Town Hall Meeting

Wednesday, February 4, 2004

Albrecht Auditorium

Panel present: President Steadman Upham, Provost Phil Dreyer, Vice Provost Teresa Shaw, Senior Vice President and Treasurer Bill Everhart, and Vice President for Student Services and Dean of Students Jim Whitaker

Stead began meeting at 6:00 p.m.

 

Stead opened by saying that the meeting would be a question and answer session.  He welcomed everyone to the spring semester 2004 and noted that this is an interesting time in the school year because students are beginning to think about graduation.  CGU has anticipated 580 students graduating this year.  The spring term symbolizes each studentís hard work towards this endeavor.  The faculty brought in a huge number of research grants as well.  The university is a very active place and Stead noted he is delighted the students are part of it.  He introduced the panel before taking questions. 

Student question:

Do we have a housing update?  Has any progress been made since our last Town Hall meeting?

 

Bill Everhart:

We have hired an architect firm to do schematic design plans and other landscape projects.  There was already one meeting to organize the work timeline, building designs and cost estimates.  On Monday, February 2nd, David Salazar walked through with the city of Claremont to discuss approvals and everything went well.  The plans were right on track with the city and that is a major accomplishment.  Now we want to do a programming piece and interview students who live in the dorms and relatively nearby.  We want to meet the studentsí needs and the best way to do this is through interviews and surveys.  The schematic design will take about three months and then we can work on commissions with the city.  Our goal is to present the plans and design to the Board this summer and hopefully put a shovel in the ground late spring or early summer 2005.  There are no foreseeable obstacles in this project and we are very optimistic about this. 

 

Stead Upham:

We have reached a tentative agreement with the city about the infrastructure improvements and the college thinks it is acceptable.

 

Student suggestion and question:

The student wants to recruit students for housing interviews.

The student also wanted to know if there will be a program to offer financial assistance for housing.

 

Stead Upham:

Stead said he is certain that there will be an increase in rents because they are builind a brand new state of the art housing facility.  He also says that while financial aid has been and will continue to be available for all students there is no specific program to provide additional financial aid for housing.  

 

Student question:

Mario Villareal, GSC President, raised concerns about current housing at CGU.  He wanted to be sure that CGU will continue to put money into something that will not be here much longer. 

 

Bill Everhart:

We will not decrease the maintenance budgets on 1111 N. Dartmouth and we will try to structure the new housing to provide options on the studentsí rent (i.e. 1, 2 and 3 bedroom apartments).

 

Student question:

Student would like to see committees created to look into alternate funds to offset the rent in the new housing.  Would the panel be open to something like that?

 

Stead Upham and Jim Whitaker:

We are always open to good ideas.

 

Linda Bandov:

Could you please expand on the transdisciplinary course so students have a better understanding?

 

Stead Upham:

Discussions with faculty regarding core course requirements have been on going for a while, but the plan faded away.  The discussions have been re-started with faculty and we have gone a different direction as to what course the core course will be.  Also, this is going into effect for the next group of doctoral students (fall 2004).  Current doctoral students do not have this requirement. 

 

Phil Dreyer:

Transdisciplinary discussions came about when we received a ($5 million) gift from George Kozmetsky.  Mr. Kozmetskyís desire was for CGU to incorporate transdisciplinary studies in our programs because we should have a more exciting way to do graduate studies.  Undergraduate studies include a broad general education and then the last two years you concentrate on your major.  In higher education you focus more narrowly and learn more and more about less and less.  Transdisciplinary studies will create a different, if not better, graduate education.  The first idea was we would have one big course, but that flopped.  What would be the focus, the syllabus, the subject?  One large course with few faculty was not a good idea.  Now we will have a lot of faculty with relatively few students.  We will have faculty volunteers to teach a relatively small group. 

Right now we have twenty senior faculty volunteers who will work with a tutorial group of about twelve students from different schools.  We will put faculty together in groups "pods" of two or three so we will have about twelve students to one faculty group.  The faculty will be from different schools and a student can not be a student in any of the schools represented by the faculty heading that tutorial group.  This way the students and faculty can share ideas and common experiences.  Content will be laid out by faculty scholars from the George Kozmetsky department.  

The theme for the course for the first year will be poverty, capital and ethics.  This will rotate but it is not certain how often it will rotate.  The faculty and students will operate within the content of the theme, but do it in their own way.  This is a 4-unit course required for new PhD students and is part of the 72-unit program, this is not an add on.  We are also requiring this at the beginning of the studentsí programs because we hope to influence students enough to use these ideas in their research and work. 

