The independent student newspaper of Goucher College

Category archive

News

Underlying Issues Identified as Student Organizers Engage With Administration

by

 

Student organizers and administrators discuss student demands during a Sept. 12th meeting. Pictured around the table from left to right: Maya Williams (Radical Student Union representative), Skyler O’Neil, Isabelle Turner, Interim Associate Dean of Students Nicole Johnson, Isabella Favazza, Dean of Students Brian Coker, President José Bowen, Vice President for Advancement Trishana Bowden, Associate Vice President for Marketing and Communications Stephanie Coldren, Interim Provost Scott Sibley, Zoë Gilmore, Vice President for Finance and Administration Lyn Lochte, Faculty Chair Micah Webster, Oonagh Kligman, Noah Block (GSG representative), Associate Dean of Students for Community Life Stacy Cooper Patterson, and James Williams.

On August 15th, an email was sent out by the Office of Communications to Goucher students in which President José Bowen formally announced the results of a Program Prioritization Process (PPP). The email included important links to a list of future program changes and an FAQ page. While this newspaper had announced that a program prioritization process was taking place on May 18th of this year, for many students it was the first time that they had heard of Goucher’s plans for Academic Revitalization. In our Sep. 14th issue, The Quindecim reported on the town hall meeting that had occurred on Aug. 27th in response to these changes.

The town hall meeting was met with a huge turnout of more than fifty students in the small dining hall space, and within 24 hours The Quindecim‘s live video of the event had garnered more than 400 views from students, alumnae, and professors alike. “I’m impressed and very proud to have seen such a high turnout,” said Isabelle Turner, ’20, a student sitting on the Academic Affairs Committee of the Board of Trustees. “I’m not surprised, though, because when it comes down to it, I think students care deeply about this place. “It implies a sort of camaraderie that – at Goucher – is rarely expressed overtly.”

Turner and several other students had been meeting and organizing a coordinated, student response to the PPP before the fall 2018 semester had even started. Aidan De Ricco, ’20, and Oonagh Kligman, ’20, both Residential Assistants (RA’s), had been sharing their feelings with one another about the announcement between trainings and talked about organizing a student led protest. “It affected me personally, it affected a lot of other students, and I wanted to be informed,” said De Ricco.

De Ricco and Kligman quickly connected with other concerned students on campus who felt a need to organize: Zoë Gilmore, ’21, India Fleming-Klink, ‘21, James Williams, ’19, Isabella Favazza, ’19, and Turner. After exchanging information through Facebook, they gathered in person and discussed the possibility of protesting Convocation. After feedback from other students they realized that such a move might alienate others affected by the PPP announcement, and that they needed to establish a space for wider student dialogue. Two meeting dates were set up to maximize availability: Sat., Aug. 25th and Sun., Aug. 26th. They were advertised on the Facebook class pages.

Both meetings saw more than 20 attendees, foreshadowing what would be an even more well-attended town hall meeting that Monday called upon by the student organizers. Those who showed over the weekend, including representatives of Goucher Student Government such as Samuel Anderson, ‘21, were asked to introduce themselves, then the opportunity was opened for emotional expression. The goal, organizers explained, was twofold: 1) to offer a space for healing and the practice of mutual care and 2) to offer a space for people to release their reactive energy ahead of the town hall so that they would subsequently ask clear, informed questions.

While the two-hour-long town hall meeting shifted tensely between measured, informative exchange and frustrated, accusatory outbursts, both student organizers and administrators saw its value. “We got to hear each other and what our needs are, and now we need to [address them],” President José Bowen said. “Needs are important, and if those needs are not being met, we need to work on that.”

Turner, impressed with the way in which Faculty Chair Micah Webster and Internal Review Team member Michael Curry addressed the crowd, saw their dialogue as a model for future conversations between administrators and students. “I think it was both moving and effective to speak to students with the respect and empathy and emotional intelligence that they did. They did a wonderful job of achieving the relational transparency we so need between student body and administration.”

Relational transparency was a key theme that came up throughout student organizing and the town hall meeting. Students expressed mistrust of the administration’s motives, feeling that information was being withheld from them for the sake of Goucher’s institutional reputation and survival. They felt left out of the changes happening at Goucher, particularly when it came to decision-making processes. Many wondered if the PPP had been necessary. “I think we needed the story of this process to be told to us completely and honestly,” Turner said.

Unfortunately, the question of how to tell a story becomes complicated when a college is responding to the needs and interests of multiple stakeholders. In an interview, Bowen said that “there is no financial crisis, but there will be if we don’t prepare.“ He added, “the Board [of Trustees] did mandate that we needed to have this year’s budget closer to balanced.” In a 2013 article, The New York Times states that “colleges have been on a borrowing spree […] nearly doubling the amount of debt they’ve taken on in the last decade to fix aging campuses, keep up with competitors and lure students with lavish amenities.” Consequently, as stated in a report published by the American Association of University Professors, “an administration contending with serious financial problems is likely to resist the wide circulation of budget figures. If bad news is lurking in the numbers, the institution’s situation might get worse if information becomes widely known and affects enrollment decisions and alumni giving.” “Nobody wants to air our dirty laundry,” said Bowen.

Reflecting a nationwide trend, Goucher has had to find creative ways of saving money while still aiming for gradual growth, Bowen explained. Facing increasing cost and a smaller pool of college-bound 18 year olds, administration identified four longer-term options: raising tuition, lowering financial aid, adding students, or subtracting services and programs. Since the board had pledged not to raise tuition above inflation, the first option was ruled out. The second option was not possible given Goucher’s commitment to diversity and inclusion and its need to attract more students. The third had already been attempted but had hit a maximum. The fourth option was left. As a result, the PPP was initiated.

Photo credit: Informational sheet shared by President José Bowen.

In making these budgetary calculations within the context of a competitive system of higher education, the Board of Trustees had played its role — ensuring intergenerational equity at Goucher and the institution’s long-term well-being. However, summarized by Bowen, “as a trustee, my focus is ten years from now [but] as a student my focus is now.” As Goucher announces and begins the process of phasing out majors, it must consider a number of different parties — students, prospective students, faculty, staff, administrators, and alumnae — all of whom are invested in Goucher and an integral part of the community but whose immediate interests can be at odds.

With the PPP, students felt that their own needs and interests had been overlooked, sowing distrust and bitterness about the administration’s motives and their plans for the future. With the town hall meeting, student organizers attempted to bring student needs back to the forefront of administrative discussions. On their end, recognizing student blowback, administrators sought to repair a broken relationship.

Both parties agreed that the town hall meeting had limitations in achieving these objectives. Turner pointed to the often lengthy responses of panel members. Student organizers were unable to get to all of the questions that they had crafted for the panel. Those questions sought to uncover information that students felt had been withheld or obscured from them. “Relationships are harder to build in a town hall,” Bowen admitted. “It doesn’t allow for more in depth conversations. This has to be ongoing.” Student organizers, recognizing the necessity of more long-term and engaged conversation, concluded the town hall by demanding a follow-up meeting on Sep. 12th.

The Sep. 12th meeting was a pivotal moment in what has become an ongoing dialogue between student organizers and administrators to resolve student grievances. While the town hall had established an important precedent to conversation, the Sep. 12th meeting, held between seven student organizers and nine administrators, faculty, and staff members, unearthed a larger, systemic issue: the lack of an effective feedback structure between campus bodies. As a result, the PPP had come with significant miscommunication.

