First, Deans Monique Rinere (Dean of Advising and Associate Dean of Student Affairs) and Michael Dunn (interim Assistant Dean and “great person”) stopped by to update the council on what’s going on over in CSA. Recognizing that advising has become particularly important to higher education, the Deans made clear their efforts to ensure that the Columbia advising program is operating most efficiently and effectively. They shared some of the key results from a 2011-2012 assessment of the Center, which showed that it’s actually doing pretty well. This year 40% of the student body responded, and of that 40%, 78 % of students reported that CSA is meeting their needs and 81% of them would recommend their advisor to others. Still, Dean Rinere said that their goal is for every student to have a superb advising experience and mentioned several initiatives the Center is working on to reach that 100% target. These include extended advisor training, Peer Advising, group advising sessions, as well as a prospective pre-MBA advising program that will hopefully begin preliminary phases next semester. Dean Rinere ended the presentation with a reminder that if students are unhappy with their current advisor they should speak with her about getting reassigned.
Next, the Council heard from Kyra Tirana Barry CC’87 and Scott Koonin CC’02 of the Columbia College Alumni Association board, which was the first time in CCSC’s history that anyone from CCAA had come to a meeting. After a short discussion of what CCAA does (mostly fundraising but also safeguarding the College’s most defining attributes (*cough* the Core *cough*)), Ms. Barry admitted that Columbia hasn’t traditionally done all that well at maintaining alumni relations, which could be attributed, among many things, to a lack of interaction with the current student body. Apparently, there are a large number of events and programs aimed at facilitating a connection between students and alum, but as of now, they’re not necessarily very well-known or widely-attended. VP Communications Jared Odessky suggested that a possible cause of the underutilization of such “community-building” programs could be that students are so overprogrammed in general. Odessky added that it might be a better strategy for CCAA to provide “informal avenues” for making the student-alumni connection, like having alumni mentors and allowing students’ advisors to put them in touch with alumni working their field of interest.
Towards the end of the meeting, Committee on Instruction student rep Bob Sun asked specifically about the “Endow the Core” initiative, what its ends are and what the alumni perspective on it is. “It’s surprising to think that the Core is at risk,” said Mr. Koonin of his personal perspective, “not that I think it is.” He went on to stress that CCAA’s mission with regard to College essentials like the Core is to preserve them “no matter how strained finances are.”
After adding a “few more ‘whereases’ to [the] bad boy,” CCSC reviewed and voted on VP Policy Will Hughes’s resolution on the Arts Initiative. Unlike other resolutions, the CUArts res doesn’t bind the Council into doing anything per se, rather it articulates the Council’s position on that CUArts is in trouble and needs to be fixed. There are five proposed solutions: 1. that the program be moved from under SoA’s supervision 2. it’s funding should be increased 3. a new, unconflicted Director be instated 4. an advisory committee that “institutionalizes the student, faculty, and staff input” be set up (its structure TBD) 5. the Columbia Ballet Collaborative gets their subsidy back. With respect to the fifth point, Hughes emphasized that he had been in contact with other theater groups who expressed recognition of CBC’s unique circumstances (i.e. their need for a sprung floor). After voting to make minor changes to the grammar, Council passed the resolution to the cheers and applause of the audience. Said very invested recent alum Barry Weinberg, “This has been three years in the making.” Later this week, the resolution will be presented to the other three councils and once they all pass it the resolution will be forwarded on to “the people who matter.” USenator Eduardo Santana said that he would also present it to the Student Affairs Committee.
– 2015 will be co-sponsoring an event with 2016 this week, as well as hosting its own event, “DJs & BJs,” on Wednesday
– 2014 will be holding a study break soon to hand out Class shirts. They also have a community service event planned and are arranging for their formal at Hudson Terrace.
– 2013 is finalizing the design for their Class cardigans.
– Academic Affairs representative Steven Castellano is working with Dean Yatrakis on getting departments to not post class descriptions last minute, getting more reserve books, and releasing the projected finals schedule earlier. He also said that unfortunately setting up course waitlists won’t be possible until registration software is updated, which will be sometime in 2016…ish.
– Senators are working with Dodge and the P.E. department to create a pilot program for a women’s swim class, a timely issue given Barnard’s recent announcement to close its pool. They’re also bringing back the issue of guaranteeing housing for all undergraduates, regardless of whether they’ve had a voluntarily/involuntarily withdrawal.
– The Finance Committee will be reviewing Capital Investment fund applications and have extended the deadline for Student Project Grants.
– Continuing 2015’s theme of sexual-innuendo-titled events, VP Campus Life Yanyi Luo announced the start of “S&M” (Screenings and Music) nights to take place in Carman basement every other Friday from 9-11pm. The series will kick off this week (Nov. 16) with “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and hopefully, hopefully—wait for it….—free Chipotle.
– Jared Odessky reminded everyone of the “How to Make a Difference” event this Wednesday during which CCSC’s “How-To” guides will go live on WikiCU.
Movie Magic via Shutterstock