Parents Council Meeting Minutes
March 16, 2013
Present: Shelley Barton, Danny Chang, Dave’88 & Audra Fahlgren Drahn ’90, Kim Jones, Buck Jones, Darcy Lewis, Sally Nordstrom ’78, Beth Ownby, Karen & Steve Tardrew, Carol Wirth, Kate Rose and Megan Fiala
Absent: Kent Cooling ’78, Sara & Jock Donaldson, Kim Fuller, Lori & Kent Reynolds
Continental Breakfast – Phifer Commons
Welcome and Opening Comments – Sally Nordstrom ’78, Co-Chair
- Upper Gage commons area was recently renovated over winter break and it looks great! The Senate voted to name the space Phifer Commons.
- Winter sports are wrapping up and the sports teams have been doing well.
- Introductions of members - Everyone introduced themselves and mentioned how they became involved in Parents Council (PC). They also explained what their children are involved in on campus and what their experiences on campus have been thus far. Everyone also shared an interesting fact about themselves as a nice “ice breaker.”
- The PC roster was circulated and information was updated.
Around the World with Three Students Who’ve Studied Abroad - Rochelle Heffern ’13, Amanda Kohn ’14, Luisa Riehle ’15 and John Chaimov, Associated Professor of German and Director of Off-Campus Study
Off-campus study is designed to include domestic programs and opportunities to study abroad through programs offered by the ACM and other programs. There are many of opportunities offered at Coe. Currently Coe offers May Term programs which are three/four week courses that are faculty-led. Summer programs are also offered in addition to New York Term, Washington D.C. Term and the Wilderness Field Station program.
Prof. Chaimov lines up semester abroad programs and exchanges to various places around the world. When using a Coe program, students may use their financial aid toward their program. However, when using a non-Coe program, students can usually use only a percentage of their financial aid to help cover expenses.
Coe does a lot of orienting and advising leading up to the study abroad opportunities. Prof. Chaimov has office hours during the fall term so students can discuss their off-campus study opportunities with him. Some students know exactly what they want to do and he will assist them in the application process. Some aren’t quite sure where they want to study but they know they want to take advantage of the off-campus studying opportunity. He helps to give students more information and offers guidance to help them find the best program for them.
Students are required to participate in an orientation session before they study abroad and when they return they are to complete an evaluation of their program. Students also present at the study abroad fair to share their experience with other students and to encourage them to take advantage of these wonderful opportunities.
Rochelle Heffern ’13 went to Ghana in the fall of 2012 and studied at the University. She stayed in a hostel and shared a room with four or five other women. Rochelle picked Ghana because her sister had traveled to and it sounded interesting to her. She knew she wanted to do a non-Coe program and after doing some research and seeing the experiences available to her she decided to go with Ghana. Rochelle loved her experience. She met lots of people and she experienced a different cultural environment. She took a variety of classes while she was there. It was a very safe environment and traveled with another woman by bus to northern Ghana. She also went to the national park and explored many other places as well. Rochelle is working on a psychology project to discuss culture shock when returning home, keeping in contact with those abroad, etc. She’s assembled a peer study group to evaluate reverse culture shock and settling back in after being abroad. We look forward to seeing what kind of results come from this.
Amanda Kohn ’14 studied in Ireland in the fall of 2012. She is majoring in Biology and Environmental Science. Amanda has always been drawn to Ireland and knew she wanted to travel there so she went through a program called Arcadia. She met up with five other women from the U.S. when she got to Ireland. There were no Coe students with her. She connected with them and she went through orientation during her first few days abroad. While in Ireland, she lived in an apartment with four other women (two Irish, two U.S.) and she studied at a University about a 45 minute train ride away from Dublin. She took six courses and was able to take more sociology classes when studying abroad rather than biology, which offered a great mix. The courses involved much more independent learning and not as much class time which was a nice mix as well. During her break time she did some traveling via bus/train and was able to use her skills to figure out things, ask for directions, etc. She traveled to Italy and the Czech Republic. She really enjoyed her visit to Prague in the Czech Republic. It was an interesting experience for her to travel to a non-English speaking country and she was glad she got to see different European cultures while she was there. Amanda really enjoyed her study abroad experience. Not only did she learn quite a bit, she also found travel buddies for life.
