Friday, October 19th, 2018

Our opinions: Admins need to talk to average USM students

Posted on September 29, 2014 in Our Opinion, Uncategorized
By USM Free Press

Last week, Dean Joy Pufhal emailed 18 student leaders and invited them to a meeting with President David Flanagan and Provost Joseph McDonnell to discuss the criteria for potential upcoming program eliminations and faculty retrenchments, but only five students attended.

We hope the administration does not consider five students adequate student input on the issues facing our community.

Those students who did attend are fully engaged in USM’s budgetary and structural problems and were able to give the president and provost valuable feedback, but we think that if there’s more pizza in a room than people, it’s time to find a better way to reach out.

The administration needs to find a way to get in touch with the average USM student to accurately gauge how students feel about their actions. The average student is not a representative to the board of trustees, a member of the student senate or even the leader of a student organization. The average USM student is too busy with a full-time job, an above average academic schedule or a family to be heavily involved. They might even be balancing all three of those activities.

Emailing a handful of hyper-involved students should not be the extent of the administration’s outreach. The university should have a designated employee to gather student input on the direction the institution is headed and a ‘on a scale of one to five’ survey doesn’t count.

The administration needs to know what the student body wants to make any decisions to alter the student experience here. Student input should include conversations with student from all walks of life. We have a diverse student body, but only a select few are chosen to speak with anyone in a position to make any changes. The administration should be asking students why they’re at USM, what they want from USM and what they need from USM. No matter what the university is referred to as, whether we call ourselves a urban metropolitan university or a community college, we need to know why students come here and why they stay.

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