Elizabethtown College held a Student Senate meeting Thursday, Nov. 9 in Hoover 212 at 3:45 p.m. The meeting consisted of students and faculty. The members of faculty included the Vice President of Student Life and Dean of Students Marianne Calenda, President Carl Strikwerda, Vice President of Administration and Finance Robert Wallett, Director of Marketing and Communication Liz Braungard, Interim Vice President for Enrollment Management George Walter, Vice President for Academic Affairs Elizabeth Rider and Chair of the Board of Trustees Robert Dolan. The meeting began with new Senate members stating the office’s oath as part of their induction. Among the new members were two first-years, one junior and two seniors.
Then the meeting moved into its first topic of recruitment for the College. Speaking on this topic were Braungard and Walter. They brought up the question of digital recruitment versus paper recruitment. They also mentioned the campus’ virtual tour.
Etown is working on expanding their current virtual tour by reshooting video footage at times when students are on campus and by shooting video involving Etown tour guides. The idea is to transition toward more digital marketing. One way to do this is having the College’s website be more interactive.
Then Walter gave an update on projects that he is currently working on. He is working to examine what the College is doing to recruit students and figuring out other ideas to increase recruitment.
He mentioned visiting high schools, community based programs, alumni recruitment networks and career fairs as ways to reach out more broadly. Another thing mentioned was translating pages on the College’s website to Spanish to increase recruitment of Hispanic and Latino students. The last idea Walter mentioned was something called the Flying Home program. This program would initiate contact between current students and their high schools. Ideally, current students will share their experiences and spread the word about Etown.
The next topic was the long-term objectives of the College. The main objectives brought up were having a more engaged campus with more engaged students, improving facilities and dormitories, creating virtual learning communities, adding new majors and classes and increasing the College’s community service program. The importance of change and growth was stressed. Some ways to initiate these changes were also discussed.
New academic programs, such as physician’s assistant, nursing and data analytics majors and new chemistry concentrations were mentioned. Another initiative discussed was the Pathways Program. This program would help students find a direction not linked to a specific major or concentration.
For example, in the Fortune 500 pathway, students would develop specific skills for their ideal career goals. The last initiative mentioned was having a balance between liberal arts and science degrees.
The meeting then moved on to the topic of finances. Wallett was the main speaker pertaining to this topic. He mentioned that with a decrease in student enrollment, there are cuts being made to the budget in areas such as benefits and staff reduction. The need to increase dining services staff was also discussed. Some ways to do this may be increasing pay to those who are willing to fill spots on the weekends and adding temporary or part-time employees from outside the College to the current staff.
The meeting concluded with some general questions. The first question focused on whether or not to offer graduate school exam prep courses. Ryder stated that a program like this would require a certain number of students to be able to start the course.
The second question was whether or not students should come in declaring a music therapy major, as opposed to getting into it once in college. The third question concerned what is impeding the College’s growth. The biggest issue stated was demographics. The College’s message is not being spread out effectively. However, students are excited for the Pathways Program, the Bowers Center for Sports, Fitness and Wellness and new programs being offered in the future. The fourth question concerned whether the College should add more doctorate programs. It was stated that the College does not need too many more doctorate programs, but could use more master’s programs.
The last question concerned what programs are available for students to keep retention rates high. The College has an 86.7 percent first-year to sophomore retention rate. It was stated that the College will continue to find ways to increase this. Some suggestions made were having a specific focus centered on majors that lose the most students, making sure that the first-year experience is one that makes the students want to come back and looking into smaller issues that would have major impact.
The next Senate meeting will be held Nov. 16 in Hoover 212 at 3:45 p.m.