José Antonio Bowen’s Town Hall Address 11/15/2017
Article By: Kianna Haskin
On Wednesday, November 15, faculty and students collected at the Hyman Forum to better understand the academic changes that will be implemented. Goucher President, José Antonio Bowen, spoke about the changes to the career development office, assessment of the college, and the budget.
President Bowen addressed that having a career development center has little value to prospective students. Prospective students are looking for an inclusive curriculum that features career preparing opportunities within the classroom. Without having such activities incorporated into the classroom Goucher doesn’t stand out compared to competing colleges. “Some of our students are leaving Goucher without getting the career development that they need,” said Traci Martin, Director of the Career Development Office (CDO).
The proposal involves exposing students to career information upon starting classes. Career information will be incorporated into the student’s education for all four years. “By the time they graduate they have learned this information and gained the skills to be successful,” said Martin.
The faculty has yet to decide how such ideas will be implemented within the classroom.
In theory with the “scaffolding” approach, bridging aspects of career preparation throughout the student’s time here at Goucher, they will become more prepared for the transition from Goucher to the workforce. “We are having students address three important questions. Who am I? What do I want? How do I get there? ” said Martin.
The changes will encourage students to exercise self-exploration and find what they truly want to do in the future. The proposal features a “Professional development” component that teaches students the skills they need to write a resume and prepare for interviews. “All these skills are going to help them make this transition,” said Martin.
The CDO at Goucher has resources for students to access though according to Martin, they are not being sought out by students.
Martin spoke on possible opportunities that Goucher is seeking to implement this change. Goucher acknowledges that students have a desire for mentors, beyond alumni meet and greet events, the changes will bring more opportunities for job shadows and a potential “Gopher Truck” that will bring students to visit employers, alumni or potential local employers. With these changes, Martin hopes to “build career communities. Create an opportunity for students to eat with other people who have their shared interest.”
The changes are still in the proposal process, which means faculty has yet to make a final decision as to what will be required.
For example, only a select few majors at Goucher require an internship before graduating. This is subject to change. “It won’t be successful unless all who are involved cooperate in the execution of the new programs,” said Martin. These changes could be implemented as soon as 2019.
President Bowen returned to the stage to talk about Goucher’s assessment process. The assessment team wants to see that Goucher is utilizing its resources and that they are following the assessment. “This round of construction is directed at things that we wanted to accomplish,” said President Bowen. If Goucher doesn’t improve in meeting academic or student life needs, then this affects the assessment and in return affects the schools budget.
“Goucher is in an environment where resources are financed,” said Malcolm Green-Haynes.
“Hopefully more students will come. And that will ease the pressure, and there will be more money to do other sorts of things,” said President Bowen. He referred to the budget and Goucher’s student retention rate as the “chicken and egg” situation, asking which one came first.
“In order for more students to come, we have to invest money,” said President Bowen.
He spoke on the construction changes and how they are affecting student life at Goucher. “The students who lived in the new hall had a higher retention rate,” said President Bowen. Though he neglected to state the statistics on students who didn’t live in the new facilities, whether or not their retention rate was as high. “Solid” data will be accumulated within a year from now according to President Bowen.