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Dr. La Jerne Cornish Leaves Behind a Legacy

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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

Students Dive into Goucher’s Budget and Identity

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For the past semester the Peace Studies 220 (PCE 220) class has been learning about different historical and current approaches and methods of social movements and activism. For the fieldwork component of this class students needed to choose an issue or organization at or near Goucher to immerse themselves in in order to apply what they have learned to the real world. They identified important issues in the Goucher community and chose to immerse themselves and address these issues.

PCE 220 students want to “bridge the disconnect,” as one student put it, between Goucher’s administration and current student body. While they avoided talking on behalf of other students, many students in PCE 220 said that they sense general discontent in the student body currently. They said that some of this may be due to the fact that Goucher markets itself in an accurate way. They also want to address information gap about Goucher’s budget, and provide students with their research on how it works. They are also trying to learn about the decision making process at Goucher and our Board of Trustees. Students pointed out that before this project many of them did not have any knowledge about these issues but that as they looked into them more they became more curious and began to care more.

Through researching Goucher’s tax forms (9-90 forms) the students gathered information about the budget and by creating and releasing a student survey (which went live April 25) they hope to gather data about students’ opinions about Goucher’s identity and whether we are actually the school we are marketed as. After they analyze data from their survey the students of PCE 220 plan on having two open dialogues to discuss their findings with the wider Goucher community.

Several students in the class emphasized that they are not trying to incite anger in the student body or criticize the administration. Their main objective is to share information and create conversation. They feel that sharing this information will benefit students by allowing us to have an informed opinion of how our school is run. Many students in the class said that they think that the administration will benefit from their work as well, especially from the data they will gather from the student survey about Goucher’s identity.

PCE 220 has been very thorough in their research. They read from Nathan D. Grawe’s book Demographics and the Demand for Higher Education which examines the issues of liberal arts colleges financial sustainability on a national scale. With the guidance of a former Goucher finance employee they studied Goucher’s 9-90 tax forms of the 2012 through 2016 fiscal years. They sought out the help of statisticians when crafting their student survey. In the week after my interview with them they had made plans to  speak with a Goucher staff member about Goucher’s retention rate and exit data. They were also planning on speaking with someone who sits on Goucher’s Board of Trustees to talk about the decision making process at Goucher.

When asked about Goucher’s transparency, the students of PCE 200 had different opinions. The students agreed that the staff and faculty they reached out to were very responsive and helpful. One student said, “Goucher does do a phenomenal job as far as producing their tax forms to the general public.” Another student said, “Legally we [Goucher] have to share that information [tax forms]” and pointed out that while Goucher’s tax forms are available their contents are not accessible to most people who do not know how to decipher them. Another student said, “Goucher could be a lot more transparent but students have not demanded this.”

The students of PCE 220 are shedding a light on the budget which is a topic that is not in the forefront of most student’s concerns and is not an issue students have time to look into for themselves. The student survey will also reveal data about current student opinions and perceptions.

Below is a summary of Goucher’s budget made by the PCE 220 students.

Goucher Budget 101

Goucher College has two types of budgets (an amount of money that goes toward paying for specific types of expenses)

The Capital Budget is money that goes toward paying for fixed assets (resources that will last more than 5 years such as buildings and vehicles)

Capital Budget Sources of Revenue (Where the money comes from):

Debt (like a mortgage), Donations/Campaigns (like the Undaunted Campaign)

The Operating Budget is money that goes toward paying for everything else (such as salaries, materials, uniforms, debt repayment, and other ongoing expenses)

Operating Budget Sources of Revenue: Tuition, Housing/Dining

Expenses, Endowment (invested money that has been donated), and Grants.

*73% of the operating budget comes from tuition and room and board expenses.

Source: a presentation to our class on Goucher’s finances by a former Goucher finance employee.

Cecile Adrian

No Long-term Mental Health Treatment On Campus

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On Campus Counseling Services Are Unable to Support Students with Long-term Mental Health Concerns

Last semester, Olivia Robertson, ’19, was having trouble sleeping and, as she put it, “things weren’t going well” with her mental health. She couldn’t remember the details of her appointment with the counseling center because it was “a hazy, emotional time,” but she remembered being told that by the center that they couldn’t help her because her situation sounded like a more serious, long term issue. She recalled a counselor telling her something like “we don’t think that we can really treat you here.”