“More transparency at the beginning of the process would have been better,” Bowen admitted in the meeting, “but if person hears costs have to be cut, will there be more certainty or more fear?” “Goucher students can lean into uncertainty if they feel included,” Turner responded. All attendees, however, were unsure of exactly what that process of inclusion should look like. “In some ways, we thought having a student on the committee would resolve this issue,” Bowen said. Yet in a separate interview, Turner had claimed, “I have never been invited to speak to student morale at Trustees meetings.” Typically, GSG is relied upon to represent students and communicate information back to them, but over the years it has suffered a decline in student involvement and buy-in. “Students don’t get involved in these things because they don’t see anything coming from it,” said Webster.

Current GSG leadership recognizes their past shortcomings and hopes to make significant changes in the future by calling on students to rebuild and rebrand their structure. In the meantime, student organizers continue to seek to represent students as best as they can and push forward changes: better advertising of faculty meetings, better advertising of and more opportunities for student input in the Revitalization Process, and full disclosure of Goucher’s history in relation to slavery. Many more demands — outlined in a petition which garnered 481 student signatories — still need to be addressed. As Dean of Students Brian Coker put it, “higher ed is built on process.” This process may very well determine Goucher’s future.

Public Safety Blotter

by

The Quindecim is granted access to information about violations of the Goucher College Code of Conduct and Academic Honor code. The information below was obtained from The Office of Public Safety and is publicly available. This weeks blotter consists of incidents that occurred between September 5th, 2018 and September 19th, 2018.

PUBLIC SAFETY INCIDENT REPORTS

9/05/18 – 9/19/18

Alcohol/Drug

  • Student drug violation in Stimson
  • Student drug violation in Mary Fisher
  • Student drug violation in Froelicher
  • Student drug violation in Mary Fisher
  • Student drug violation in Trustee’s Hall

Fire Safety

  • Accidental fire alarm in Heubeck
  • Fire alarm malfunction in Mary Fisher
  • Fire alarm malfunction in the SRC

Injury /Medical Emergency

  • Ill/injured person in Van Meter (Ex-cleared)
  • Medical emergency on campus grounds
  • Medical emergency in P-Selz
  • Medical emergency in P-Selz
  • Medical emergency in Trustees
  • Medical emergency in Heubeck
  • Medical emergency in Athenaeum
  • Medical emergency in Heubeck

Vehicle Incident

  • Motor vehicle accident, Mary Fisher
  • Motor vehicle accident in the SRC parking lot

Damage/Vandalism

  • Vandalism in Trustees Hall
  • Vandalism in the Athenaeum

Goucher Phases Out Majors, Student Reaction Leads to Town Hall Meeting

by
Credit: Flyer emailed out by OSE

This summer, Goucher announced that it would be phasing out programs that were not popular among the students, reducing the amount of academic majors from 33 to 25. The process came from a decision by Goucher College’s Board of Trustees, which warned that without a cut to costs, Goucher would face financial trouble. Goucher stresses, however, that the college has maintained its “A-“ credit rating after a “very thorough review” by the Standard and Poors this past summer.

The review process involved a team of 13 faculty members, called the Internal Review Team (IRT), who reviewed student data to come to a conclusion. Some of the data was sourced from “course evaluations” submitted in the past three years, which was then analyzed by the IRT and approved by external reviewers. The result was the discontinuation of eight courses as majors. Classes within these disciplines will still be offered.

Responses to the initiative, called “academic revitalization,” range from unsurprised to outraged. In response, a town hall meeting was assembled between President Bowen, the Board of Trustees, a few faculty members, and students. During the student input section of the meeting, senior Langston Cotman voiced his frustration.

“I think looking at data is different from student input…I have heard ‘majors you want,’ I have heard ‘voting with your feet,’ and now I’m hearing in this next process you want to actually hear our voices. I would have loved if you’d started with that.”

Acting President of Goucher Senate Samuel Anderson agrees that Goucher’s primary mistake was one of communication.

“I think that the academic revitalization process was certainly flawed in many stages of communication. This represents an underlying problem that exists here at Goucher and that students are organizing and advocating change.”

Goucher’s decision to phase out certain programs is not unique. According to the Baltimore Sun, seven Texas universities eliminated their physics programs, while the University of the District of Columbia cut 17 of their own programs, including physics, in recent years.

At the town hall meeting, theater professor Michael Curry spoke about his role in the Internal Review Team.

“Nobody on the faculty chose to do this work, we all knew what it meant, but we also knew that it was extremely important for this to happen for the college to survive.”

The immediate threat to Goucher’s survival was left unclear. All that was said in the meeting was that the Board of Trustees felt it necessary to prioritize programs to avoid raising the cost of tuition beyond inflation adjustments. The students, however, still demand that the process be more transparent.

“We need more in-the-moment relational transparency from the administration about decisions being made, as well as their vision for Goucher,” said a pamphlet handed out by student activist Zoe Gilmore. “We need a mechanism for continued transparency.”

JOSHUA GREENBERG

Goucher Assesses Academic Programs

by

Goucher is currently undergoing a Program Prioritization Process. This process takes stock of programs that are currently in place and determines which programs are “healthy,” and “along the way we should discover what is working and not working within the programs,” according to Dr. Micah Webster, the faculty chair and Associate Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science.

The goal of program prioritization is to develop an understanding of the institution and its programs in order to direct Goucher’s resources towards programs that support the institution’s goals. To clarify, “program” refers to a course of study requiring the completion of a specified number of semester credit hours from among a prescribed group of courses that leads to a formal award, ie. majors and minors (Source: MHEC).

The data collection process for the prioritization process began last semester and should be completed by mid-June, according to Dr. Webster. This process is being conducted by the Office of Institutional Effectiveness, the Office of Admissions, the Office of the Provost, and the programs themselves.

A committee of faculty that includes the Curriculum and Budget & Planning Committees, as well as tenured and non-tenured faculty, and representatives from all major faculty committees, work with the Provost to make recommendations to the Board of Trustees. According to Professor Ann Duncan, the Chair of the Academic Policies Committee, though the process is intended to be faculty led, because the Board of Trustees set the process in motion, it will be they who decide if the faculty plan sufficiently addresses the college’s needs.

The “Why”
Program prioritization programs tend to begin for financial reasons. According to Robert C. Dickeson, who wrote an influential book entitled Prioritizing Academic Programs and Services: Reallocating Resources to Achieve Strategic Balance, the most commonly cited reason for program prioritization is financial stress. Other reasons may include prioritization being a recurring process or part of strategic planning overall, the unacceptability of making equivalent cuts in all programs, and the governing board wanting the college to prioritize. According to Professor Duncan, while the process is intended to be conducted independently of dollar amounts, “the Board of Trustees hopes this process will save money by right sizing the faculty to fit our student body.”

When interviewed, President Jose Bowen emphasized that the process is “routine.” Goucher’s last program prioritization ended in 2014, before the start of President Bowen’s tenure at Goucher, during which the process recommended the elimination of Chinese and additions to the Psychology Department.

President Bowen cited a couple reasons for Goucher’s current program prioritization: the college is scheduled for re-accreditation, and hopes to expand in the future. In order to expand and to create new programs, the college must withdraw resources from existing programs. “You can’t keep adding. At some point, you either add, or you move things around,” said President Bowen.

By keeping tuition costs the same for one year and choosing to increase tuition by only 1.9% in 2018-19, President Bowen has committed to making Goucher more affordable. However, this means a decrease in net tuition revenue for the college, while inflation continues to increase. It also means that existing programs cannot be added to if costs are to remain the same. If student class sizes shrink, faculty must be reduced.

One possible solution to rising costs is increasing costs is changing the faculty-to-student ratio. “Costs are getting so prohibitive that there has been more openness to different size classes and different pedagogy,” said education consulting firm leader Kent John Chabotar, as cited in an article entitled “Tuition Conundrum,” published on InsideHigherEd.com. Of course, this also means reducing the numbers of faculty.

