Open Office Hours Big Questions

1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 PC200 Open Office Hours – Compiled Notes
April 3, 4, 6, 10, 11, 18, 20, 21, 24, 26, 28
16 participants, total (three sessions had no participants); also added notes from one individual interview

2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 1. If Providence College were to be best known for one thing only within the next 10-20 years, what should it be?

  • 3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0
  • Affordable, academic excellence (concerned about student debt and concerned about the College’s debt)
  • Concerned that we’re building too much, particularly athletic facilities, using resources that could reduce College and/or student debt
  • Academic facilities; Science complex finally receiving needed improvements
  • De-emphasize athletics, in other words, known for academics
  • Liberal arts important and part of who PC is, but need to be concerned about jobs and that we’re preparing students well for jobs
  • Rigorous education with a distinct emphasis on an integrated liberal arts experience that prepares grads with successful careers and fuller lives
  • Known for being a good example of Catholic institution. Fostering dialogue while still maintain Catholic identity. Openness to truth and reason. University that shows the community in RI that reason and truth are part of the Catholic identity.
  • Phrase “high standards with excellent support”, college should integrate academic quality with the plan of the school. Giving more resources to students. Continue to mainly be about undergraduate students. Primarily undergraduate institution. Professors should pay more attention to students. Focus to undergrad education and less on research.
  • Known as a place that has maintained Catholic identity with a focus on liberal arts despite increased efforts for diversity and increased focus to business education.
  • Would like to see us in ten years as a respectful, caring community of learners that strive for excellence and value all individuals on campus.
  • Primarily undergraduate institution: interested in developing resources on campus sites. More visualization of the liberal arts through on campus public art.
  • Define itself more as an undergraduate institution and let go concept of liberal art college given we can’t compete with many liberal arts institution. Also, we can’t compete with research-based institution. Need to define ourselves.
  • The theme of being liberal arts college has not been well conceptualized – it has focused mostly on the humanities and not recognized the sciences.
  • We should be known as a primarily undergraduate institution (PUI) with small class sizes
  • High academic standards with unparalleled support
  • PC should be best-known for being authentically Catholic, intellectually rigorous, and uniquely Dominican

4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 0 2. What should the College be doing in the next 10-20 years that it isn’t doing today?

  • 5 Leave a comment on paragraph 5 0
  • Increase technological expertise and prowess (great wifi, always wired)
  • Offer every possible benefit and advantage in terms of technology
  • Employment outcomes
  • Ensure that we send resources to academics (why are we building a new athletic facility?); that means facilities – science, poli-sci, dining, etc. Invest in ALL programs
  • Bring in faculty from other departments to staff DWC
  • More endowed chairs in departments to boost academic/research profile
  • Not enough professors for BIO… help to meet demand (keep classes small)
  • Scholarships – open possibilities for students to gain scholarships based on merit once they are here
  • Investment in eating [this was a big one] – improve dining hall food, facilities, late night options, eating spaces, variety of foods, etc.
  • Increase integration of upper and lower campus
  • Why aren’t we more environmentally conscious? Don’t use sprinklers when raining, or in middle of the day. Don’t waste water (library toilets are particularly bad)
  • PC200 should reflect seriously on who we WERE and who we ARE to frame who were CAN BE…what is the connection with the first 100 years? Are we starting from scratch?
  • Need to define what Catholic identity means in College’s strategic vision; can’t just say we are Catholic, need to think about how we are Catholic
  • Need to identify what is particularly Dominican about our education
  • Deal with declining role of the humanities
  • More research support, more endowed chairs
  • Integrate Catholic faith more systematically into curriculum (for example, why not a psychologist who focuses on spirituality?)
  • Brick-and-mortar investments have been good; we need to turn the focus now to programs that will help us attract more top-quality students
  • We need to make ourselves more approachable to diverse faculty and students
  • Create an Honors Research program in the Sciences
  • Focus on better science labs as a point of difference for PC; every Physics course should have some sort of a lab connected to it
  • PC needs to attract more diverse science students; bring the overall percentage of students of color to 25%
  • Need to do more from an inclusion standpoint to help make diverse students more comfortable on campus
  • We need value our students. Currently treat students as a cash cow. An example is student registration. Professors choose time slots that are good for faculty and not for students. Professors should be on campus more often. Proficiencies should not be a requirement, it should already be an expectation that professors should have of students. Professors that only want to teach upper level classes and not the lower level classes are not being team players.
  • PC is notorious for not offering much scholarship money. Stingy in regards to financial aid. Give more financial aid.
  • Educating more students dedicated to a life in math and science.
  • Attending to the balance of majors on campus. Primarily question of academic leadership. Lack of academic leadership.
  • Code of conduct for faculty, for students, and staff that values all individuals. Provide resources of professional development to faculty. Recognition of implicit bias etc.
  • Greater emphasis on integrating core curriculum with greater arts and sciences. Interest in the visualization of liberal arts and the way young scholars carry themselves within Catholic context. Not being contradicting with Catholic context.
  • More focus on teaching than research for faculty
  • Market school primarily as undergraduate institution and not liberal arts
  • Define who we are
  • Incentive to improve teaching
  • Guarantee something for every student (e.g. financial aid; job upon graduation etc)
  • The College does not seem to know who it is or what it wants to be; parts of campus are at odds with each other. We market ourselves as a liberal arts institution, but PC is a primarily undergraduate institution with a liberal arts core. We cannot be a traditional liberal arts college with a business school, professional studies, and graduate programs. Discussions about adding graduate programs are concerning as it will limit the potential resources faculty can approach for external funding as we would no longer qualify as a PUI.
  • Our athletic budget is way out of proportion compared to the rest of the institution. This sends a philosophical message about our priorities
  • Address tensions among the faculty related to tenure, promotion, teaching, and research. The focus should be on the classroom. The split between scholarship and teaching needs to be clearer. Standards are not equal among the disciplines and may be related to the infrastructure needs of some disciplines over others. There are no incentive structures with tenure and promotion to promote contributions to the College. Must move beyond the culture of publishing as the only measure of scholarship. Some feel why should they bother to engage more with the community as it will not make a difference when they come up for tenure review. They are guided to publish, publish, publish
  • Double down on academics, reestablish PC as a PUI, continue with high standards, and improve support offerings for students
  • Read Adriana Cezar on faculty development. Prepare for the next generation of faculty – build an infrastructure to support the next generation of faculty – what are looking for in our faculty of the future and what do we do to recruit those faculty.
  • Faculty should be committed to teaching the core and intro level courses; faculty giving short shrift to their teaching
  • Medical field – research or clinical track – delayed tenure at some schools so folks can try both and choose that track – work with faculty to identify their strengths and follow their path….flexible support structure for flexible paths
  • 925 class size, improve selectivity and aid, buy out underperforming intransigent faculty
  • Spend less on athletics, there are labs that date to 1940
  • Institutional advancement should participate in academic events so that gifts can be directed in that way
  • There must be a clear articulation to us of our mission and identity. There should be widespread lay appropriation of the charism of the Dominican Order. Faculty and staff should, along with the Friars themselves, be the “torchbearers” of the Order’s charism. The lay faculty and staff should be united in understanding what makes the Dominican Order unique. This charism should influence all areas of our life here at the College. Ideally, there should be an enthusiastic participation in a shared ministry and charism. There should be ongoing formation from top to bottom of the organization—the Board of Trustees, faculty, staff, students, etc. All constituents should be given the tools to apply the charism concretely to whatever their job/role is. The richness of the Dominican tradition should apply and be available to anyone.