Goucher’s counseling center, like almost all college counseling centers, operates on a short term treatment model, which ranges from 8-12 sessions. There is no “hard” limit on sessions, and they often see students for the duration of a semester, but they do typically recommend that students with needs for specialized services and/or persistent counseling, seek services off-campus. The center is only open ten months out of the year and it doesn’t have the capacity to serve students with long term or specialized needs.

A high percentage of Goucher students suffer from mental health conditions that are more long term and serious than coming-to-college anxiety or anything that a few trips to the counseling center might fix. According to the 2016-17 Healthy Minds Study, 14% of Goucher students screened positive for severe anxiety and 20% for major depression, 15% reported suicidal ideation, and 38% reported self-injury. 38% of Goucher’s undergraduate population means about 560 students.

Nationwide, mental health demands in institutions of higher education are increasing, and it is typical for students to come in for one or two counseling sessions. However, it is less typical at the national level for students to come in for more than ten sessions. In contrast, at Goucher many students use the counseling center for the length of a semester, and others are in need of even more prolonged services. “Pragmatically, I just don’t know that there’s a way we can manage that,” said Monica Neel, the Director of Counseling Services.

The counselors at the center are also “generalists,” Neel explained. “We need to be able to treat anything that walks in the door,” she said. For students with long term or more serious mental health concerns, it is important that they have access to more specialized care.

When students are advised to go off-campus, however, they might not seek services elsewhere. Through a Google search, Robertson found a therapist that she consulted with for a while, but she didn’t follow up with the off-campus resource list provided by the counseling center.

Robertson was also discouraged by the services she did receive from the center. They provided her with a list of local service providers and asked her to fill out a plan for suicide prevention. “[It was] a very DIY [Do-it-Yourself] kind of sheet, like ‘instead of trying to kill myself, I’ll call my mom,’ which is not…super useful? It was just a lot of information that I could’ve just googled…It serves the purpose but is not the same level of usefulness as actually having counseling available.”

Robertson didn’t schedule a follow-up on-campus appointment, and she hasn’t returned to the Goucher counseling center since. “I think it was discouraging because they were sort of saying that there weren’t really the resources here to treat me, and I guess I would extend that to say probably any real sort of mental health issues, compared to like, short-term, adjusting to college issues,” she said. And she’s right. The counseling center isn’t able to treat students with severe or serious mental health issues. Like almost all campus counseling centers nationwide, they must operate on a short-term model.

The counseling center is “tremendously well-staffed for a school our size,” according to Monica Neel. The nationally recommended number of counselors is 1 per 1400 students enrolled, and at Goucher there are 3.5 staff for an undergraduate student body of 1,473.

The counseling center is reaching maximum capacity simply because so many students need and use the center’s services. In the past school year, the counseling center completed 354 individual intakes and there were 97 crisis walk-in sessions, for average of three a week.

This semester, the counseling center did not reach a wait list level, but it has had one for the past three semesters. The counselors do their best to manage it; the average wait time is 7-12 days. The counselors assess students over the phone for safety before putting them on the wait list. While there is an assessment of immediate need made within 1-3 days of a request for an appointment, simply knowing that there is a wait list can discourage students from seeking on-campus help. “It’s unacceptable,” said Olivia Siegel, ’18, who works as a Resident Assistant and Peer Mentor. “No student should ever have to wait to speak with a mental health profession in person.”

This wait list may also soon improve with the new counseling center space in Mary Fisher. However, even with the new larger facilities, increased counseling staff, and longer clinical hours, the on-campus counseling center won’t be able to treat students with long term or specialized mental health concerns.

The counseling center hopes the short term restrictions will not deter students from at least making an appointment and completing an intake form. In situations in which counselors recommend off-campus resources, they typically provide a minimum of three clinicians, taking into consideration the student’s clinical needs, transportation situation, and insurance type.