Luisa Riehle ’15 studied on an individual exchange in Spain during the fall. Two other girls from Coe also studied in Spain at the same time and although they studied separately they still saw each other while in Spain which was comforting to have familiar friends around. Luisa studied on the East Coast of Spain at a University near Valencia. At the University, Luisa said she didn’t get as much 1:1 attention which made her appreciate Coe so much more. While abroad she started taking some nursing classes but then switched to a philosophy class (all in Spanish), a translation class, an intense Spanish course, and tourism in the environment (all in Spanish) course. It was a great experience. On her third day in Spain she unfortunately lost her backpack but stayed with a host family who were able to communicate with the police to file a report, etc. She journaled and was able to reflect on her experiences abroad. Luisa also traveled to Paris while studying in Spain. She was able to visit a friend who was studying fashion and also got to go to some shows with her. She also went to Germany to see a relative. Luisa said it was great to travel by herself and experience an exciting adventure.
[Editor’s note: The faculty will soon vote on changing ACM grades to S/U and it is expected to pass.]
Overall Questions from PC
- Have you ever had anyone who didn’t like their study abroad experience?
The vast majority truly enjoy their study abroad programs. They must use their practical problem solving skills and experience something completely different. There have been a few who didn’t necessarily like the program but it wasn’t really the program rather than they weren’t sold on the experience from the start.
- How do you handle a problem with host families that don’t work out as well?
There are directors who are able to help out and can get them moved if needed. Most of the host families are great but if there’s a problem, it can always be fixed.
- What if you get sick or injured while abroad, is there health care available to you?
One student got chicken pox, one student broke their arm, etc. but they were able to get help from the local hospitals and such. The hospitals are good about taking care of the patient first rather than worrying about insurance and payment.
- How do grades and credits transfer?
If a student studies through an ACM program their class grades come back to Coe as letter grades. If it is a non-Coe/non ACM program, the grade will come back as pass/fail (S/U)
Anna Barton ’14, Student Body President, & Max Stanford ’14, Vice President
Anna and Max were re-elected in January 2013. They are looking forward to working with the students again this year and hope to continue to move things forward for the college.
They just finished renovating Upper Gage. The lighting still needs to be finished up, but it looks great and the students are using the space a lot more than before and are excited about these updates.
Students can now hang out, study, etc. and Admissions loves using the space for their campus events. The space used to be treated like a hallway and was never used. Now it can be used by for a variety of events. Student clubs and organizations can also schedule meetings in this space which is great since recently there has been somewhat of a shortage of meeting space. There is a drop down screen and TVs which are also a great addition. The area is named “Phifer Commons” in honor of President James and Linnie Phifer. Senate funded the project with extra reserve funds that were not being used by the clubs and organizations. They will continue to raise funds to pay the rest of it off throughout the upcoming years.
Big Band is coming up for Admitted Students Weekend. This year it will feature “We The Kings” which was recommended last year but Student Senate couldn’t get them so decided to go with them this year. In the future, Anna and Max plan to work with the new events center for reduced concert tickets, hoping to use the $10,000 for reduced ticket prices for students to bigger name groups at the events center rather than bringing in smaller named groups to Coe. Big Band 2013 may be the final Big Band event at Coe. They’d like to start looking at connecting with the community more and this could be one way to connect (by working with the new events center).
Sustainability will continue to be a focus for the upcoming year. President McInally is interested in a smaller footprint and is more than willing to work on this issue. Students, faculty and staff seem to be excited for the new president although President Phifer will be missed. President Phifer did a great job and we appreciate all he has done and are now excited for the future with the new president.
Goals for the future:
- Big Band Project (see above)
- Continue to create forms and procedures for clubs and organizations. Develop procedures for the role of Student Body President and Vice President so that those that take the role after Anna and Max understand what their responsibilities and continue to make progress.
- Create active Moodle pages for each organization. This will ensure consistent and strong organizations year-after-year when the officers transition out.
Struve Communication Center - Susanne Gubanc, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Rhetoric, Communication Studies Coordinator
Susanne gave us a tour of the Struve Communication Center. For several years there was a great deal of space in Eby Annex not being used. A few of the front rooms were used for art and photography storage, but much of it was wasted space. The communication studies major was developed three years ago and recently received funds from Craig Struve ’70 to renovate the space into classrooms, student work areas, Mac labs and a broadcasting recording area. There is additional space to be renovated within the next three to five years as funds become available. If this major follows the trend of other schools, the communication studies major will soon be the second largest major at Coe (Business is the largest).
Student Life & Binge Drinking on Campus - Erik Albinson, Dean of Students, and Tom Hicks, Associate Dean of Students
Erik and Tom handle the judicial process involving students on campus. They monitor campus activities and make sure students are following procedures.