According to President Bowen, Goucher’s student-faculty ratio hasn’t changed, and the future size of the faculty will depend in part on the size of incoming classes. “If we grow [the student body] a little bit, we’ll add faculty,” said President Bowen. “If we shrink a little bit, then we’ll reduce faculty.” According to the President, the goal for Goucher in future years is to “grow slowly.”
It seems unlikely, however, that class sizes will grow. Colleges are facing financial trouble across the country, particularly small liberal arts colleges. President Bowen discussed the fact that there are fewer college students across the country than there were ten years ago, so colleges are competing for a smaller pool of students. “Right now, there are a million fewer people in college than there were in 2010,” said Bowen. “So there are fewer people going to college [and in that smaller pool] there are more people going to state institutions.”

Despite this, Goucher plans to remain a liberal arts institution. When asked what his vision was for Goucher five years down the road, Bowen said, “The truth is, that if I am really successful, if Goucher is really successful, we will remain a liberal arts college. That may sound less ambitious, but we may be the last liberal arts college. Because if you read the paper, they’re closing, they’re merging, they’re adding other kinds of things, they’re adding [vocational] programs…We want to be a liberal arts college. So what matters is how we do that. What kind of instruction do we offer? How do we keep classes nice and small?”

The “How”
The “how” is where program prioritization comes in. However, while the process is intended to ultimately benefit the college, this does not come without difficulties. The process may result in recommendations to eliminate positions or cut back current programs. Because of the instability and insecurity that this creates, faculty and staff may be concerned about the future of their programs and positions throughout this process. “Those things are painful, but they are part of the normal process,” said President Bowen.

Because the program prioritization process is faculty-run, it also involves additional work for professors. Faculty must come to an agreement about how to best measure the effectiveness of programs and then collect all the relevant data. According to Professor Ann Duncan, one challenge has been that, when this process was announced, the faculty were already hard at work on implementing the new curriculum. Much of the work on the new curriculum has been stalled until staffing numbers and program status are clear.

According to Duncan, “faculty are incredibly excited about the new curriculum and the creativity and interdisciplinarity it allows.” However, it will be a while before it is put in place across the board. For the next two years, faculty must run two different curriculums at the same time, as some students remain with the Liberal Education Requirements, while others are fullfing the new general education requirements, called Goucher Commons Requirements.
Once the program prioritization process is complete, faculty may also need to determine how to implement the new curriculum with fewer faculty. “We passed this curriculum with a certain sized faculty and with even the promise that we might be able to grow a little,” said Professor Duncan. “The reality now is that there are a lot of positions that have not been filled and we may be losing some positions.”

On a national level, one of the largest issues facing program prioritization programs is a lack of faculty buy-in. Despite this, members of Goucher’s faculty do understand the need for a response to the current challenges in higher education, and express concern for Goucher’s future. “The faculty recognize that times are tight financially, not just for Goucher but for colleges across the country,” said Professor Duncan. “At the same time, we want to ensure that any process we participate in maintains the integrity of the Goucher education.” At this stage, the effects of the process remain to be seen.

The Curriculum and Budget & Planning Committees have formed the criteria for the evaluation of programs, which are: relevance, efficiency, opportunity analysis, evidence of impact. These categories include factors like relevance, alignment with college mission, internal and external demand for program, teaching effectiveness in programs, contributions to and in support of the programs, numbers of students in the program, evidence of engagement with students, operational efficiency of the program, etc.

Goucher faculty have also asked administration to consider a voluntary separation program, which would provide financial benefits for faculty who decide to voluntarily leave the college. This program would benefit the college by generating compensation savings that can be spent in other ways, while the faculty member would benefit from both the financial benefits and the voluntary nature of the program.

Correction: Edits for clarity have been made to the fourth paragraph.

MADELINE ST. JOHN and GREER TURNER

Featured Image Credit: Projects · Ziger/Snead Architects

Goucher Says Farewell to Professors

by

Throughout the course of a college’s life, professors come and go, leaving behind legacies that carry their names forward. Sadly, it is time to say goodbye to several committed faculty members of Goucher College. In 1983, when Goucher was still an all-women’s college and the Quindecim was called “The Weekly” (a strange name for a paper that was published once every two weeks), Barbara Roswell had just been hired as a writing professor. She will retire this year. Why? When asked, she chuckled, saying “I think a change once every thirty-five years is okay.”

Dr. Roswell and coworker, Mary Jo Wiese, are well known for their work n the Goucher Prison Education Partnership, a program which strives to give a college education to incarcerated members of society. “My two brothers are both judges in Ohio; my father also served as a judge. I grew up believing in the integrity of the judicial system” says Wiese, who is also leaving this year, “but, over time, I became painfully aware that we have a penal system, and not a correctional system.” Starting with a special edition of Reflections, a journal that was edited by Dr. Roswell, these professors saw the learning potential in those incarcerated in prison. Over the years, the program has changed the lives of potential students residing in the Maryland Correctional Institution for Women in Jessup, Maryland. Professor Wiese’s husband is also retiring from his job this year, and they plan to travel together.

Professor Jeanne-Rachel Leroux will also be leaving this year, having accepted a teaching position in Staten Island, New York. Before coming to Goucher, Professor Leroux taught at several public high schools in Japan, as well as one international school. She came to Goucher five years ago, and has lived with her students in the Language House ever since.“I liked the Language House aspect of the contract. It allows me to interact with students outside of the classroom.” As the live-in professor for Language House, Professor Leroux oversaw many of the language-oriented events held there. Whether it be cooking events, language meetings, or just the community environment, Jeanne-Rachel Leroux was heavily involved in the community and will be remembered for bringing students together.

Her track is not unique for aspiring professors. Professor Leroux was at Goucher on a contractual basis, which would be renewed after several years if all went well. However, it is now time for her to settle into a more permanent position. “I have a lecturer position at CSI next year… It’s a relief to have a long-term contract because I have not had that. Almost ever,” Professor Leroux said. Obtaining a long term contract with a university can be difficult. Professors must build up experience before being asked to hold a long-term position, and must be able to go where the offers take them.

Associate Professor of Philosophy Margaret Grebowicz will be leaving Goucher as well, and will be remembered for her diverse legacy. From her books (Whale Song, The National Park to Come) to her effort to translate Polish poems into English, she has been a very accomplished and well-liked professor. “She was really engaging and caring for her students and added a special dimension to the philosophy department” says Dustin Taylor, a senior philosophy major.

We must also say goodbye to Professor Bernadette Tutinas, Associate Professor of Mathematics. Professor Tutinas is the longest standing professor to leave Goucher this year, and has taught everything from MA100 to MA333. Known for her specialty in Graph Theory and Combinatorics, she engaged students in all different disciplines, spreading math along the way “Mathematics is important and useful, but it is also beautiful in its patterns and rhythms. One of the greatest pleasures of teaching is helping students to see this beauty,” says Professor Tutinas. Goucher has changed tremendously since her tenure began, as it was not yet co-ed in 1981. Though the school has and will continue to change, her contributions to the college will surely not be forgotten.

Finally, Dr. George Delahunty will be leaving as well. He is the Lilian Welsh Professor of Biology at Goucher College. With a specialization in Physiology/Endocrinology, Dr. Delahunty was responsible for numerous biology courses at Goucher College, from Intro to Biology II to Endocrinology. Dr. Delahunty engaged a wide range of students with his expertise and anecdotal information. “He’s really well versed in all the material he teaches and always has extra fun facts or examples to share with us”, says senior Spanish major Maggie Ratrie. He will be remembered for his impressive knowledge of the field and ability to engage students from any major.