There are also additional resources available like the after-hours mental health hotline that provides phone support by licensed clinicians. “They are there for students who need some support, and it can be something more benign all the way up to suicidal ideation,” said Monica Neel. These clinicians are familiar with Goucher and Goucher’s campus. They have a map of campus and can provide students with information on where to go to get help. Goucher also has a communication agreement with St. Joe’s Medical Center to ensure a smoother process if students need to be hospitalized.

Alexandra Graves and Cameron Cox are Goucher’s case managers, and they can collaborate with students to create individualized plans of support.

Faculty have some basic training in mental health through the counseling center, and Residential Life and Public Safety staff complete their own training.

Goucher also offers access to psychiatry, through health services, although it is limited. The psychiatrist is only on campus six hours a week.

Other on-campus resources that may be helpful for students include Peer Listeners, the Student Bereavement Group, the Academic Center for Excellence (ACE), the Center for Race, Equity, and Identity (CREI), and the Office of Accessibility Services.

Addendum: [This information was published in a earlier article but it was deemed beneficial to include it on the same page on the website to create a more holistic picture of mental health services at Goucher]

Many Goucher students are taking action regarding their mental health, and those that use the counseling services generally have positive things to say. According to internal statistics, in 2016-2017, the Goucher counseling services completed intakes with 354 individuals, which is roughly 25% of the student body. 1,349 individual counseling sessions occurred, and there were 97 crisis walk-in sessions, for an average of three a week while classes were in session. Of the 2017 graduating class, 45% of graduating seniors used counseling services at some point during their enrollment at Goucher.

“I’ve personally had a really good experience with counseling center,” said Monthie. “They technically say that they do have a policy you’re not supposed to go back-to-back semesters but I’ve done it. You just fill out a new form.” Director of Counseling Services Monica Neel confirms that there is no hard limit to the number of sessions that students can have, although the center does operate from a short-term treatment model.

In the Healthy Minds Study, students also reported high satisfaction with the counseling services. 87% of students reported having knowledge of mental health services on campus, 37% thought counseling was “very helpful” for mental health, compared to a national average of 31%. Student satisfaction with hours, scheduling and quality of therapists at the campus counseling center was all in the high 80% range.

The stigma surrounding mental health and mental health services is also relatively low at Goucher. In the Healthy Minds Study, only 38% of students reported perceived stigma, considerably less than the 47% nationally, and only 4% of students reported that they would think less of someone who received mental health treatment, compared with 6% nationally. “[At Goucher,] it’s pretty accepted to take a mental health day,” said Adina Karten, ’18.

Correction: An earlier version of this article included the phrase “turn away” which does not accurately represent the services provided by the Goucher counseling center.

Teach For America Faces Cuts Under Trump Administration

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Teach For America provides opportunities for both limited income students and recent college graduates. Photo Credit: teachforamerica.org

Teach for America (TFA) has served underprivileged American children for 27 years, and has helped to improve the education of millions of kids, from Louisiana to Idaho, and now faces issues such as budget cuts and teaching grants repurposed as loans. A fair number of Goucher alumni join the program, with six Goucher alumni joining the 2017 corps, as Madeline St. John reported for the Quindecim this past year. The Trump administration’s proposed budget for the 2019 fiscal year has all but eradicated federal funding for the program. Additionally, at least 12,000 TFA teachers have had their grants turned into loans they are now required to pay back by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Department of Education (DOE), according to a recent government study reported by NPR.

One of the draws of working for TFA to many aspiring undergraduates and soon to be graduates is the grants offered in return. More specifically, the Department of Education’s Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) grants, which are $4,000 a year, and come with requirements that teachers must meet. Teachers are required to teach a subject, such as math or science, in a low-income school for at least four years, and must submit paperwork annually to remain certified for the grant. If a teacher fails to meet the qualifications to continue their certification for the grant, it is then turned into a federal loan with interest. This is where TFA has recently experienced issues.

