Trustees meet TO Discuss Future Budget

Phillips Academy’s Board of Trustees convened last week to set the framework for the 2010-2011 budget and discuss the school’s curriculum development. The trustees assessed the previously planned $6 million budget restructuring and parameters for the upcoming academic year. Oscar Tang ’56, President of the Board of Trustees, said, “[Meeting the goal of a $6 million budget reduction] took a tremendous amount of sacrifice and a lot of work. We asked the administrators to recalibrate the budget, and this has been executed very effectively.” In addition to the $6 million budget restructuring, the trustees made preliminary decisions regarding the academy’s tuition and financial aid for the 2010-2011 school year. The Board decided against tuition increase, and approved sufficient financial aid budget to maintain need-blind admission. Nancy Jeton, Special Assistant to the Head of School, said, “Although the school is financially stable now, we are still practicing financial restraints.” At the meetings, Peter Ramsey, Secretary of the Academy, reported that the capital campaign, out of its $300 million goal, has collected $194 million in gifts. Aside from the budget planning, the meetings focused primarily on discussing curricular innovation that would promote a more globally aware and informed student body. On Wednesday night, trustees Tang, Susan Urie Donahue ’73, Ronald Takvorian ’66 and George Ireland ’74 hosted a dinner in Commons with a group of 22 students. Cluster deans nominated the students for their involvement in a combination of social justice, social entrepreneurship and community service. The trustees heard directly from the students about their experiences outside of Andover. Emily Adler ’12, who attended the dinner, said, “It amazed me to hear how other students were engaged in the world outside Andover. From after school programs to summers abroad, everyone at the dinner had stories to share about how they were trying to make a difference in their own way.” Faculty members also had opportunities to interact with the trustees. The four faculty members that make up Global Perspective Group, a faculty committee that explore ways of integrating global issues into the school’s teachings, attended the dinner. Tom Hodgson, Instructor in Religion and Philosophy, Chris Jones, Instructor in History and Social Science, Flavia Vidal, Instructor in English and Judith Wombwell, Instructor in Theater and Dance, joined the trustees for a dinner on Thursday to discuss how faculty development opportunities in the summer can provide a base for designing a new innovative curriculum. Vidal said, “Globalization is a reality that we must incorporate into our ways of thinking and of teaching. The Strategic Plan of 2004 charged us with preparing students to participate fully in the global community, and we need to do that to continue our tradition as an excellent school.” Faculty members and the Board discussed the knowledge, skills and values that the school’s curriculum should impart in order to educate students to become open-minded members of the global community. Lixia Ma, Instructor in Chinese, David Fox, Instructor in English and Chris Odden, Instructor in Mathematics, were awarded instructorships by the trustees as outstanding faculty members. On Saturday morning, the Board of Trustees had breakfast with Student Alumni Representatives (STARS) seniors who were chosen for class unity. The STARS members gained insight from the trustees about alumni engagements. Mandisa Mjamba ’10 said, “These trustees have their own history here at Andover and I believe our meeting was as much an opportunity for them as it was for us. “ Annie Pates ’10 said, “The trustees wanted to know whether we thought Andover was preparing us to be citizens in the broader world and how we could do this better.” The Board of Trustees meets once a term. During the spring term, they will make decisions regarding the academy’s budget for the upcoming academic year.