Campus Town Hall - April 16, 2014

Les Purce Hosted a Campus Town Hall Meeting on April 16 in Lecture Hall 1

Les provided some introductory information

  • There are flat and/or declining numbers in the high school and community college  markets (that feed students to Evergreen)
  • There are now 11 public baccalaureate institutions (including branch campuses) competing for this declining number of students (along with private non-profit, for-profit and online schools)
  • UW has seen significant growth at its Tacoma and Bothell campuses, though the public four year colleges and universities overall are experiencing relatively flat enrollment or declines
  • Evergreen experienced a larger than anticipated enrollment decline between fall and winter of this year, and a decline in applications for fall, which will yield enrollment below budget for fall 2014 (off by more than 300 students)
  • While fewer students means an automatic adjustment in faculty (to keep the same student/faculty ratio) and this saves some money, there is still an expected shortfall of $1.5 million in 2014-15 (about 3%)
  • At the same time that we’re cutting in some areas to balance the budget, we will also be investing in some strategic areas to address enrollment and other critical needs.
  • There are a number of efforts already underway to support enrollment including initiatives related to veterans, international students, student retention, marketing/web, admissions processes and others.
  • Everyone can play a role in helping to keep the students we already have and helping them succeed.

After Les’s introduction, he opened the floor to give students, staff, and faculty an opportunity to share their ideas, observations and concerns. Summary of the comments made are below.

Summary of comments

Students

  • Divestment of funds in pro-Israel holdings
  • Value of ILC. Faculty to work with students in groups to pool for ILC opportunities. Lack of pathways for students to see. Like academic statement, think a step in the right direction
  • Reptile/frog poem/reading
  • Applied learning. So much potential. Ripe for intellectual environment. Encourage student ownership.
  • Academic programs become too specialized. Limit on ILC credits a concern.
  • Financial investment of students. Goal to get a job and help move students forward in life. Economy. Lose core purpose if become more standard but too weird for those who want a normal education- awkward dilemma. Value showing students at beginning the value and pathway for students going forward.  Need support in career-oriented way.
  • Issues as first year student. Example of AU materials providing misinformation about Evergreen. Practical skills at schools available at Evergreen to be a professional now instead of training to be one in the future. Need to share.
  • Concern about ILC changes. Don’t reinforce what we do and opportunities available for students. Need to be a “do-it” college. Applied learning into the classroom. Create innovative programming
  • Concern about lack of integration with EF
  • Found out about Evergreen via word of mouth. Not aware of the flexibility and unique offerings Evergreen has
  • Lack of trust and respect, bad with re: to communication, curriculum, financial aid, counseling etc. Re-establish and nurture trust at the institutional level
  • Lack of connection between Evergreen’s ideals and Aramark – food choices.
  • Feeling powerless and disenfranchised. Not having an effective avenue to influence and make a difference about community and curriculum. Need a collective conduit for students and faculty to talk about curriculum. Feeling of not being able to change issues see of concern.
  • Students want to know how to take charge of their education. Lack of skills and ability for first year students to take advantage of Evergreen’s education. Difference between being an individual and individualism. Need to continue this conversation.
  • Student fees support issues that are anti-Evergreen values.
  • Not required to meet an advisor or have an advisor. Did not learn about all of the resources and opportunities at the College. Feeling that the administration does not meet students where they are.
  • High school in college. Have running start students on college campus and then go back to high schools and share experience. Applied learning and experimental learning.

Former Student/Current Staff

  • Reputation for laxity in rigor in academics
  • Not required to take accountability. Facilities upgrades not needed don’t attract students. Compensation gap. Stronger link between student services and faculty. No exposure to Third floor as a visiting student.
  • Across-the-board anti-oppression training for faculty. Lack of faculty support for students with regard to anti-oppression.
  • Lack of integration with EF. Insular learning environment. A summer consortium of programs for international students.

Staff/Faculty

  • Soul of Evergreen. What is the soul and how to accomplish in future? Alternative for students who are ready for college but whom college is not ready for them.
  • Cautious not to take same approach as other institutions. Focus on students who don’t fit in the standard model. Evergreen the right type of education for uncertain times. Evergreen does not teach students what to think but how to think.
  • Advertise more the hands on experience students get. Institution provide a job prep/internship piece. Consider a requirement for all students to do an internship/work.
  • Forum was a good idea. Need to find solutions to problems. Need to continue this discussion