Unsurprisingly, the grants (and then loans) are not actually handled by the Department of Education, but contracted out to a third party called FedLoan. This March, NPR discovered a Department of Education study (both linked to below) that found that 63% of grant recipients failed to continually certify their grants and had them converted to loans. While a significant portion of that 63% was disqualified for legitimate reasons, at least 12,000 teachers are now being forced to repay their grants as loans in full, with interest that began accruing before some were even aware their grants had been converted.

Teachers affected said that they sent in their forms to FedLoan annually for certification, and had met all requirements, only to be told by FedLoan and the federal government that their paperwork was not processed correctly, and that they must repay the new loans in full. In response, lawsuits have been filed by former teachers and the Massachusetts Attorney General, who says the Trump administration DOJ and DOE  has mandated that companies such as FedLoan are not subject to state laws or lawsuits. This means that you now have much less legal protection, or likelihood of a successful lawsuit, if you are a  TFA member who has accepted grants or a hopeful undergraduate applicant to the program in the future, in the case that the Department of Education or FedLoan incorrectly processes your paperwork.

To add to the TFA’s difficulties, the Trump administration’s proposed budget for 2019 does the organization no favors. The proposed FY19 budget cuts DOE funding by $3.6 billion, and includes elimination of funding entirely for the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). This is not a direct cut to the TFA, but does not need to be, as the CNCS runs AmeriCorps. AmeriCorps is important to the functionality of the TFA, as they declared in their response to the budget “…AmeriCorps Education Awards reduce the financial barriers to service, enabling Teach for America and other organizations to provide a route to service for a diverse group of individuals.”

While both of these issues are not either direct conversion of grants to loans or federal budget cuts leveled by Trump directly l at TFA, they hamper the organization’s ability to function, and show a lack of regard for the program’s continuation. Both recent developments additionally paint a worrisome future for TFA. Besides the outrage stories such as grant-loan conversion due to a government agency incorrectly processing paperwork, and budget cuts to federal community service programs may rightfully inspire, they may also dissuade future Goucher applicants from applying to work with TFA.

Perspectives on Pagliaro Selz: The First Building in the First Year Village

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Visualization of one of the new first year buildings, which will include a gas fireplace in the common space. Photo Credit: GOucher College FMS

In the Fall of 2016, Pagliaro Selz Hall opened. This dorm is a first-year only building, and the first of three new buildings that will comprise the first-year village. The intentions behind the first-year village are to create a space for integrative learning, strengthen co-curricular community space, bring faculty back to live on campus, and help to better prepare students for the jobs of the future. This community of first-years is said to be a living-learning environment planned for interaction, with prominent communal areas for students to come together to cook, share, and learn.

“Goucher College’s focus on innovation extends beyond our classrooms and approach to learning and also encompasses student-life. That vision is reflected here in Pagliaro Selz Hall,” said President Bowen.

With this vision in mind, President José Antonio Bowen speaks about how the design features of Pagliaro Selz, the long hallways and distance to the bathrooms, the glass walls of the laundry room, and the increased speed of wifi in common rooms as compared to in rooms, are all measures intended to increase student interaction, prevent isolation, and ultimately increase first-year retention rates. Contrary to this objective, first-year retention rates have actually decreased since the implementation of Pagliaro Selz in the Fall of 2016. In the Fall of 2015, there were 82% returning first-years, 79% returning first years in the Fall of 2016, and 78% returning first years in the Fall of 2017.

Linda Barone, the Associate Director of Planning, Design, and Construction said in an interview, “The first year village [is] so central to Jose’s vision. And I think it really is going to make a huge difference for first year students coming in, in terms of creating community.” She discussed the amenities that will be in the first-year village, such as an outdoor fireplace, a rehearsal space, a gaming lounge, and a student success center.

While the first-year village aims to build community among students and ultimately increase first-year retention rates, student’s experiences with a first-years-only dorm give insight into the effectiveness of a first-year village and if Goucher was successful in its intentions.

The idea of a first-year village, with brand new buildings and facilities can be a major attraction to a prospective student. While touring Goucher, current first-years received mixed information on what their dorm situation would be for the 2017-2018 year. Some were told that the first-year village would be finished by the time they started at Goucher, others were told that all freshman would be living in PSelz, and some were told that P. Selz would only hold some freshman, while the rest would be housed elsewhere while construction of the first-year village continued. The last situation is what this year’s first-years actually got, although not what all freshmen were told when touring Goucher.

