dean Sean Zimmermann reports from last night’s meeting

Perhaps inspired by Nixon’s success, the Senate, according to Senator Rajat Roy, plans to keep all committee records secret for fifty years. The only records that would remain public would be plenary meeting information, and all information from the budget, IT, external affairs, Manhattanville, and other committees would become private. Under the proposal, senators will be unable to report to councils what is going on in their committees. Rajat, though very much against the proposal, explained that the Senate hoped members would speak openly in committee meetings. The move is being backed by College Senator Monica Quaintance.

Additionally, Rajat spoke about the Columbia Video Network (CVN) recording – many engineering classes are videotaped for CVN, a graduate distance learning program described by Rajat as one of the more lucrative program for SEAS. Graduate students are charged $1000/point for lectures, and are able to replay the video of a lecture an unlimited number of times. Rajat proposes making the videos available to all students enrolled in the recorded class.

Dean Peña-Mora first commented that he and President Whitney Green had “discussed issues that are important to the council.”  He declared that the Dean’s Office is here to make sure the educational process is as “fulfilling as it can be.”

When Rajat asked him about current initiatives, the Dean explained that his three primary focuses were advising, career education, and undergraduate research.

On advising, the Dean spoke about his goal to make advising more effective for students by integrating career advisors into the general advising system for students. Ideally, students will have three advisors: an advisor who sees the students through all four years, a faculty advisor, and a career education advisor.

Also, the Dean said he was working with Career Education on “building up internship programs.” Additionally, the Dean said he was interested in implementing “professional training” for students.

Peña-Mora said that the administration would work on “communicating more effectively” to inform students about undergraduate research opportunities. He was working on putting research opportunities on LionShare, or another, easily accessible, website.

Gunnar Aasen expressed concern that potential employers are not aware of persistent grade deflation within SEAS.  The Dean attempted to placate him, and explained that he would prefer to encourage employers to take into account the student as a whole, not simply just the GPA. He said he would have a hard time simply telling employers “our GPA is lower,” and that his office needs to “work with CCE about that.”

In closing, Dean Peña-Mora announced, “I like transparency.”  He assured the council that he would answer their questions honestly, even if they disagreed with the answers given.

The Dean exits.