While it’s saddening to say goodbye to the professors we love, it’s important that we remember them fondly. The legacies of educators are measured by their impacts on students, and everyone remembers an educational experience that changed their lives. Although these professors will no longer be changing lives at Goucher, teachers are always out to educate, no matter where they are. Or, as retiring professor Barbara Roswell puts it, “Often the most exciting things we can do together are just having a group of people sitting around in a circle, talking about a text.”

JOSHUA GREENBERG (Contributor from the Goucher Eye)

Featured Image: patch.com

Mental Health Resources

by

In order to clear up any confusion that may have been caused by an article published in the previous issue of the Q, the counseling center has a number of resources and systems in place that ensure that no student ever has to wait to speak with a mental health professional.

Student experiences with counseling center services are generally very positive—when surveyed, positive student feedback was higher than the national average, with 37% of students reporting counseling services as “very helpful” (as compared with the national average of 31%). The counseling center has also been able to meet the needs of 86% of students who have come to the counseling center, with 14% having been referred off campus.

The administration is also currently working to improve mental health and mental health treatment on campus, through efforts like partnering with the JED Foundation, constructing new counseling center facilities, conducting an environmental survey, and hiring a wellness coordinator.

Jean Perez, the Director of Sports Medicine, was recently named Director of Student Wellness. Her role, in her words, is to “coordinate a more holistic approach to well-being on campus, provide resources for students that address all dimensions of wellness, and to collaborate with other areas to integrate what all of the different offices are already doing to contribute to overall student well-being.” Part of this process will be to hire a campus recreation coordinator, who will “coordinate our club and intramural sports, create a campus recreation program and grow our outdoor adventure programming.”

There is also an abundance of people, offices, and resources available on campus that may be useful for students’ mental health—but sometimes it can seem like a bit of a scavenger hunt trying to find the right people or resources. The Q has compiled a list of these resources in efforts to make this process a little bit easier.

Name Contact Person Role Location

Counseling Resources

Counseling Center Counseling sessions are free and confidential. The center offers brief, individual counseling (typically less than 12 sessions), although there is no hard limit on the number of sessions students can have. The center typically schedules in-person intakes within 1-3 days. Even if there is a waitlist, students will still be able to complete an intake and no student with imminent safety concerns will be placed on a waitlist. Clinicians are trained in various empirically-supported treatment modalities appropriate to address a broad range of student experiences, symptoms, and diagnoses.  For students in need of specialized or long-term therapy options, community providers may be recommended. For more information: https://www.goucher.edu/experience/staying-healthy/counseling-services/ First floor of Huebeck (moving to Mary Fisher)
Urgent Walk-in Hours at the Counseling Center Monday – Friday at 1pm. Walk in to the counseling center if you are experiencing a mental health emergency.
After Hours Mental Health Hotline To speak with a mental health counselor after hours, call 855-236-4278. This service provides phone support by licensed clinicians. This is not just a crisis hotline—the clinicians can provide support for something more benign all the way up to suicidal ideation. As opposed to a national hotline, this service is provided in partnership with Goucher’s Counseling Center.   Clinicians are aware of resources both on and off campus.
Baltimore County Crisis Hotline 410-931-2214 A 24-hour hotline staffed by mental health professionals. The hotline is also connected with a Mobile Response Team of mental health clinicians and police officers that offer emergency responses to persons in need of urgent intervention.
Hospitalization Goucher has a memo of understanding with St. Joseph’s Medical Center to encourage ease of communication. If a student opts for hospitalization, they will be transported to the hospital in an ambulance, for safety reasons and in order to receive more immediate treatment. Clinicians work with students to explain the process.
Medical Withdrawal Andrew Wu manages the medical leave policy and consults with the counseling center concerning students returning from medical leave. For more information: https://www.goucher.edu/registrar/leave-of-absence-withdrawal-from-the-college/medical-compassionate-withdrawal-procedures
Psychiatry Services and the Health Center 410-337-6050 Students have access to psychiatry six hours a week through health services. First Floor of Huebeck

Committees

JED Committee Cameron Cox

Monica Neel

Andrew Wu

A committee formed through Goucher’s partnership with the JED foundation. Chaired by Cameron Cox, and led by Andrew Wu and Monica Neel, the group discusses what the college could be doing better in terms of mental health.
GSG Student Life Committee Noah Block

noah.block@mail.goucher.edu

Goucher Student Government committee working around wellness, mental health, and other aspects of student life on campus. Meets in Office of Student Engagement

People and Offices

Jean Perez (New Wellness Coordinator) jean.perez@goucher.edu “My role is to coordinate a more holistic approach to well-being on campus, provide resources for students that address all dimensions of wellness, and to collaborate with other areas to integrate what all of the different offices are already doing to contribute to overall student well-being.

Part of that is the hiring of a campus recreation coordinator, who will coordinate our club and intramural sports, create a campus recreation program and grow our outdoor adventure programming.  Her office will be located in one of the new residence halls (building 1C), in the Wellness Resource Center. We will also be opening an equipment issue room in the Sports and Recreation Center where students can rent out various sports equipment.”

Peer Listeners 443-632-7799 Peer listeners are available from 7pm-2am every night. Peer listening occurs in person. Every semester, there is a week long peer listening training, during which Peer Listeners do role playing and focus on listening skills and some content areas, such as stress, anxiety, sexual assault, and depression. They are trained in basic resources on campus so that they can provide references. They don’t offer personal advice. Peer listeners are a very confidential resource because they don’t report out–they report up, to Cynthia Terry. The program, developed by Roshelle Kades, has been in existence for over 7 years.
Office of Religious and Spiritual Life Chaplain Cynthia Terry

cynthia.terry@goucher.edu

and Rabbi Josh Snyder

josh.snyder@goucher.edu

Cynthia Terry: “As chaplain of this community, I am eager to work with all members of the Goucher College community—students, faculty, and staff—as they explore their spiritual values and commitments, express their religious traditions, search for meaning and value, and seek answers to their questions. I also understand that, as chaplain, I can be a companion in life’s journey, through the painful places of illness, depression, addiction, grief, and abuse, as well as through joyful celebrations of achievement, accomplishment, and important relationships.  I am a confidential resource.”

Rabbi Josh: “As a Rabbi, I’m available to students for pastoral counseling as they desire.  That doesn’t mean religion has to be a part of it, though questions of spirituality and meaning arise.  I’m available to any student regardless of religious background, and I can be emailed to set up a time. Mostly I am an active listener, a first step, and can help recommend other resources for students to seek out.”

Chapel (Chaplain); Interfaith Center (Rabbi)
Office of Student Development and Outreach Cameron Cox

Cameron.Cox@goucher.edu

and Alexandra Graves

alexandra.graves@goucher.edu

In the Office of Student Development and Outreach, Cameron and Alexandra support students through prevention, intervention, and support efforts for students across campus.  Both members of the office serve as case managers, supporting students facing hardships, those experiencing crises, and those struggling with other common barriers to success. We work differently with each student, so students have a personalized guide to help them develop and execute a support plan to get back on track.  Cameron and Alexandra assist students through various challenges such as: academic concerns, social/emotional distress, and other personal conflicts. In addition, Cameron serves as chair for the JED committee, a mental healthcare program on Goucher’s Campus, runs the Brother to Brother Affinity program, and serves as a member of the Residence Life staff.  Alexandra helps in leadership efforts for the department, works with students returning to campus from a leave of absence, and is currently working on the development of resiliency programming at the college.