When asked about their experiences with living in Pagliaro Selz, first years currently living in P. Selz and current Sophomores who lived in P. Selz last year commented:

“My experience is unfair. I live in P. Selz, and my other friends live in air-conditioning-less buildings like Probst and Winslow. We are all paying the same for housing on campus, but some are stuck in buildings that get no A/C and are not taken care of.” -Brandon Rodriguez ‘21

“I think living in P. Selz as a freshman is incredibly isolating. It feels more like an apartment complex than a dorm facility. It feels really sterile and divided, there is definitely a lack of community. People in the Stimson buildings seem much more close knit and integrated into the campus as a whole. P. Selz is really cut off due to construction and everybody keeps to themselves.” -Natalie Simendinger ‘21

“It was mixed. It was nice to always have acquaintances around and the common rooms were really cozy. Problem was a lot of people did a shit job of keeping them clean. I also didn’t like how cut-off it felt from the rest of campus especially since pretty much all my friends were seniors and I had to go to wherever they were. It was nice to experience living in a newly designed residence hall but I definitely don’t miss it.” -Sophomore Communications Major

“I feel very lucky to have lived in P. Selz. It was certainly cool to be able to control my own air conditioning and to have a brand spankin’ new dorm room and furniture. I did find, however, that most of my friends that I made my first year ALL lived in P. Selz. It’s almost like a lot of those friendships were just out of convenience— you live down the hall from me, it’s easy to see you and hang out… I felt like I did not make ANY upperclassmen friends since all I did was chill in P. Selz. but I felt that I was missing out on experiences that other first years who DIDN’T live in P. Selz had— shitty dorms, older neighbors, and just SPACE from fellow first years.” -Kallie Blakelock ‘20

“I think it is a great place to have your first year at Goucher, being able to all be together and get to know each other while you go to class and commiserate with each other. There was definitely a culture of privilege and students not appreciating what they had within the freshman village last year, and well as this year and is something that I assume with continue into the future.” -Antonia Pettit ‘20

When asked about their experiences living in Pagliaro Selz last year, as compared to their living situation this year, current sophomores said:

“Now I live in Mary Fisher, and it’s pretty disgusting but it’s comfortable. I can’t explain it but it’s got a really cool vibe to it. It also helps that it’s right in the middle of campus which makes everything easily accessible.” -Sophomore Communications Major

“This year i lived in Stimson Probst. I LOVE Stimson. the rooms are more homey than P. Selz— The Stimson people also have a shared story. Everyone has this opinion that Stimson sucks, but once you live there, you realize that it is actually pretty cool. It is close to food, close to my parking spot, and has a plethora of age groups throughout. My friends did not live near me so i was forced to go over to their different dorm rooms which was good for me.” -Kallie Blakelock ‘20

When asked about a potential social divide among Goucher students created by Pagliaro Selz, there are conflicting views points. Some simply state that no social divide exists…

“I don’t think the social divide is really there.” Ramona Kamb ‘21

“Not really, they just happen to live somewhere else.” Dina Diani ’21

And others believe that the social divide is present and problematic…

“P. Selz is far from most buildings and it requires others to walk along the construction. P. Selz is for first-year students. Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors are excluded from the

residential side of the building and it is not fair. But how will first-years create relationships with upper-level students if they [upperclassmen] can’t step foot in a residential common room without waiting for somebody to open the door?” -Brandon Rodriguez ‘21

“I think since P. Selz is a strictly freshman filled place it can be hard to mingle with other  classes. In Stimson there is more variety and it’s easier to find friends who are older. P. Selz has very limited options in terms of who you can become acquainted with.” Natalie Simenginer ‘21

“I absolutely think that there is a divide; before I even moved onto campus upperclassmen felt cheated out of the newer, nicer dorms that they typically worked for and now these brand new first years are just getting these amazing, “hotel like” dorms handed to them. The first years living in Frolicher or Stimson are definitely valid in their feelings in that they have been cheated out of something. They are all paying the same amount of money to live in extremely different living conditions.” -Antonia Pettit ‘20

