HMC Board of Trustees Elects New Members

The Harvey Mudd College Board of Trustees has elected Annie Tran Kao HM '02, Deborah Rieman and Erin Smith to join the board.

Kao graduated from HMC with a bachelor’s degree in engineering. She received a master’s degree in structural engineering from the University of California, Berkeley and currently works as a structural engineer with the Simpson Strong-Tie Company, Inc.

Kao now holds one of the two positions reserved for young alumni on the HMC board. To be eligible for these positions, HMC alumni must have graduated within the last 10 years, and each must serve one three-year term.

“It’s nice to have people on the board who are fairly close to their student experience at Mudd and, I think, bring a certain kind of perspective that is hard to get,” HMC President Maria Klawe said.

Deborah Rieman earned her doctorate in mathematics from Columbia University and is the retired president and CEO of Check Point Software Technologies, Inc. Erin Smith is a retired banker and entrepreneur who graduated magna cum laude from New York Law School.

“Deb is going to bring a lot of business experience that I think is going to be really helpful," Klawe said. "Erin is going to bring both legal and financial expertise, and I think that’s also going to be extremely valuable."

The board, which consists of 30 members this year, meets four times a year. The annual board retreat will take place in Palm Springs during the first weekend of November.

In recent decisions, the board has voted to approve construction at HMC, adjust the core curriculum and increase the size of the faculty.

The board is also implementing a new policy on trustee term limits.

“We think it's good practice to have people regularly joining the board,” Klawe said.

In addition to the Board of Trustees, about 10 faculty members, 10 students and 10 alumni will attend the retreat in Palm Springs. This year's retreat is centered on how emerging technologies are influencing higher education.

Topics of discussion will include Massive Open Online Courses, e-content such as digital textbooks, state-of-the-art learning management systems and flipped classrooms.

HMC is already trying out flipped classrooms, in which a faculty member pre-records a lecture that students view before coming to the class, where they then solve problems in small groups.

“It's pretty popular as an alternative way of getting students more engaged in the classroom,” Klawe said.

There will also be a debate between an HMC trustee—an alumnus who graduated in 2001—and Dean of the Faculty Jeffrey Groves at the retreat. The two will debate whether "Harvey Mudd College should go entirely online and no longer be a residential college."