6 Leave a comment on paragraph 6 0 3. If you had $100M+ new dollars to spend, how would you spend it?

  • 7 Leave a comment on paragraph 7 0
  • Reduce College debt/increase financial aid
  • Recruit top-notch faculty
  • Building new dorms as fast as possible with functional study spaces. Work on financial aid.
  • Common areas in dorms need to be better geared for community engagement. Upgrade dorms/ better common areas (better environment for hanging out). Food should be improved.
  • Use 100 mil to resist growth. College would be better if it was smaller, more effective. Using money to provide more creative engagement with students and their work sites (internship pay regardless on behalf of school).
  • Spend the money to have opportunity for faculty exchange with other more diverse colleges. Engage in conversations about each other. For the campus to get to know each other better.
  • Spend money on a small non-collecting art museum. Collecting artwork for academic buildings. See money spend on facilities. Research facilities for all students and faculty. A true center for teaching excellence where people go and congregate.
  • Increased financial aid (absolutely no aid towards athletics)
  • Higher more faculty who are vested in teaching at undergrad institution (decrease adjunct) to focus on and increase effective teaching
  • Increase student support
  • Inclusive excellence-cater for entry students with gap in college readiness; increased mentorship first semester of freshman year; summer bridge programs
  • Shrink the size of the school back to classes of 950-970 students.
  • Short-term crunch would result in a long-term gain of stronger students.
  • There should be two endowed chairs in every department; one held by a Dominican Friar, one for a lay faculty member; there should be Friar representation in every field of study
  • DWC should be strengthened and supported
  • We should create a Veritas fellowship program: 5-10 fellows each year for early career scholars to develop a mission-driven pedagogy—incorporating mission into the classroom; these fellows should teach in the DWC Program.

8 Leave a comment on paragraph 8 0 4. What should be the most important measure or indicator of the College’s success? Why?

  • 9 Leave a comment on paragraph 9 0
  • Academic credentials of applicants
  • Yield
  • Selectivity in admissions and what fractions accept that offer. What are graduates doing after PC? How many kids are getting into top graduate programs. Are graduates coming back and saying PC formed who they are as an adult?
  • Biggest measure of success for the college is if graduates are living holistic lives. Are graduates living and able to engage in able conversation because of PC influence?
  • Student scholarship. Success is measured by quality of engagement and contribution to the community.
  • Graduating students that have the most well rounded scholastic understanding of many disciplines but also a greater understanding of one discipline. That will generate the best return in the long run.
  • Alumni coming back to campus to give back (founders of company, donors etc)
  • Increased student participation in celebration of students’ product (research)
  • Students feeling connected
  • Enriched mentorship
  • Acceptance rate-lower (go under 51%)
  • Admission selectivity and yield
  • Fundraising and alumni participation (time, talent & treasure)
  • Students that graduate had a great experience in the classroom
  • Research/study abroad participation
  • How connected alumni are with their professors
  • Do our graduates report that they have drawn closer to Christ? We should ask: Did PC as an institution help me to encounter Christ in a way I never had before? If they answer yes, we have been a success; if no, a failure.
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Source: http://library.providence.edu/fhertr/index.php/open-office-hours-big-questions/