When asked for their opinions on the up and coming first-year village, students had mixed feelings. Some believe it will be a mostly positive addition to the campus and community:

“I like the idea of the first year village because I hope that the new buildings will help create a community of first years that will be able to have more interactions with each other and build a stronger community that can grow past their time at Goucher.” -Antonia Pettit ’20

“Once there is a first year village, I feel first years will be brought together and be closer. At that point, all first years will live closely so there won’t be any physical separation” -Dina Diani ’21

“Once it’s completed I think the campus will flow better since construction will be out of the way. The construction is one of the biggest isolating factors by far. Hopefully it will create a community but also allow the incoming kids to explore campus with ease. I hope it also holds events and gatherings for different classes so there is some diversity for the freshman.” -Natalie Simendiger ‘21

While some students foresee major issues with the first-year village:

“Once the First-Year Village is complete, upper-level students will lose 1/4th of the student population. This means that first-years will probably have their own bubble. Most upper-level students may feel excluded and unable to enjoy everything that the first-year village has to offer. Yes, they will probably have access to the first floor. But the residential space will not be welcoming.” Brandon Rodriguez ‘21

“The first year village will be good for establishing a tight community with incoming freshman but I can’t shake the feeling that a lot of the money and effort put into the FYV should’ve been put into fixing the dingier parts of campus that the majority of the students live in. It feels like most of the school’s money is being spent on people who don’t go here yet.” -Sophomore Communications Major

“While I can see how in theory the first year village would be a good idea. In practice, though, I foresee big problems. If all of the first years live together – ALL OF THEM- it is very likely that they will spend most of their time in that complex and therefore not make friends with upperclassmen, which I think is crucial. they will get sick of each other, just like my friends and I did. They will grow together through their shared first experiences in this new chapter in their life— but part of that chapter is making older friends and being uncomfortable sometimes (I mean this in terms of meeting new people or living in NOT top quality dorm rooms). I think all dorms should be grade mixed. Sectioning them off will not do them good in the long run.” -Kallie Blakelock ‘20

While Pagliaro Selz and the first-year village may seem like a beneficial addition to the campus in theory, students’ personal experiences with the dorm say otherwise. Will the up and coming first-year village achieve the goals of increased interaction and development of a stronger community, or will it have the opposite effect, creating a more significant social divide between first-years and upperclassmen?

Campus Construction Continues, “Undaunted”

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Construction Plans: The orange indicates construction locations for the new science, interfaith, Mary Fisher Dining Hall, First Year Village, new athletic facilities, and new equestrian facilities. Photo Credit: Goucher College FMS

On March 10th, Goucher announced Undaunted, a new fundraising campaign to raise $100 million. A large portion of this campaign is dedicated to raising funding for new construction projects. There will be no major construction of buildings during the fall semester of next year (Fall 2018), but the new tennis center will be under construction. Both the first year village and the new campus dining hall are on track for completion in August 2018, while several other projects are in the works.

The First Year Village will feature a gaming lounge, a rehearsal space, a student success center, a demonstration kitchen, and an outdoor courtyard with tiered seating, a gas fireplace, and spaces for hammocks. The courtyard amenities in the First Year Village were inspired in part by a student workshop on creating community spaces. The new buildings are part of an initiative to prevent isolation and increase social interaction through the design of buildings. (See P-Selz article on page 5).

The new dining hall opening in Mary Fisher will have a retail and a to-go area on the first floor and six stations on the second floor which will be all-you-care-to-eat dining, including a pizza oven and Mongolian grill. There will also be a Kosher station; rather than being a separate space as it is currently, Kosher will be integrated with the main dining hall.  There will also be a small reservable dining room in Mary Fisher. (See Dining Hall article on page 1 for more details).

With the re-opening of Mary Fisher, the Gopher Hole will return and the dining halls in Stimson and Huebeck will be converted into student spaces. In general, there will be many more spaces on campus available next semester for student meetings and performances.