You can learn more by visiting the Student Development and Outreach website, https://www.goucher.edu/experience/staying-healthy/case-management-and-student-support/

If you want to meet with Alexandra or Cameron, you can email us directly at care@goucher.edu

Welsh 205
Office of Accessibility Services Arnell Hadley

Best way to contact: email (access@goucher.edu or arnelle.hanley@goucher.edu ) or set up a Starfish appointment.

Office of Accessibility Services works with Goucher’s Counseling Services and Case Management Services.  Together we work to connect students to the appropriate resources on or off campus. Additionally, Arnelle frequently works with some student’s providers on creating accommodations that are appropriate for the various stages of their mental health. Her communication with the student and their provider is ongoing as things can change at any moment. Alumnae/i House 120
Office of Community-Based Learning (CBL) Santa Wallace sawallac@goucher.edu

Lindsay Johnson

lijohnso@goucher.edu

Cass Freedland

cassia.freedland@goucher.edu

The Office of Community-Based Learning (CBL) offers structured opportunities for engaging in community-based work, both through reflective volunteerism and classes that link their course content to off-campus community experiences. The connection between well-being and community engagement has received a great deal of scholarly attention; in fact, last year, Goucher’s CBL Office was part of a four-campus national study on well-being and thoughtful civic engagement. Studies have found that the work itself can be psychologically rewarding through connection with others in the community. In addition to this, when guided and reflected upon, community-based learning though volunteerism and classes can help to:

  • build one’s sense of a civic society
  • promote feelings of independence and freedom
  • encourage one to better understand one’s own privilege and identify power structures within colleges and communities,
  • and develop social connections that promote general well-being.

The Office of Community-Based Learning, in The Arsht Center for Ethics and Leadership, welcomes students to engage in one of our 8 volunteer programs, learn more about our Student Leaders for Civic Action program, or embrace the 30+ academic courses that incorporate community engagement each academic year.

Come to Van Meter 105 to talk and enjoy a cup of coffee or tea, or visit our website at https://www.goucher.edu/learn/beyond-the-classroom/community-based-learning/.
Title IX Office Lucia Perfetti Clark: lucia.perfetticlark@goucher.edu

and Peer Educators

The Office of Title IX connects students to short-term resources such as legal counsel and other victim services. Lucia oversees the sexual misconduct policy and the nondiscrimination policy. The Office only provides accommodations when a student requests them specifically, as each case they handle is unique.

Goucher Title IX: https://www.goucher.edu/title-ix/

ACE (Academic Center for Excellence) https://www.goucher.edu/learn/academic-support-and-resources/ace/request-an-appointment ACE provides self care sessions that include Sleep-Based meditation known as Yoga Nidra that supports the immune system and helps with restoring the mindbody and improves memory and retention.  Academic Coaching sessions with Peejo Sehr are centered around mind/body practices that address academic success from a holistic wellness lens. ACE offers holistic Academic Support and is not a mental health support provider. Our programs are focused primarily on stress management to support academic learning.

For more info: https://www.goucher.edu/learn/academic-support-and-resources/ace/

Julia Rogers Building, room 233
First Year Mentors First Year Mentors receive training about the transition to college and how that transition can impact mental health. In training, First Year Mentors talk in general about different situations involving mental health and how to refer students to the proper resources. Mentors help their group of first year students in their transition to college, and students can contact their First Year Mentor if they would like help figuring out where to go next.

Groups for students

RIO (Recognition, Insight, Openness) Tim Moslener (Counselor)

tim.moslener@goucher.edu

RIO stands for Recognition, Insight, Openness. The psychoeducation-based group is built around skill development and actively engaging in self-Reflection and learning. There are multiple sessions over the course of the semester, so there is always one about to open up again. Contact Tim Moslener for more information.
Meditation Group The Meditation Group meets weekly in the Chapel Undercroft, an excellent opportunity to learn and practice meditation. Chapel Undercroft
Student Bereavement Group Cynthia Terry

cynthia.terry@goucher.edu

Each semester, Cynthia Terry offers a Bereavement Group for students who are dealing with the loss of someone important to them. Chapel Undercroft

Events

Fresh Check Day Occurring in the fall semester, Fresh Check is a resources and activities fair with the goal of improving mental health through raising awareness of mental health challenges and providing resources with which to tackle those challenges. The event was developed and is supported by the JED Foundation, a national non-profit that works to promote emotional well-being and reduce the risk of suicide and serious substance abuse among young people.
Happiness Hunt Occurring in the spring semester, the Happiness Hunt is a multi-day campus wide group scavenger hunt involving the various offices associated with mental health resources.
Restore the Night Restore the Night is a weeklong campaign of events and workshops that intend to raise awareness, create a sense of solidarity, and ultimately work to put an end to sexual and gender-based violence. Past campaigns have included a resource fair, a masculinity workshop, an activism teach-in called “Know your Title IX,” and the creation of a zine featuring the voices of survivors.
Relaxation Stations The Office of Student Engagement (OSE) sponsors Relaxation Stations during finals week. The goal of Relaxation Stations is to offer some stress reduction activities during finals each semester as we know this is a high stress time.

Other

Kognito A self-directed avatar-based online training with specific tracks for students, faculty and staff. The training uses role play simulations of conversations to have participants try different approaches that they might use in real life and get feedback on those approaches. Made free to Maryland colleges through a statewide grant, the training is available to any interested student, faculty, or staff member at http://kognito.com/maryland. Peer Listeners and Resident Assistants have already completed the training.
Charm City Stories Intercollegiate Literary Journal for Mental and Physical Health On Friday, April 6th, Charm City Stories, Baltimore’s first student literary and art magazine of mental and physical health, released its first publication. Several Goucher students were published in the journal. The current team of Charm City Stories editors, consisting entirely of JHU students, hopes to have more students from other schools involved in editing the publication in future years. To read the publication online, visit charmcitystories.com. If you’re interested in applying for an editor position for next year, click here to fill out an application form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeV8pkhuw70NKOcwf_rL-jcQe-CIFfAuf3sSIrOTzwAHm_TZA/viewform
Commuter Student Lounge The lounge is open to commuter students to hang out and relax. Ath 147
Groups that have existed in the past Student Health Advisory Committee (SHAC): planned events, and tabled around issues such as eating disorders, sleep, and suicide prevention.

Mediation Group: Students were trained in mediation

Other student groups that may provide spaces to destress Outdoor club, Climbing Club (rock climbing), Cooking Club
 Resource Sheet Compiled by Neve Levinson and Madeline St. John

Featured Image from OneClass 

Study Abroad Requirement on Probationary Review

by

It’s a blindingly sunny Wednesday afternoon as trails of faculty members emerge from the academic buildings and dart across the quad toward Dorsey Center. They head toward the faculty meeting, which is dotted with students as the faculty members enter Merrick and find their seats. Included in the numerous items on the agenda for the hour and fifteen minute meeting is an update from the ad hoc Study Abroad Committee, which has done work throughout this year to review the study abroad requirement at Goucher.

Daniel Marcus, Nyasha Grayman-Simpson, and Brandon Arvesen took the floor to share their preliminary review, which focused on three factors: finances, recruitment, and learning objectives. This is the second year of a three-year faculty-initiated probationary review of the study abroad requirement. The committee explained that this is the first time anyone has started to do an extensive review of Goucher’s study abroad program, and that the committee could only provide a preliminary report for the time being.