Students are drinking on campus, however to prevent drinking issues they are implementing alcohol education prior to coming to campus. Students take surveys and are asked questions to see what they know about alcohol and binge drinking before coming to campus. Students may not drink prior to coming to campus, however that may change once they get to campus and we want to be sure they know the dangers of binge drinking and alcohol consumption. During orientation students participate in a program called “A Shot of Reality,” which is designed to provide additional information regarding binge drinking and alcohol consumption. Coe tries to front load the information as much as possible so they avoid the problems before they happen. Studies show that students set their behaviors in the first six weeks on campus. Student life tries to provide many opportunities on campus in those first six weeks to keep the drinking at a minimum. They provide non-drinking activities for students to try to keep alcohol consumption low. They are continuing to be proactive and keeping students well informed and away from the dangers of alcohol. Residential Life also promotes students partaking in weekend pledges to not drink, sports teams having a dry season, and Greek life doing a charity event and collecting money that would’ve been used on weekend alcohol and instead donating it to a good cause.
Residential Life staff and security are continually doing rounds to check on things around campus and make sure problems are handled in an appropriate manner. Throughout this academic year there were five hospitalizations this fall, none in the spring. This number has decreased from previous years.
Flunk Day is more controlled now than in previous years. During Flunk Day there is a blocked off beer garden to decrease the amount of beer being passed around to underage students. Only students of age are allowed in the beer garden. This has helped decrease the amount of reckless and dangerous behavior during Flunk Day. The Residential Life staff has been focusing on event management and this is probably one reason why negative incidences have decreased. There has also been consistency in their staff which allows for consistent policy enforcement. Extra security staff is also added during weekends such as St. Patrick’s Day or a “drinking” type holiday to prevent problems from occurring. On a normal evening, two guards are on duty each night (one guard on campus, one guard patrolling in a car).
Coe is a wet campus which means we allow students over the age of 21 to have alcohol on campus (in their room or apartment as long as the door is closed). Open containers are not allowed in the hallways or outdoors. Parties are to be registered and the host must go through risk management training beforehand to provide them with the education they need revolving around alcohol.
Hospitalizations don’t go through the judicial process. Staff meets with the student and they do more educational training with them and provide them with the help they need so it doesn’t happen again. If a student goes to the hospital for any reason the parents are notified. If there are repeated minor offenses, parents will be notified. If students violate campus policies, further education will be enforced. There is disciplinary actions, online education, etc.
64% of students reported as non-drinkers and 25% are reporting as high drinkers. The majority of students aren’t drinking but those students that are drinking high amounts stand out. Research is being done and students will be interviewed on campus to get an idea of where Coe students are on the spectrum.
President’s Report - President Phifer
President Phifer has been traveling and tying up loose ends before he retires at the end of June. The budget will be reviewed in the upcoming weeks, but we know at this time there will be a 4% increase in tuition. If the tuition keeps rising soon people will no longer be able to afford this type of education; however, without tuition increases a workable budget cannot be maintained. The good news is the college is growing. There is a strong class coming to Coe Fall of 2013 and growth must continue to keep tuition down and stay within the means of the budget. This will have to continue to be a focus moving forward in the upcoming years.
Traditional enrollment at Coe used to be 600-900, and then steadily increased to 1000-1200. Now we sit at an estimated 1300 students enrolled each year. The academic profile had continued to strengthen.
ACT scores are up and Coe is attracting more students at the higher end of the academic spectrum which is increasing the academics here on campus. In two to three years the college hopes to be at 1400 students. Coe will be able to handle this number of students with the current infrastructure. However, anything above 1400 would require more residential buildings.
The main projects on the forefront are working on additions to Eby Fieldhouse and Hickok Hall.
In the short term, President Phifer expects to see Eby Fieldhouse expanded. This will provide recreational space, and great facilities help recruiting efforts and provide more opportunities for students. In the long term he hopes we don’t lose our soul as we travel into the brave new world. Electronic courses are becoming more and more popular. We need to use technology and not be used by it; technology should benefit but not replace what we have. The heart of the college must be preserved.
Odds and Ends - Kate Rose
- Parent Hospitality during Orientation Week will be Wednesday, August 21. She will recruit Parent Council members to welcome the parents of the class of 2017.
- The next Parent Council meeting will be Friday, Sept. 20, during Family Weekend.
- Sally was given a token of appreciation for she and Kent for a job well done with our thanks. Janet Schupbach’s gift will be mailed to her.
- Shelly Barton will be the new chair for 2013-14.
Suggestion for our next meeting:
- Hear from the Dean of Faculty, Marie Baehr.
- Tour the Art Department.
- Hear from Career Services regarding the Coe Plan and placement percentage. What can they do for our students? Suggestion to send out senior bios to local alums. Make it easier to post job opportunities to the Coe Connections website. Internship/Job Campaign in the Courier? PC to continue to think of questions.
Respectfully submitted,Megan Fiala
Public Relations Coordinator/Assistant Director of Parent Programs