Trustees Approve New Computer Funds

Updates on admissions, construction, academics

By Douglas Whiting
Director of Public Affairs

With the goals of the recently announced academic initiatives and Project Delta in mind, members of the University's Board of Trustees voted to authorize the administration to invest several million dollars in new administrative and financial systems technology.

The money, approved at the board's Dec. 5 meeting in Burns Library, will support administrative initiatives through new computer systems that will be installed during the course of the next three years.

The funds are part of an $11.2 million appropriation authorized by the board for fiscal year 1998-1999 capital equipment expenditures. Members also approved expenditures totaling $7.1 million for building renovation and renewal projects for the same time period.

Separately, trustees heard a report from Dean for Enrollment Management Robert Lay and Undergraduate Admission Director John Mahoney Jr. indicating that the University has experienced a dramatic change in its admission activity since the mid-1980s, a change that has Boston College more selective than ever but facing the challenge of competition from the nation's elite colleges and universities.

The good news, said Lay, is that Boston College today is selecting and enrolling students from an applicant pool that has significantly stronger academic credentials than it did a decade ago. The challenge, he cautioned, is that these same students are applying to, and being accepted by, the very best colleges and universities nationally - most of them ranked in the top 25 by US News & World Report , as compared with BC's ranking of 38th by the magazine.

Lay said the resources targeted for academic programs through the academic planning council initiatives, combined with Project Delta savings and the upcoming capital campaign, will help BC in its newly competitive environment.

Building and Properties Committee Chairman Thomas Flatley reported that with the special building permit granted by the City of Newton for the Higgins Hall project, construction drawings were nearing completion and the administration was seeking bids on the cost of renovating and expanding the science facility.

He also reported on a four-month delay in the court proceedings regarding the University's lawsuit against the City of Newton over the proposed Middle Campus Project. The new trial date, he said, is March 30, 1998 [see story on page 2]. Flatley said the University would continue the project started last summer to repair and renovate freshman residence halls on the Upper and Newton campuses.

Susan Gianinno said trustees from the Committee on Academic Affairs planned to regularly revisit, with the administration, the academic planning initiatives with respect to priorities and funding distribution. Gianinno added that she and Michael Jones, chairman of the Student Life Committee, have encouraged Academic Vice President William B. Neenan, SJ, and Student Affairs Vice President Kevin P. Duffy to examine the often criticized academic advising program.

In his report to the board, University President William P. Leahy, SJ, said that the campus climate, marked by athletic crises and tensions over sexual orientation and race issues a year ago, was considerably changed during the fall term. He said the academic planning initiatives, administrative responsiveness to student concerns and "extremely effective" undergraduate government leadership contributed to a "quiet, confident" mood on campus.

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