We are in the process of hiring a full-time faculty member to be the George Kozmetsky Chair.  This is a rotating position and will change every year.    We will also have lectures from folks under the George Kozmetsky Chair. 

My purpose is to transform graduate education.  This is an attempt and it may fail, but that's okay because you learn from failures. 

 

Stead Upham:

Graduate students lament the fact they ended up with tunnel vision when most complex and difficult problems require more than tunnel vision.  We are creating opportunity for students to have this experience at the beginning of their career.

 

Student question:

The tuition is going to increase for next year.  Are there specific plans for opportunity of weakness?

 

Stead Upham:

Tuition will increase 3.9%.  The financial team and leadership team has researched this increase.  Higher education faces financial hardship and we will increase financial aid accordingly.  We will stay with our current service level budget.  We are not proposing to cut anything out.  It would be great to hold tuition flat, but we cannot.  The public universities are expecting a 44% increase.  And our tuition is still the lowest of all the Claremont colleges.  We are also still in the lowest quartile compared to our competitors in the same university bracket (Higher Education - Research Intensive).  We will balance our budget this year, and we will be able to balance it next year too with this increase. 

Student question:

Will there also be an increase in doctoral study fees or student service fees?

 

Jim Whitaker:

Doctoral study fees will remain the same and the student services fee increases by $5/semester.

 

Student question:

The GSC does not appear to be a very democratic organization.  Please tell me how they operate.

 

Mario Villarreal:

The GSC is governed by a constitution that is currently on its 4th draft.  The GSC constitution is available online and there are representatives from each school involved with the GSC.  The GSC meetings are open to every CGU student who wants to attend.  Regular emails are sent out about when and where the meetings will take place.  We are a democratic organization.

 

Student reply:

Disagreed with Mario.  Would like to see the constitution amended so there is more student participation and also added that he was not even aware that Mario Villarreal was his GSC President.

 

Mario Villarreal:

We can definitely discuss this more to resolve these issues.

 

Aris Karagiorgakis:

Spam keeps coming through on my email.  Students keep asking me why this happens. 

 

Stead Upham:

This is the largest problem with computing.  Postini is an effective Spam filter and does catch 90% of junk mail.

 

Jim Whitaker:

All three CGU lists have filters, but Spam is coming in from the departments because they do not monitor their lists.  Chris Wyatt is looking at additional filters to put on the list serves.  This is a big problem and we want to correct it as much as the students do. 

 

Aris:

Can you send an email out at least letting the students know that you know this is an issue and are working to resolve it?

 

Jim Whitaker:

Yes, but we want to be sure students are opening their emails and not deleting them thinking they are junk mail.

 

Linda Bandov:

How are you developing positions for students at the university?

 

Stead Upham:

Discussions with the Provost are ongoing regarding using students in classrooms. 

 

Phil Dreyer:

We are continually looking for opportunities for students to teach at the five Claremont colleges.  We are speaking with the Academic Deans of each of the colleges, but unfortunately, their marketing campaign is that they do not hire graduate students for teaching assistants.  They only hire full-time faculty, no teaching assistants.  This has been a problem for a while and it is ongoing.  Phil encouraged the students to pursue opportunities themselves, and at every college around here and not just the 5 Cís.

 

Teresa Shaw:

Encouraged students to hook up with a mentor in or outside of Claremont.  The program that Dr. Laurie Richlin teaches is a great program to incorporate teaching in Claremont. 

 

 

Aris Karagiorgakis:

Why train CGU students in teaching positions when we canít do that until we have our MA degree?  The emphasis should be on T.A. positions.

 

Teresa Shaw:

T.A. positions are what we are working on.  No one should be teaching until they have passed their course work and have their Masterís degree.

 

Tamer Balci:

I have heard that the funding will be cut for PFF, is there anything in place to keep the program at CGU?

 

Teresa Shaw:

We have to work on that.  We had a 2 year grant and we're working on getting additional grants to continue funding the program. 

 

Mario Villarreal:

The whiteboards are terrible and frustrating.  He buys his own Windex towels to wipe them because he cannot clean them with an eraser.

 

Bill Everhart:

He will figure out a way to solve this problem.  We tried some solutions but we may have to start a replacement program.  The windex towels worked?  Maybe for the rest of the semester we'll have to use those until we can figure something else out. 

 

Stead Upham:

Thank you for attending.

 

Meeting ended at 6:59 p.m.