The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

Brief: Board of Trustees Discusses Issues Pressing Higher Ed, Third-Century Updates at Winter Meeting

The Colgate University Board of Trustees met between Thursday, Jan. 25, and Saturday, Jan. 27, to discuss the status of the Third-Century Plan as well as numerous issues impacting higher education, including freedom of speech and the growing relevance of artificial intelligence. Chair of the Board Michael J. Herling ’79 highlighted the Board’s discussions and goals in an email addressed to the broader Colgate community on Feb. 2.

Regarding free speech, Herling emphasized the Board’s discussions of existing protections at Colgate that safeguard students’ right to express themselves on campus, including the “Statement on Academic Freedom and Freedom of Expression,” which was written in 2018 and can be found on the University’s website.

“[The] trustees called upon the administration and faculty to consider meaningful ways to make this statement both more known on the campus and a resource to all as we seek to continue our commitment to free academic inquiry and the needs of our community,” Herling wrote.

Central to the Board’s discussions was a panel hosted by President Brian W. Casey on Friday, Jan. 26, to discuss the impact of artificial intelligence on higher education and the liberal arts. Various alumni and faculty who spoke at the panel noted the importance of incorporating the new technology into the classroom.

“I don’t think we can lose sight of teaching critical thinking or creativity, but I fundamentally believe we need to use this tool and learn to use this tool,” alumnus Julian Farrior ’93 — CEO and founder of Sunblink Entertainment — said.

Professor of physics Ken Segall compared advancements in artificial intelligence to the advent of the calculator.

“We’re not going to not use [AI],” Segall said. “We’re going to have to try to find ways to incorporate it, and at the same time, we still need to know how to write, we still need to know how to code and we still need to know how to do thermodynamics.”

Additionally, the Board addressed the progress made on various aspects of the Third-Century Plan and the Campaign for the Third Century, including campus investments and financial aid initiatives such as the Colgate Commitment.

“With two major academic buildings opening this year, we need to ensure that we are not shy about our leadership position in higher education,” Herling wrote.

Additionally, in an email sent on Feb. 6, Provost and Dean of the Faculty Lesleigh Cushing announced that the Board had approved seven faculty promotions, effective July 2024. Assistant Professor of Music Ryan Chase, Assistant Professor of Economics Charles Higgins, Assistant Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences Lauren Philbrook and Assistant Professor of Educational Studies Brenda N. Sanya will all be promoted to the position of associate professor. Richard M. Kessler Associate Professor of Economics Carolina Castilla, Associate Professor of Geography Michael M. Loranty and Associate Professor of Geography and Asian Studies Daisaku Yamamoto will all be promoted to the position of full professor.

“As I hope is clear, our newly-promoted colleagues are all very accomplished professionally and together have made significant contributions to our academic curriculum and intellectual community, as well as to their respective scholarly communities,” Cushing wrote.

The next scheduled meeting of the Board will be held in May, during which the administration will present its final recommendations for the University’s budget for the 2024–2025 academic year.

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About the Contributor
Ryan Dugdale, Executive Editor
Ryan Dugdale is a junior from Los Angeles, CA concentrating in political science and psychology. He has previously served as a News Editor, Assistant News Editor, and as a staff writer. On campus, Ryan is also a member of the Colgate Resolutions, the University’s oldest co-ed a capella group.

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