Board of Trustees discuss construction, progress
Published: Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, May 15, 2012 05:05
University officials discussed the ongoing and future construction on campus, the incoming class of freshmen, the university’s progress and awarded faculty and students at the semiannual Board of Trustees meeting last Thursday in the Trabant University Center.
President Patrick Harker said construction at the Science, Technology, and Advanced Research campus is underway. The university recently announced its first partner on the site, Bloom Energy, a California-based fuel cell manufacturing company. He said Bloom Energy will help bring hundreds of jobs to the area.
“It’s a celebration of manufacturing strength, when that sector is hurting so badly nationwide,” Harker said. “It’s also a celebration of clean-energy leadership—the university’s and Bloom’s.”
He said STAR campus will provide an opportunity for faculty and students to gain practical experience working on a manufacturing site.
Harker said other construction projects on campus are progressing on schedule, including the Bob Carpenter Center, East Campus and the Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Laboratory on Academy Street.
“The number one thing that students used to request to improve was the Bob Carpenter Center,” he said. “We have begun construction and students will be able to access the new facilities by the summer of 2013.”
He said the East Campus residence halls, which will house 767 freshmen, and the Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Laboratory will open in the fall of 2013.
After the president’s remarks, the Board reviewed the various subcommittees’ work and presented all resolutions unanimously. Some included changing the name of the department of women’s studies to the department of women and gender studies, a 5.5 percent increase in both dining and residence hall rates and authorizing Harker to confer degrees at commencement.
Outgoing director of admissions Louis Hirsh presented his office’s final status report, saying he was especially proud that the incoming freshman class will represent minorities more fairly than any other year.
“When the Class of 2016 comes to UD this August, nearly 20 percent of the students will be students of color whose heritages are Asian, Black, Hispanic, American Indian and Pacific Islander,” Hirsh said.
The student body represents 19.4 percent of minorities and has been increasing over the past five years, according to the university’s Office of Institutional Research.
Both Harker and Hirsh said the increase in freshman minorities was due to recently instituted outreach campaigns. Hirsh said admissions officers circulated recruitment literature written in Spanish to focus on Hispanic students.
“What we found is that it’s not communicating with students that’s an issue, it’s communicating with parents,” Hirsh said. “We release information in our pamphlets and online that is written in Spanish so that it is more accessible.”
Harker said the university works within Hispanic communities in southern Delaware to provide education for students whose primary language is not English.
Following Hirsh’s remarks, Provost Tom Apple commended faculty members and students for their work during the current school year.
Sociology and criminal justice professor Joel Best received the Francis Alison Faculty Award, the university’s most competitive honor.
“The university continues to be a leader in academics and many of our professors were recognized nationally this year,” Apple said.
Seniors Robert Pagels and Gealina Dun received the Alexander J. Taylor Sr. and Emalea Pusey Warner awards respectively. The awards signify the two as the outstanding male and female graduating seniors.
Pagels said he was proud to win the award for his major, chemical engineering. He said he was selected because of the research he conducted in his field which he plans to continue with after graduation.
“A lot of the things I was honored for was research I did outside of the class,” he said. “Vindication is the wrong word. I was selected for doing things that helped other people, not completing my normal courses.”