Counseling Services will also be moving to new, larger, facilities on the third floor of Mary Fisher, along with Case Management (See article on Counseling Center on pg. 2).

This summer, there are a couple smaller projects planned for Van Meter that will be funded in part by capital renewal funds. A tiered seating classroom in Van Meter will be converted into a recording studio (with funding by the Sherman Fairchild Grant and Academic funding from the capital renewal budget) and a student hub/gathering space will be created on the first floor of Van Meter, in the location of the fishbowl classroom across from the Writing Center.

Construction for the new science addition to Hoffberger Science Center is slated to begin June 2019, with possible completion date in 2021. The new Tennis Center, featuring 12 new tennis courts, stadium seating, and new lighting, will also be underway, thanks to a generous donation from 100-year-old alumna Evelyn Dyke Schroedl ’62.

Goucher will be relocating the equestrian program to facilities on the back part of campus,  around and including the area of the old equestrian fields. The plans for the facility include building two new barns for the varsity team and a barn for broader use. The plans include classroom space, indoor and outdoor arenas, and a residential cottage for the equestrian center residential staff person. Goucher is also partnering with the state of Maryland to bring the Maryland Horse Breeders Association to Goucher. Their facility which is planned to be in a reclaimed local banker barn, and it will include a museum, an office space, and an archive for the Maryland Horse Breeders.

The project will require the removal of a number of trees. The college has surveyed the area for “specimen trees,” meaning trees are particularly unique or old, and will attempt to keep as many of them as possible, although it is unlikely that they will be able to keep all of them.

The project will occur over the course of three years, in part because two years are needed for the grass to grow. According to a study of the Maryland horse industry, cited by Goucher’s “In the Loop,” Maryland horse farming brings in more than $1.15 billion in economic activity every year.

Construction plans for an interfaith addition to the chapel are also complete. The addition will include six offices, four prayer spaces, a great room, a space for Hillel, a community kitchen, and a quiet meeting room for groups like Surviving Together and the bereavement group. The offices are intended for the chaplain and the executive director of Hillel, with additional offices for any part time staff, which will currently most likely be used by student interns and Goucher Christian Fellowship staff and the Israel Fellow to Hillel.

The goal of the Interfaith Center will be to create spaces for people who practice a variety of religions. One of the prayer rooms will include a Muslim absolution station. While the other spaces could change intentions because their religious affiliation will be determined

by furnishing rather than by architecture, the plan is to have Hindu, Buddhist, and Christian prayer or meditation spaces. In an interview, Chaplain Cynthia Terry also made clear that the interfaith addition will be open to all students, not just students who are religious.

The original projected start date for the Interfaith Center was much earlier, but the plans for the building turned out to be considerably more expensive than initially expected, with a cost estimate of $4.5 million. In order for construction to begin, more fund-raising will be necessary.

This is generally the case for the building plans. The new science center is projected to cost $22.5 million, and that is only in hard construction costs, not including costs like architects or paying for furniture.

“It’s a tough time to be a liberal arts school,” said Darragh Brady, project manager. “Liberal arts colleges are fighting to stay alive, fighting to survive. It is smart of Goucher to do this construction. They are recognizing that in order to lure students, they have to have science labs like the ones at University of Maryland, otherwise students will just go to the University of Maryland.”

Down the road, Goucher plans to lease the land for a building between the main entrance of the college and the Sheraton and Edenwald. While they currently have proposals from about twenty developers, it is still undetermined to whom the ground lease will go and when construction will begin.

For more information on Dining Halls, see page 1. To read about student perspectives on the First Year Village, flip to page 5.

New Counseling Center in the Works

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With the re-opening of Mary Fisher in the fall semester of 2018, the counseling center will have new, larger facilities on the third floor, with seven offices instead of the current four. The center’s staff will also increase in number. Currently, there are two full-time staff, three part-time staff, and three graduate externs. Next year, there will be three full-time and one part-time staff members, for a slight decrease in active staff hours. The largest increase will be in graduate and doctoral externs, going from three externs to six in the fall.

