The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Blugold Commitment questions addressed at open house

Chancellor Brian Levin-Stankevich and othersin the UW-Eau Claire administration on Wednesday addressed issues of advising and four-year graduation rates, as well as students’ questions and concerns about the Blugold Commitment.

To fulfill some of their office hours, mostly student senators attended the discussion located in The Cabin of Davies Center.

Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Patricia A. Kleine opened her discussion with the topic of academic advising. She said the “big picture” of advising should be looked at because a freshman’s advising needs are much different than a transfer student’s or upperclassman’s.

She said students who change their majors are the most frustrated because they often have to “undo and redo” their classes, leading to delayed graduation.

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“We want people to explore, but we need to help them explore,” she said.

Kleine said students can take an active role in their advising by not being intimidated against asking questions. She also said some of the best advisers on campus are students’ roommates and friends.

“The whole purpose (of the Blugold Commitment) is to ensure the value a UW-Eau Claire degree,” she said.

Value was a common talking point throughout much of the question and answer discussion Wednesday afternoon.

Bob Hooper, professor and chair of the Geology Department, said he’s a proponent of four-year graduation rates. He said other liberal arts colleges have better four-year graduation rates partly because they are more flexible in their degree requirements.

He said he would like to see UW-Eau Claire explore using part of students’ extra curricular activities for some degree credit.

“We have to give students a better experience in a shorter amount of time,” Hooper said.

Student Sen. Daven Raj said the tuition increase in the Blugold Commitment is needed to ensure the quality of a UW-Eau Claire education.

But Raj said he has talked to students who are concerned with how differential tuition will be allocated within the Blugold Commitment.

He said some are concerned with how much money is being used for financial aid, because people don’t want to end up paying for others to go to college, or vice versa.

Student Sen. Philip Plager said students in general are initially skeptical of the Blugold Commitment, but are willing to pay an increased tuition if the increase in value it is supposed to achieve is illustrated.

He said there are a lot of details that still need to be put into the plan, such as funding for faculty, what departments will hire more faculty and how much control students will have in the hiring process.

Levin-Stankevich said some of the Blugold Commitment’s goals include decreasing the student-faculty ratio, offering more classes and smaller class sizes.

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