Suggested entry/exit survey questions. Credit: Study Abroad Ad Hoc Committee

In 2006, Goucher College’s tenth president, Sandy J. Ungar, implemented the requirement for all undergraduate students to study abroad. This requirement came with a $1,200 voucher to cover extraneous travel costs and make up for income students would otherwise be making while living and working on campus. While the voucher existed for nearly a decade, it was removed in 2016. Now, many students cite finances as an obstacle involved with study abroad. As Eliezer Cartenega ‘18 (Argentina, Spring, 2017) said, “Study abroad was very stressful. And I felt like that stress detracted from the experience because I was so worried about my money situation.” The committee noted that the financial component is a significant part of the discussion, and that this element of the review was currently inconclusive, as it required an extended time frame.

Even with its complications, study abroad continues to attract prospective students. The committee referenced entry and exit reviews completed by 290 students in 2014 who said study abroad was a very important reason they chose Goucher. Anne Werkheiser ‘18 (Seville, Spain, Fall 2016) said, “ I work in admissions and talking about study abroad is always the best part of my tour; it’s really what draws students in and makes Goucher stand out.” The committee points out that the requirement may both attract and deter prospective students. Data collected from Goucher’s 2014 Admitted Students Survey found that 56.71% of Fall 2014 admitted students ranked study abroad as “very important” in their decision to attend Goucher; while 18.37% ranked study abroad as “very important” in their decision not to attend Goucher.

Students speak of how study abroad impacts Goucher. Kalee LaPointe ‘19 (Athens, Greece, Fall 2017) said, “ There’s just this sort of feeling you get when you talk to other students at Goucher about study abroad that is completely missing when I talk to students from other colleges.” Sarah Zaukus ‘18 (University of Roehampton, UK, Fall 2017) said, “I also feel like study abroad at Goucher is like a rite of passage, which in my opinion is really cool.” Further, Madison Hernandez ‘19 (SIT Uganda) said, “…one of the main reasons that I came here was because I didn’t have to choose between being an athlete and studying abroad…I knew that it would be extremely difficult for me to convince any coach to let me go abroad for an entire semester. However, when I toured here I realized that I could have both since whatever coach I had could not stop me from going abroad if it was a requirement for my major. “

Rather than detracting from the various other commitments student make on campus, the committee found that a majority of the major program chairs reported that study abroad served to enhance their major’s learning objectives. Regarding learning objectives, students connect study abroad to personal, academic, and professional development. On the personal level, Marina Lant ‘18 (Hansard Scholars Program, London, Spring 2016) said, “Not only did my time abroad challenge me to think about myself and my experiences in a completely different context, but it forced me to reevaluate my world view and think about the reverberations of all my actions.” Academically, Jess Solomon ‘18 (La Trobe University Melbourne, Spring 2017) said, “ It was 100000% beneficial to my Major, because I was able to take classes that I did not have any access to in Maryland.” Finally, regarding professional development, Rachel Grosso ‘18 (DIS – Copenhagen, Fall 2016) said, “I can definitively pinpoint my semester abroad as a turning point in my life; I’ve projected into the industry and career I’m pursuing as a direct outcome of my time in Denmark.” Further, Jonathan Davies ‘18 (University of Oxford, Spring 2017) said, “ I think if the school is set out to prepare students for the jobs that are yet to be created, then a crucial component, in my opinion, is this globally minded individual and that comes from the study abroad component.”

In the PCE 220 Organizing report, 16.4% of respondents cited study abroad as an area where significant gaps exist between expectations and experience. Meanwhile, 21.6% reported a desire to see further resources allocated to study abroad. Anne Werkheiser ‘18 suggested, “For example, there needs to be a more open and honest conversation about issues of race, sexual orientation, gender identity, etc; students may be blindsided by attitudes in certain areas.”

Since the ad hoc committee will officially disband at the end of the semester, they completed their preliminary report with recommendations for further review of study abroad. Their call for further review included internal and external reviews of the Office of International Studies, and a long-term financial report. At this point it is yet to be decided if another ad hoc committee will form to complete the third year of the probationary review, or if the review components will be delegated to a variety of Goucher stakeholders, as the current ad hoc committee has suggested. Regardless of this decision, the faculty will meet again in Spring 2019 at the end of the probationary period to vote on whether the current study abroad requirement will be renewed. Marina Lant ‘18 said, “It [study abroad] represents Goucher’s commitment to international learning and understanding your own context in the world and your more immediate environment. Even with all its flaws, I am proud of Goucher’s study abroad program. Taking away the requirement is a mistake.”

Featured Image: https://thechoice.blogs.nytimes.com/category/study-abroad/

 

Goucher Identity Survey and the Process Behind It

by

The purpose of Peace Studies 220 is to study the nature of organizing for social change. Throughout the class, we examined social movements, identifying a movement’s origin story, structure, strategies, how to keep the movement sustainable, and also how to assess the impact of a social movement. We studied organizing tactics on the left and the right, including a field trip to seeing Bread and Puppet Theater, a theatrical, transgressive mode of resistance. Each person in this class came from a different background and expectation of the class, but the one commonality among us was the motivation to learn how to mobilize for social change.

One of the course requirements is a practicum to apply what we learned. We had the option between two routes for the practicum: to individually join an already existing movement in Baltimore and learn by attending meetings and actions, or to work together as a class and create our own mobilization force among us. After debate and deliberation, from which Professor Seble was often absent from the room, the majority of our class chose to organize as a collective. Overall our class felt it would be too much of a lost opportunity of growth as organizers and activists if we did not organize together on the college campus where we all have a sphere of influence.

The second part of this decision was deciding what we wanted to do at Goucher. Our initial brainstorms included ideas regarding environmental sustainability, accessibility for people with disabilities, Facilities Management Services, and Bon Appetit workers issues. All of these fit under the umbrella of another idea one of our classmates came up with, and that is the issue of how Goucher spends its money. We identified this issue to be the nexus of all further questions regarding the extent to which we commit to environmental sustainability, our workers, or accessibility. This question of Goucher’s resources and spending, we also felt, was an interesting one in the midst of our physically (but also maybe emotionally) massive and obstructive construction projects.

Once we agreed to this topic, more and more questions arose. Who makes the decisions? Why don’t students stay at Goucher? What even is Goucher’s identity as a school? What does our budget look like? And why don’t we know the answers to these questions? If we didn’t know the answers to these questions, did other Goucher students?

These led to more questions about the Undaunted campaign’s intention for the future of our campus, and our collective stake in this institution’s future. So, we banded together to answer questions about Goucher’s identity, which seemed to be in contention as different student groups have felt slighted or unheard. Our organizing involved research, in which we conducted interviews with several administrators and one board member to learn about Goucher’s Capital and Operating Budget, about Board meetings, and about our retention rate. We created the student survey that circulated around campus, yielding the incredible number of 255 responses, a 17.2% response rate. Our objectives as a group were to gauge student experience, educate the student body on Goucher’s budget, and to catalyze community-wide dialogue. The survey was a way of collecting data from Goucher’s student population about their expectations of Goucher versus their reality and locating sources of these discrepancies, and about student perceptions of Goucher’s identity as a school and how our spending as an institution aligns with this vision.

Our community talk-back was Wednesday, May 9th during Common Hour in the Welsh Piano Room, a public space accessible by all members of the Goucher Community (see Open Letter on pg. 14). Additionally, we took the information we gathered from our student body and provided it to the Board of Trustees by handing out leaflets to them during their May meeting.
Our hope is that the information passed on from the student body to the Board inspires questions and topics of discussion for Board members, and injects our student voices into the conversations of the most crucial decision making body of Goucher College. We know that we could not tackle this issue alone within just a semester, but we joined the student body in hopes that we might inform our peers and empower them to further advocate for their interests.

