SGA Works to Give Students Voice
BY EMMA SULLIVAN // FEB 24, 2015 //
Every student is armed with an opinion about the state of Curry College, but they are rarely invited to fire away. The Student Government Association is working to change that.
In December, SGA President Martin Heavey, along with SGA Secretary Christine Nguyen, submitted a proposal that would institutionalize student representatives on different strategic planning committees on campus. According to Ed Tallent, director of the library and co-chair of the Strategic Planning Steering Committee, SGA’s proposal has been approved. However, the challenge is in implementation.
Susan Pennini, dean of institutional planning and co-chair of the Steering Committee, and Dean of Students Maryellen Kiley are now working with SGA leaders to “see how this can be done in a way that truly strengthens an informed student voice,” Tallent said.
Curry’s Strategic Plan for 2012-2017 outlines goals to improve areas such as academics, diversity and preparing students for life after Curry.
In the 2013-2014 school year, four Strategic Planning “direction” committees included two student representatives each. The SGA proposal looks to increase and institutionalize student involvement. Essentially, student representatives on Strategic Planning committees will help to determine the course of the college
“The goal is to give students the right to speak up on different committees and voice their own opinions,” said Heavey, in an email to CurrierTimes.net. “The idea of the proposal was just to give students more rights.”
Student voices on college committees have long been absent, and only recently is that starting to change. For example, a six-person search committee for a new full-time professor in the Communication Department includes junior Communication major Macayla Botelho.
Putting the proposal into action is still in the early stages. Heavey explained that details remain to be worked out regarding how student representatives would be selected to serve, for example.
“We want to have all types of students represent other students on these committees,” wrote Heavey, who has firsthand committee experience as the student representative on the Strategic Planning Steering committee. Among other responsibilities, that committee receives and reviews updates on how the college is meeting its goals.
“I see this proposal as a guide to making student voice a reality and a priority.”
The following are the Strategic Directions outlined in the 2012-2017 Strategic Plan:
I: Offer distinctive, relevant, rigorous academic programs of quality.
II: Attract, educate and graduate students prepared to engage in a complex and changing world.
III: Foster an inclusive campus community that attracts, respects and supports diversity in multiple forms.
IV: Strengthen a culture of organizational integrity, accountability and sustainability.
Initiatives to accomplish each Strategic Direction are explained in detail within the Strategic Plan.