Tuesday, Southwestern’s Student Congress hosted a town hall meeting to discuss the University’s 2010 Strategic Plan. The University appointed a Commission on Planning and Action that was made up of students, faculty, staff and more in January 2009 to decide what direction of the university would be for the next 10 years.
According to the Strategic Planning website, the plan has had two guiding goals since its inception: It hopes to “increase the value of a Southwestern education for students” and ” ensure the financial vitality and sustainability of the institution.” The town hall meeting allowed the opportunity to voice their opinions on the proposed direction, which included a possible name change, the possibility of a football team and east campus development. The Megaphone’s web editor, Lane S. Hill, attended the meeting and tweeted about the experience.
Tweeting live from the student body forum:
Starting.Alex Caple introducing Matt Hansen and Leah Jones. Everything will be recorded and given to representatives.
“Not a definite plan, but a vision”.
Goals of stratgic plan: increase educational value, ensure financial viability
Talking about directions: academic life, student life, reach, growth, etc.
In 3-5 years SU wants to be top liberal arts unis by focus on science, tenure, interdisciplines, paidea, study abroad, technology
Campus Life: focus on athletics (all sorts), community, diversity enrichment, student activities, res-life
Football: feasibility study being studied by alumni. Nothing has been done yet, student input will be welcomed later down the road
Visibility & Reach: name change, increased visibility
Name Change: feasibility study, examples of schools who changed their names, not a band-aid fix, taken seriously. And yes, you would be given new diplomas with new name.
Growth: 250 FTE over 5 years, partnerships, centers and institutes (center for eco-justice?), east campus visioning
East campus development: for the betterment of students, student life, education, research.
Next: student, faculty, staff input, meetings, etc, questions are beginning.
There are measures in the plan for prioritizing, looking at the feasibility, making sure things things are achievable.
How to accommodate 250 new students? Cooperative housing, special interest houses, more housing east campus, staff would address issues
Money for increased salary coming from? Tuition from students increase, there will be no cost on rest of student body
Transitioning from endowment to tuition-funded institution. That’s VERY interesting.
Diversity section language: diversity is high priority, address needs as money would allow, plan taken from Diversity committee
Athletic center priority: high priority, first initiative, lots of people raised hands for this.
Concerns: weight room machines old, no school spirit, athletics and diversity, fixed athletic facilities,
Name change destroys tradition (lots of people against name change), lack of a track, endowment -> tuition scholarship concerns
Increased scholarships, bettering Commons nutrition, sustainable methods and nature preserves, more name change concerns and funding concern
More athletic center concerns, weight rooms concerns, locker room concerns, field house, football team concerns, sex ratio.
Football team had about even approval/disapproval, academic improvement is online, transfer student concerns, athletic equipment obsolete
School spirit initiative, more competitive whether its football or debate, study abroad concerns, football scholarships concerns
Gender neutral housing (has to go to University Council then faculty, then president Schrum, then trustees who will decide), feminist studies concerns
Getting rid of sexism or racism, decrease in alumni support, name change bidding war, athletic center concerns – faculty problem too
For more information about the strategic plan, please pick up this week’s Megaphone or visit the official strategic planning website.