RACHEL LUCE ON BEHALF OF PEACE STUDIES 220

Featured Image: Goucher Identity Survey Results. Credit: Peace Studies 220

Political Science Capstone Investigates Ideological Diversity at Goucher

by

The Goucher Political Science Capstone has spent the entire semester focusing on issues of college campus ideological diversity, campus speaker protests, and the overarching issues of free speech on campus. We examined this issue because of the importance institutions of higher education have in American life, as well as the growing political and cultural dissatisfaction with academia, particularly on the right. According to a Pew poll conducted in June 2017, 58% of Republican leaning Independents say colleges and universities are having a negative effect on the way things are going in the country, a 21-percentage point increase in this attitude from the same group two years prior. This development may suggest that funding for higher learning could very well become a political football in our polarized electorate—if it is not already.
The first half of the semester was spent trying to understand if this so-called “campus free speech crisis” even existed and if so, what its roots were and what could or should be done to address it.

We looked into issues of faculty ideology across the country: The professoriate is about 30 percentage points more liberal than the rest of the country—about 19 percentage points more liberal than it was in 1990. We examined campus speaker protests: According to FIRE’s (Foundation for Individual Rights in Education) campus speaker protest database, there have been 368 instances of campus speaker protests across the country since 2000, at public, private-religious, and private-secular institutions alike. Of these instances, 31% have been from the right side of the ideological spectrum and 69% have been from the left. This dynamic of protest from the left has become more pronounced in recent years—since 2014 there have been 121 instances of speaker protest, 18% of which have been from the right and 82% of which have been from the left. Of the 121 total instances of speaker protest since 2014, 45% have resulted in the dis-invitation of the speaker. In short: Protests of speakers on campus are rapidly becoming more frequent, they are being conducted in large part by students on the left, and nearly half of the time, colleges are rewarding these protests with the dis-invitation of the speaker.

Data collected regarding perception of faculty ideology. Credit: Political Science Capstone

We debated, at great length, the meaning of these statistics and actions, their validity, what consequences there should be for them, and Goucher’s place in this story. Implicit in someone’s understanding of freedom of speech at the university is their conception of what the purpose of the university itself is. Generally speaking, people fell into two camps on this matter: Either the fundamental purpose of the university is to pursue truth through questioning and learning at the risk of offending others, or the fundamental purpose is to more or less create an open community where risk of offense to all groups is mitigated at the expense of open expression for all groups. There was also a middle ground on this issue, where people found themselves agreeing with portions of both purposes of the university—a tricky stance to hold once concrete policy details are considered.

 

The second section of the class was built around assessing the Goucher community’s attitudes on these topics. We sought to address questions like: What is the ideological breakdown of the student body? How do students perceive the ideological orientations of their professors? What would student’s reactions be to a controversial speaker coming here? These were only some of the dozens of questions we wanted empirically supported answers to. To achieve this, we designed a survey and focus group protocol over the course of several weeks, sent the survey to the field and subsequently carried out our focus groups, and then analyzed our results. We procured some very interesting results, however, the most important findings (from my perspective, I do not speak for the class—we will have an executive report detailing our findings) are in part, what wasn’t there—conservative viewpoints.

The survey, which was sent out to every single student email on campus, was completed by 257 students; a representative sample large enough to make statistically significant statements about the campus population. Of those 257 students, 3% identified as conservative, 22% identified as moderate, and 60% identified as progressive or liberal. This is not only a low number of conservatives compared to the country’s general population, but it is so small as to make it impossible to make any generalizable statements about the group. To remedy this, in our analysis we had to combine conservatives and moderates into a single category to compare against progressives/liberals. The combination of conservatives and moderates has significant implications for analysis because we do not know what someone means when they self-identify as a moderate—whether they consider themselves center-left, center-right, or legitimately middle of the road—and comparisons between these two groupings (conservatives/moderates and progressives/liberals) should be looked at with that caveat in mind. However, even noting this, the largest differences of opinion in our results were still between ideological groups, rather than between other factors such as race, gender, age, religiosity, etc.

Many of our questions yielded little difference in opinion, but several highlighted distinct differences among students of differing ideology. When asked to pick between two options of “Which it was most important for colleges to do” either “(1) create a positive learning environment for all students by prohibiting certain speech or expression of viewpoints that are offensive or biased against certain groups of people” or “(2) create an open learning environment, where students are exposed to all types of speech and viewpoints, even if it means allowing speech that is offensive or biased against certain groups of people?” the majority of respondents (60%) chose the second, more free expression oriented option, but a sizeable minority (25%) chose the first. Among ideological groups, 77% of moderates/conservatives chose the second statement (9% chose the first) as opposed to liberals/progressives, of whom 53% chose the second statement and 29% chose the first.

When asked if “Students in your classes are willing to share and discuss different ideas and beliefs,” nearly a quarter of respondents disagreed with this assertion, and when broken down by ideology, conservatives/moderates disagreed at an even higher rate of 36%, while only 20% of liberals/progressives disagreed. Additionally, when asked to agree or disagree with the statement “Students should be allowed to express their opinions in class, even if those opinions are offensive to other students” 27% of students disagreed—22% of conservatives/moderates and 31% of progressives/liberals doing so.

Students also answered questions pertaining to what they perceived the ideological makeup of Goucher’s faculty to be. When asked to think about the personal politics of the Goucher faculty they have interacted with and whether they were conservative, moderate, or liberal, 97% of students of all ideologies said that “a third or less” were conservative, 73% said that “a third or less were moderate”, and nearly half said that “two thirds” were liberal (see chart to the right). Despite this ideologically monolithic perception of Goucher faculty, students are still more likely to conceal their particular political viewpoints from peers out of fear of consequences than they are to conceal them from faculty and administration—33 percent of respondents noted concealing political opinions from peers, while only 15 percent concealed opinions from faculty.

These numbers suggest a narrative that Goucher College could consider both a warning sign and an opportunity. Conservative students are in a tiny minority on this campus, likely less than 5% of the population; many students of any political persuasion have concealed their political opinions due to fear of repercussions from peers; and the entire student body agrees that the faculty are composed of not only less than 5% conservatives but are at least somewhere between 60-80% liberal.

Additionally, out of the 63 students that answered our open-end question concerning other “thoughts, comments, or perspectives” they had on viewpoint diversity, free speech, and campus speakers, 16 specifically noted a desire for more diversity of opinion on campus, while 10 specifically noted groups or individuals they did not support having at campus under any circumstances (all traditionally associated with the right, perceived or actually), and most everyone else was conflicted. This suggests that Goucher has an opportunity to teach students how to grapple with unorthodox opinions, and in fact many of these students are not only willing to learn about diverse viewpoints, but some are even requesting such an introduction. Nearly a quarter of respondents noted that they were “not aware of Goucher’s policies” concerning free speech—this could be a good place for the administration to start.

Dr. La Jerne Cornish Leaves Behind a Legacy

by

This year, the Goucher community must sadly say farewell to our Associate Provost of Undergraduate Studies, Dr. La Jerne Cornish, as she moves onward to her new position as Provost and Senior Vice President of Educational Affairs at Ithaca College. Dr. Cornish first came to Goucher as an undergraduate in 1979, and will leave behind a legacy of strength, integrity, and quality education.
The Quindecim spoke with Dr. La Jerne Cornish about her time here at Goucher College, what she will miss most about the community, and how she has seen the institution change and grow. The following interview has been lightly edited for clarity.

Q: What was the most rewarding aspect of working in the Goucher community?

Dr. Cornish: I adore the students. I love my colleagues. I have wonderful relationships with faculty and staff, but the highlight of my day, every day, is my relationships with the students.

Q: Do you have a favorite student story that’s particularly meaningful to you?

