President Creates Student Advisory Group, 10/28/2011, The New Paltz Oracle
The Student Advisory Group to the President provides an avenue for the President to hear and learn about student concerns and interests at the institutional level. This is one of several groups with which the President will schedule time on his calendar to meet, interact with, and get to know students. Especially during 2011-12, the first year of Donald Christian’s presidency, this group will be a primary vehicle for him to continue learning about the College and about student views on strengths, shortcomings, and opportunities for improvement/refinement. These insights will be useful as he develops institutional priorities and primary directions for the next several years. Now and in future years, meetings of the Student Advisory Group will help the President remain in touch with students and their interests. Students may bring concerns to the attention of the President through this group, at the same time the President may solicit student viewpoints about specific issues and opportunities. This group is strictly advisory to the President and has no governance or policy making roles.
The Student Advisory Group will generally meet for 1-2 hours three times each semester (September, October, November; February, March, April). To help President Christian gain additional insight in his first year as President, an additional meeting will be held during fall semester 2011 if possible. The group will meet in the evening, with pizza and refreshments served. After the group is established, members will be identified by mid-March each year so that current and new members can participate in the end-of-year (April) meeting, as a way of facilitating year-to-year continuity. Membership is limited to one year.
The agenda for early meetings of the group will include discussion stemming from open-ended questions that the President will provide; these are intended to provide him with input on major issues about the College. Students may propose agenda items for consideration, and each meeting will include identification of issues that students wish to discuss at a subsequent meeting. Issues or concerns that are specific to a department or program will be referred to a different level unless early discussion by the Student Advisory Group indicates that the issue is broadly relevant throughout the College. In this case, the group may discuss the issue as a College-wide rather than unit-specific issue.
To facilitate effective discussion, the Student Advisory Group will include no more than 18 members. Members will be selected by the President in consultation with Vice Presidents and the directors of programs or units reporting to the Vice Presidents. This will be a diverse group by ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, class rank (first-year through graduate student), and other dimensions of diversity. This is explicitly not a representational body, and members will not speak on behalf of or represent the interests of any group or organization.
Participation in this group will afford students an opportunity to interact with peers in an organized setting; to develop leadership and teamwork experience; to learn more about the organization and functioning of the College at the broadest level; and to ensure that the President has heard the voices and concerns of students.