Staff-Faculty Big Questions Session 06/12/17

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

  • 2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0
  • Demonstrate improvement in critical thinking in every major after two years, then after 4. Not only in Philosophy and Theology. Measure at end of sophomore and senior year. Studies: Business majors show no improvement; philosophy students do show measured success/improvement. Must be shared between disciplines. Should do a better job of integrating the business majors with the liberal arts. Students must be taught to think, as opposed to just acting. Critical thinking is our best chance to distinguish ourselves.
  • Hardest thing to do in the humanities is getting students to think. This must become part of the culture. Can’t give up on this. Too easy to just give content, thereby becoming a “favored professor.”
  • More opportunities for research; this will contribute to critical thinking.
  • To be an exception: One of the few Catholic liberal arts colleges that has not sacrificed its Catholic identity or the value of liberal arts.
  • Adapting to the changing nature of the American Catholic population: Demographics/geographical; ethnic (more Hispanic); first generation. Window of opportunity to see what this potential group of students will look like and recruit accordingly and prepare to meet their needs. A lot of other places don’t seem to be doing that.
  • Don’t dilute ourselves—emphasize the Catholic values and the liberal arts. Can’t just continue to do what we’ve done for the past 100 years.
  • American culture is frenetic. What does it look like to discern/integrate a more Catholic, Dominican way of forming students. Must be done in a way that is unique to us.
  • Being a top Catholic liberal arts colleges in the country. A lot of changes that we must adapt to, but can’t sacrifice our identity.
  • Uphold the values of free exchange in pursuit of the truth.

3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 2. What should the College be doing in the next 10-20 years, that it isn’t doing today?

  • 4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 0
  • Mandatory information literacy. Not addressing adequately now. Library can’t do this on its own. Must be integrated into courses and majors. How to look for and critically evaluate all of the information that is available to me. Relation between information warfare and information literacy. Ability to discern “false” information; defend against this type of attack.
  • Not doing enough of: New generation’s use of technology. Are we investing enough in the technology infrastructure.
  • Must set out a public image of what the College is and meant to be.
  • Hiring for identity. All literature on Catholic identity emphasizes this. We’ve fallen away from this.
  • Limit the number of majors in the business school and introduce disciplinary minors in marketing and management that prohibit majors from declaring them.
  • In courses, focus more on thinking than on content.
  • Think about student population, especially the ones we look for. Especially those looking for a Catholic mission and identity. Must be greater outreach to these students.
  • With the share increase in diversity, must be more intentional about building and sustaining a community. Reconciliation of differences; working together to meet student needs. Build bridges between differences for the sake of our students.
  • Intentionality in hiring of faculty and staff. How do we onboard people so that they buy into the community and integrate it into the work they do. Must be ongoing education about the mission.
  • Tensions in governance: Administration=loyalty to institution. Faculty=loyalty to discipline as well.
  • Must be respect and support for the institution, regardless of an individual’s identity and affiliation. We are more than just one liberal arts college in a sea of other liberal arts colleges. Levels of participation in Catholicism. But many different ways to participate, even critical thinking, or commitment to Catholic social thinking. Hiring for identity is not limited to hiring Catholics. But must be an understanding and a commitment.
  • College must become more affordable and finding ways to make that happen.
  • Intentional formation of students
  • Catholic Dominican approach to holistic formation of students concretized and integrated throughout the college.
  • Steeping faculty and staff in the Catholic Dominican tradition.
  • Equipping faulty and staff in direct contact with students to participate in their formation.
  • Integrating diversity more fully into the mission – our own distinct approach to diversity & justice for our own sake.

5 Leave a comment on paragraph 5 0 3. If you had $100M+ new dollars to spend, how would you spend it?

  • 6 Leave a comment on paragraph 6 0
  • Endowment: To help deserving kids who need money to come here. First-generation. Etc.
  • Student aid is and will be crucial for us.
  • Online programming for older students seeking credentials – investments.
  • Expand the Center for Catholic and Dominican Studies.
  • Faculty development.
  • Faculty/staff diversity.
  • Scholarships – reduce reliance on comfortable students not wanting to forth too much effort (i.e., students studying fewer than seven hours per week and earning a 3.3 GPA).
  • With a greater endowment, could rely less on the students who come here for the “wrong” reasons as opposed to students who really want to come to PC. Less reliance on full-pays.
  • On-line programs for people in industry who are looking for certifications. (These work poorly for typical undergraduates).
  • Focus on improving ROI.
  • Providing even more study abroad opportunities reflective of the culture of students that we’re trying to attract.
  • Aid: Going after students who are a good fit, but who can’t afford to come here.
  • Endowed chairs in particular areas of interest (e.g., Church in Latin America).

7 Leave a comment on paragraph 7 0 4. What should be the most important measure or indicator of the College’s success? Why?

  • 8 Leave a comment on paragraph 8 0
  • Alumni engagement is a good measure—staying connected and giving back. Get them involved in the college. On-line courses are a good way to engage with alumni.
  • Important to research the causality. Relations between giving and affinity to the institution. Need better, thoughtful, data on what post-graduate opinions of the institution. Random samples, not just the big donors.
  • Matrix: What our students look like in x years into their career. High level positions?
  • Minority students are harder to solicit because of unfavorable experiences on campus. Must focus on their experiences now, to create engagement in the future.
  • Climate on campus; morale. Willingness to participate in the mission of the college, become truly engaged.
  • Close ties between Career Education and alumni. Internships, job opportunities through the alumni network.
  • Must be more than “commodification” in evaluating our success.
  • Faculty advancement must also be based on support of mission and commitment to the College. We don’t reward professors for holding high academic standards.
  • Student evaluation of teaching. Should be more standardized and consistent.
  • Student grades should also be a factor.
  • Climate – community and diversity, and mission (participation in).
  • Contribution of students of color and other minorities to the institution.
  • Admissions success: Number of applications; yield; less reliance on waitlist; more selectivity (eg, No obstacles to students who want to major in Business).
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Source: http://library.providence.edu/fhertr/index.php/staff-faculty-big-questions-session-061217/