Dr. Cornish: Early on, there was a student who was a history major with a concentration in secondary education, and he was constantly getting in trouble for making poor decisions. I pulled him into my office one day, and he was about six feet tall, much taller than I. I looked at him and I said to him, “You are so much better than this, and it is time for you to start making informed decisions, and it’s time for you to start handling your business. Because if you don’t, things are not going to turn out the way you’d like them to turn out.” Fast forward 20 years and this young man is a history teacher par excellence. In a few years, he reached out and got in touch with me as he was coming through Baltimore. We went out and got lunch together, and I know that I made a difference in his life.  Things like that matter to me.
A few years ago, I took another student to South Africa on my ICA, and he was really struggling here and did not feel worthy. He did not feel like school was for him, or that he could make it. We went to South Africa and had this amazing experience. He taught math and English to students in middle grades (5,6,7) and found himself. He recognized the agency that he has. He too is a teacher today and is doing just great work.
Last story–a [Communications] major was graduating and did not know where to go to graduate school, and received an offer from Northwestern, which is a top com school. I was going to a conference in Chicago to present a paper, and I said, “you know what? Come with me. I’ll take you to Northwestern, and we’ll go look at it.” She flew out with me, I did my conference, and then we toured the school. Today this student is a well-regarded reporter for the New York Times. I’ve had a chance to really make a difference in the lives of our students.

Q: What about your South Africa ICA will you miss the most?
Dr. Cornish: Well, truth be told, I am going to talk with the folks in the Ed department at Ithaca to see if they can partner with Goucher, and if we can have an Ithaca/Goucher partnership, so that my ICA can continue with students from both schools.

Q: Can you tell me a little bit about your background after graduating from your undergrad at Goucher, and how you’ve seen Baltimore change as your home city over the past few decades?
Dr. Cornish: I started teaching in the Baltimore City public school system, so that was my first career. I was a teacher and an administrator in the school system that educated me. I received a quality education there, and the people with whom I worked were stellar teachers in the classroom. Over the years, I’ve seen our school system decline, because we had this period where people were going into teaching who weren’t certified to teach. They were taking alternative routes to education and sometimes that works. However, schools that need the most ability also need teachers who know how to teach, who are in this for the long haul, and not for the short term. That is one of the things that I’ve seen in the time that I’ve been here, is the school system struggle. Even as it gets smaller, we still have schools that are very successful and some schools that are under-performing horribly, and I struggle with that. What can we who are in the teacher/education business, if I could use that term, do to provide more quality teachers for Baltimore City public schools, and to make it a place where people want to work? Often people are afraid to work in the city, so how do we combat those negative stereotypes about the system and the city in particular?

Q: How do you see Goucher’s larger role in that environment?
Dr. Cornish: Goucher has always had a social justice focus, mission, understanding, and commitment, so we have been very active in the schools, through community based learning and through our education department. We have three or four professional development schools within the Baltimore City public school system and we are committed to doing that work.

Q: What do you think you’ll miss the most professionally about working at Goucher?
Dr. Cornish: I loved this position most of all, the one that I currently have. I really enjoyed being the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Studies. It gave me a chance to support my colleagues on the faculty and staff. It gave me an opportunity to work with colleagues across different divisions of the college. It gave me the opportunity to be a student advocate, and that’s what I love most of all. Students knew if they needed help that they should come here. I appreciated the fact that they trusted me with their joys, with their sorrows, with their disappointments, and with their challenges. I got a chance to bring all of me to this position, and so that’s what I’m going to miss here, but also what I look forward to doing at Ithaca.

Q: Do you have any favorite Goucher events?
Dr. Cornish: I love new student convocation, because we are welcoming new students into the academy and we get a chance for them to see our traditions. That’s a new tradition that started with President Bowen. I love Get Into Goucher, well, some parts of it (laughs). If I’m being honest, there were other parts of it where I was worried about students making informed decisions, so I would always say to my students on GIG, “I need you to watch out for one another. I need you to make informed decisions and if someone’s doing something to excess, I need you to look out for your peer and just make sure everybody stays safe.” I love Baccalaureate and I love Convocation. I love to see our students celebrated for the honors they’ve achieved each spring.

Q: How does that feel, watching students that you’ve built relationships with for 4+ years graduate?
Dr. Cornish: I gave birth to one child, but I’ve had the opportunity to be a role model, and a mother figure, for many students, hundreds of students. I am as proud of them as they leave here as I will be of my own child when he graduates from here on May 25th.

Q: Considering how many students you have helped and guided throughout their time here, what would you say to the students currently leaving their undergraduate careers here?
Dr. Cornish: Continue to believe in yourself. When you are struggling, seek help at the moment of the struggle. Don’t wait until it’s too late, or until you feel it’s too late. Continue to strive and to do great work. Continue to make a difference in the world, because that’s what Goucher students do. They make a difference in the world. Continue to question what you see, and continue to challenge that what you think is wrong. Continue to believe that the education you’ve received here will indeed enable you to embody and live up to the Goucher motto, which is “Prove all things and hold fast that which is good.” That would be my message.

Q: What is the biggest change that you’ve seen in the community and institution in your time as Associate Provost?
Dr. Cornish: The positive change is curricular and co-curricular people working together. You know, one used to talk about the academic side of the house and the student affairs side of the house. Over the last few years we have been focused on having one house, and how these sides can come together to support our students in all ways. To me that’s the biggest positive change that I’ve seen.

Q: How do you see that moving forward after your time here?
Dr. Cornish: I think that we need to continue to collaborate across divisions and to seize opportunities for collaborative work. As you may know, OIS is moving over here (Van Meter), so having OIS, CEO, and CBL within the academic building, creates this synergy where it makes sense for us to work together curricularly and co curricularly to help our students achieve success.

Q: What is the biggest obstacle you’ve seen the college overcome in your time here?
Dr. Cornish: We’re still working on retention, and that’s everybody’s job. It doesn’t belong to just one person, it belongs to all of us. How do we make sure that one student who enters Goucher in the freshman year, graduates from Goucher four years later? That’s our challenge. It’s one that I think we can meet, but it’s going to take all of us to meet it.

Dr. Cornish’s South Africa ICA is one tradition from her work at Goucher that she hopes to continue, and her program there has unquestionably had an impact on the students that she has taken. Alumni Chris Riley remembers his relationship with La Jerne, and the ICA he went on in 2013 as transformative. Chris said that, “Before the ICA, like many others, I thought I knew what South Africa was like. While there we were teaching reading and writing to students, I remember a specific evening while at dinner, one of the Goucher students brought up the differences in what we hold as values between their culture and ours. Through that dinner we had some of the most engaging conversations I’ve been a part of. La Jerne was there at dinner with us, asking about our perceptions and thoughts on how values and cultures differ. She steered and engaged in the conversation with all of us. It is because of this specific conversation that my views of education around the world changed completely. Because of Dr. Cornish, and the trip she lead, I have become a better, more aware person. I can say without a doubt that, like many others, Dr. Cornish has changed my life for the better.”

Dr. La Jerne Cornish has changed and touched many a student’s life for the better during her time here, and she will be missed greatly. As one of the first women of color at a predominately white school, Dr. La Jerne has been crucial to forming a sense of community for people of color on campus. Senior Amielia Gilbert said that, “Dr. Cornish has made a positive impact on my Goucher experience. Academically, she has helped guide me in the right direction as far as my major and minor and in finding my niche. Her presence and dinners at her house made people of color on this campus feel very welcomed and loved. Coming in as a freshman, not knowing anyone, the upperclassmen people of color who knew La Jerne connected with us and helped us form a big happy family. She will be missed.”

Photo Credit: Dr. La Jerne Cornish. Photo Credit: goucher.edu

1 2 3 5
Go to Top