From September 19-21, 2012, the Board of Visitors for the College of William and Mary met in Williamsburg. Chief among the topics discussed was the approval of an update to the College’s Six-Year Plan.
The update focused on the proposed allocation of funds for coming budget years. Increasing faculty salaries, which are currently far below those of the College’s peer institutions, was a priority of the revised plan. William and Mary is in the 14th percentile of peer institutions when it comes to faculty pay according the the State Council of Higher Education. The College’s six-Year Plan aims to bring it up to the 60th percentile.
“By all accounts, we lag significantly behind our peers in terms of resources, including salaries. We must be able to provide more merit-based increases,” said Jeffrey B. Trammell, Rector of the College in a university press release.
The Six-Year Plan comes in response to the work of a commission created by Virginia Governor Robert F. McDonnell which hopes to address the rising costs of college and to increase access to higher-education for all Virginians. In a December 2010 report, the commission laid the framework for what would become the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2011. The act required all Virginia institutions of higher education to craft six-year plans.
In addition to matters involving faculty pay, the Board’s improved plan focuses on expanding undergraduate and graduate financial aid, as assured when the Board proposed a tuition increase of $438 for in-state undergraduates and $1,382 for out-of-state undergraduates last Spring. A final operating budget for the 2013 – 2014 fiscal year will be determined when the Board convenes in the Spring.
Financial matters were not the sole topic of the Board’s Fall meeting. The Board’s Committee on Strategic Investments and New Ventures shared its plan for the College’s long-term future Friday, September 21. Promoting diversity of all varieties and expanding the foreign student population campus were among the proposals made.
“Everyone should feel welcome on this campus,” said Trammell during the committee’s presentation.
Diversity was clarified to incorporate political philosophy and military-veteran status, in addition to race, ethnicity, and religion.
Information about the progress of the proposed merger between the College and Eastern Virginia Medical School was presented to the Board and those in attendance. While the College is giving the idea much though, Provost Michael R. Halleran, notes that there’s “still much to be done.”
A key idea of the committee involves fostering cooperation between a hypothetical William and Mary Medical School and its other graduate schools, particularly the Mason School of Business and the Marshall-Wythe School of Law.
The Board will meet again from November 28-30, 2012.