The board of trustees met on campus Nov. 4-6 to discuss questions concerning Linfield’s future.
Their meetings are held every few months and consist of the board sitting together in an open quorum to discuss the various issues about Linfield.
In an effort to restructure and revitalize the meetings’ effectiveness, the board met in a new fashion last weekend to answer major questions concerning Linfield’s future.
Several small, strategic planning groups were created. Each was composed of board members, faculty and a student. The groups discussed questions that will be answered in the future.
Trustee Ronnie Lacroute said that the level of questions was basic. She said they were presented with a list of questions and were asked to determine if they were questions worth asking.
The board was not supposed to answer any questions, Associated Students of Linfield College Vice President and student representative on the board sophomore Katie Patterson said.
“If we started to stray into answering the questions, the facilitator would tell us we need to be focused on the questions themselves,” she said.
The questions were broad-based queries into several aspects of Linfield and included:
• What is the balance between liberal arts classes and pre-professional programs?
• What is the balance between diversity and affordability?
• Does the college’s mission statement accurately represent Linfield?
No final answers were given, but there were discussions about the relevancy of the questions.
Affordability seemed to be a primary focus for the groups, Lacroute said.
All members of the strategy group she was in agreed that the financial crunch couldn’t be solved by raising tuition any longer. Alternative fundraising methods needed to be implemented.
She said that even with Linfield’s largest freshman class in history, the financial situation at Linfield is still in need of reform.
Possible solutions presented were encouragement of individual funding, donations from outside sources and increased alumni donations.
The size of the campus was discussed as well as how Linfield seems to have outgrown itself.
“We’re maxed out, and the only reason it’s working right now is because the older
classes are smaller,” Lacroute said.
Nothing concerning the housing development was decided during the meetings or other possible solutions to handle the college’s increasing population, because the facilitators did not welcome finalized discussions.
The level of questions and ideas on how to strike a balance between liberal arts and pre-professionalism at Linfield were basic. The questions were about if this is a current Linfield issue, and if so, what changes should be mentioned.
Lacroute said the possibility of adding graduate programs in some departments, like education, was discussed.
They also talked about how to grow the pre-professional programs, business and nursing, without losing sight of the liberal arts values of the college.
Nothing was decided on, but Lacroute and Patterson said that they are sure these
discussions will continue when the board reconvenes in February.
Both agreed that the new meeting style was more effective than the former structure.
It was frustrating not to be able to answer the questions that were posed to the group, Patterson said. After the meetings ended, the groups shared their discussions and findings with the board of trustees.
In February, the groups will begin answering the questions before the final decisions are taken before the board.
Matt Sunderland/Senior reporter
Matt Sunderland can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.