the Annual Fund or in estate planning, undoubtedly take an interest in the University’s stewardship of donated funds and would appreciate more timely and detailed information. It would be helpful for the Investment Office to fix a reasonable deadline for the year-end report, and meet it (much as publicly traded companies do.)

    And the disappointment doesn’t end there. In many respects, the Investment Office website is sparse and stale. Take a look at the “frequently asked questions”. One example: “What return did the endowment have in fiscal year 2014?” Fiscal Year 2014? We are presently in the second half of Fiscal Year 2018!

    Other aspects of the Investment Office web page are similarly un-illuminating. Most of the brief narrative describing the endowment’s history is devoted to the mid 1800s time frame, the balance to the 1960s. A more contemporary and fulsome account would be more informative and likely more inspirational.

    The Investment Office’s languid approach to communications is all the more baffling given its stellar performance in 2017. The fact, but not the details, of that achievement are available from other sources (Wikipedia, College Confidential) and the University’s own Finance Office in its financial report.) Why then have we not yet received the customary full report?

    Is the concern that donors may cut back once word gets out? That does not seem to have restrained donors to Amherst or Williams. Success can breed success — many prospective donors may be more energized by an endowment program that energetically communicates its progress.

    David Harfst, Class of 1972.

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