Students pay a lot of money to go to ENC. That shouldn’t be breaking news to anyone. What is news, however, is the sudden removal of three majors that was announced last month. There needs to be more attention shown to the relationship between students and the faculty because of how invested students are in the school.
The oldest excuse for why faculty should value students is because without the students there would be no faculty. Without the students there would be no majors. Without students there would be no Eastern Nazarene College. However, we all understand the inescapable reality that you cannot run a college without money.
Students are very much invested in the school. They are invested monetarily, with the thousands of dollars they spend on tuition, and academically, with the hundreds of hours they spend studying over the course of their years spent in school. As investors, it is important for students to remain informed about the status of majors, opportunities, and careers within the school.
The same goes with ENC students in regard to the dropping of Theatre, Literatures and English, and Music as majors. Repeatedly, the fact that this decision only affects students within that major has been reinforced to reassure students within similar majors. Yes, this sounds reassuring, but what about the students within Journalism and Writing or Communication Arts whose professors are leaving? Are they not affected?
As an ENC student who cares for his fellow students, it would have been nice to have known that these departments were struggling with funding and offer any support possible. I think there is a disconnect in the relationship students have with those who make these decisions.
A college doesn’t just realign your academic design overnight. I assume that this decision was played out over the course of months, yet the general student population finds out after the fact in a series of town hall meetings.
Admittedly, I did not attend the last town hall meeting because I thought I would end up with more questions than answers if I attended. Regardless of whether I am right, ENC should not rely on town hall meetings to keep students informed about the decisions being made at this school — and they should include students in the decision-making process from the beginning.
I wish there was a system put in place in every major department through which students within the study could remain informed about the state of their major. I propose a monthly newsletter that would go out to all students within a major telling them all the need to know details about their major. This would include how many students are in the major, how much money the major brings in, what kind of career opportunities are present in the major and what is the outlook for the major over the course of this year and years to come. Most colleges may not offer this type of communication but that may be because many more students attend other colleges and they may not face the unique issues we face at ENC. However ENC is different. With a campus as small as 1000 students and majors as small as four students, it would not be a hassle to keep students informed.
SGA does a fantastic job keeping students informed about events on campus, but there is more to college than what goes on during the school week. Like we all learned last month, this school is as much a business as it is an academic institution and it would be beneficial if students were given the opportunity to know what is really going on behind the scenes. After all, nobody likes to be the last person informed.