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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Senate Notes: Associate Provost Discusses the Future of UMB

Senate Notes: Associate Provost Discusses the Future of UMB

UMB’s Five-Year Plan Explained

Peter Langer, Associate Provost of Academic Affairs, spoke at last week’s Student Senate meeting. Langer gave various details outlining the mission of the Strategic Planning Task Force, which sets various goals for the university to work towards.

“It’s not an immediate plan, it’s not a plan to deal with the budget crisis that’s happening right now in the state,” Associate Provost Langer stated. “But without a long-term plan to keep yourself focused, you can get diverted and let the yearly ups and downs get you off course.”

The Strategic Planning Task Force is made up of about fifty people, including vice chancellors, deans, teachers, and students.

The focus of the Strategic Planning Task Force is twofold: serving students, and serving the community. Langer focused on the former during his presentation last Wednesday – specifically the low retention and graduation rates of UMass Boston.

“The view is that often the first-time freshman comes in, takes a class here, a class there, doesn’t take in a sense of community, [and] doesn’t develop a sense of connective-ness with one another.”

At UMass Boston, only 69% of the incoming freshmen stay for a sophomore semester.

In an attempt to remedy the situation, the Strategic Planning Task Force will implement a plan for next fall. First-time freshmen will take English 101 and First Year Seminar courses with one another. Incoming freshmen will also be paired up with a peer mentor who will act as a guide to UMass.

Student housing was another issue addressed during the presentation. “Our studies have shown that many [students] say that they’re leaving not because of dissatisfaction with UMass Boston, but because they want to get away from home…they want to have a more residential experience,” Langer explained. “The housing initiative is directly tied with trying to get and suit the needs of a portion of our students and what they said they wanted.”

“We hope that this will make a major dent in our drop-out rate.”

The Campus and Community Affairs Committee will be acting as the mediator of information between the Strategic Planning Task Force and the Student Senate.

UMass Fee Increase Addressed

Student Trustee Heather Dawood attended the March 12 emergency meeting for the Board of Trustees, which voted for the $1,000 fee increase.

“In order to protect the programs that are in existence within the university, money needed to be supplemented,” Trustee Dawood explained in the senate meeting.

“It was voted on in an emergency meeting because the university is responsible for submitting their costs to financial aide. If the university had not met the April first deadline, students would not be awarded financial assistance for the fee increase.”

Tuition will be increased by $500/semester for in-state students, and $1,000/semester for out of state students. Both graduate and undergraduate students are affected by the fee increase.

The trustee invites everyone to voice their concerns by participating in a letter-writing campaign, Public Higher Education Made Personal, which will go on from April 7-12 at stations in the McCormack, Wheatley, and Quinn buildings.

Election Reminder

Director of Student Life, Joyce Morgan reminded everyone that elections will be coming up next week, April 8-10. There will be promotions for the elections April 7-8 to encourage people to vote.

In addition, students can get a chance to see some of the candidates in person during a debate held Thursday, April 2, from 4-6pm on the fourth floor Wheatley lounge.

Students can vote online via the UMass Boston homepage (www.umb.edu) or at the Office of Student Life (Wheatley, fourth floor).

Student Travel Revisited

Interim Dean Angeline Ellison, nee Lopes, attended last week’s Student Senate meeting and answered questions about restricteding student travel to New England during open forum.

“Initially, when I implemented it, we were at a lower [threat alert] nationally,” she explained. “But what has happened recently has reassured me that ‘thank God I did what I did’ because now we’re at a higher level — it’s ultimately a temporary restriction. It’s not a policy.”

Sounds Like Fund

The Vietnamese Student Association was awarded $210.00 for the acquirement of 3 inflatable Sumo costumes for a performance that will be held during the Asian Culture Festival on April 18.

$8,400 was given to Casa Latina to hold their “7th Annual Latino Spring Festival”. One of the goals of the Latino Festival was to “provide a cultural and social space within the University for students so they can become acquainted with our people, our language(s), our food, our music, and the other richness of our culture and community.”

The Spring Festival will be held on May 7-8, in the Wheatley Plaza.

A funding request of $350.00 for the purchase of recorders for the Disability Center was sent back to the SEOC for review on the grounds that it had not gone through proper funding procedures.

Similarly, a motion to transfer $8,000 from the General Contingency Fund to the CCA Committee was referred back to the Budget and Finance Committee for prior approval.