These new facilities are part of an effort to respond to the high demand for mental health services. According to the 2016-17 Healthy Minds Study, about 49% of Goucher students have a previous diagnosis as of a mental disorder. Students also display a high rate of anxiety and depression, with 37% screening positive for anxiety and 43% for depression.

On-campus counseling services are highly utilized. The center has needed a wait list for the past three semesters, with an average of 10 students being on the list. In 2016-17, the center completed intakes for 354 students and there were 97 crisis walk-in sessions. Of the 2017 graduating class, 45% of graduating seniors used counseling services at some point during their enrollment at Goucher.

Currently, the center’s clinical services are limited by its space. The center has two full-time staff three part-time staff, three graduate externs, and four offices. Because they have expanded, the counseling staff also sometimes holds counseling sessions in their lunchroom in urgent situations, and one of their offices is a re-purposed laundry lounge room. Counseling in this re-purposed office is more challenging because of the room’s distance from the other offices, which makes it difficult to consult with other counselors if necessary.

Monica Neel, Director of Counseling Services, hopes that the new facilities will provide more than enough space for counseling services. “We’re pretty much getting what we need out of it…I think we’ll have ample space…and a capacity to grow,” she said.

The new counseling space in Mary Fisher will also be separate from health services. The current counseling space is attached to the health center, and students are processed in a waiting room that is focused on physical health. With the new facilities, the space will be more centered around mental health. The center will include self-care spaces such as a self-use resource library and a small, low-stimulation meditation room, that students will be able to access without passing through the counseling center.

The new counseling waiting room will also be equipped with electronic medical software. Monica Neel, Director of Counseling Services, hopes this technology will give students a sense of “ownership…for their own care and progress.” The electronic software will also allow the school to more easily and efficiently collect and analyze data regarding students’ mental health.

Case management offices will also be in the new space, for easier communication between counseling staff and case management.

The plans to use this space in Mary Fisher as a new location for the counseling center happened very quickly. Previous plans for the third floor space had included the possibility of putting in dorm rooms, but after the decision to move and preserve the Froleicher building, the beds were no longer necessary.

Conversation about using the space as counseling facilities began this semester, with Vice President Brian Coker, Dean Andrew Wu, and Monica Neel. The first mock-ups of plans were prepared within a month after conversation started. “I think we’ve got great ‘buy in’ everywhere,” said Neel. “It’s not like we have a VP or President who is resistant to talking about mental health.”

The project is part of efforts Goucher is making through its partnership with the JED foundation, a non-profit dedicated to emotional health and suicide prevention for young adults. The JED Foundation provides a framework to ensure that the school meets certain benchmarks of best practices regarding mental health. Prior to Monica Neel being Director of Counseling, there was no director; the counseling center was part of the health center. Because of this, there was no mental health model on campus or frame of reference as to how the counseling center compared nationwide. After Monica Neel learned about the JED Foundation at a conference in Fall 2016, Goucher began its partnership with JED in January 2017.

The new counseling center facilities have been authorized to be completed in the fall, although the funding has not yet been secured. The college is currently looking for donors among alumnae/i.

Dining Hall Nearly Done, Meal Plans Get Makeover

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Come fall, the campus will be different. Fences will be gone, halls will be re-purposed and the center of on-campus dining will shift. What this dining will be like in practice is hard to say but there are plenty of concrete details that can be shared before the fall semester.

Meal Plan Changes

Current state of construction (top) and visualization (bottom) of the new dining hall, which will include a Mongolian grill station. Photo credit: Linda Barone

To begin, let’s talk about the new meal plans. For the upcoming year, the campus has shifted from a semester-long block meal plan to a weekly one. We used to have seven different plans (five if kosher and commuter are excluded) which have now been consolidated into four different plans (three if the commuter is excluded). The new plans are 10, 14, and 19 meals a week with $250 dining dollars and a commuter plan that is exclusively dining dollars although the amount is yet to be determined.

A quick comparison of meals (assuming there are around 15.75 weeks in a semester) shows that the old 100, 120, 150 Kosher and 190 plans have been cut, leaving just the 150, 240 and a modified commuter plan. While they are not exactly one to one, the 10 block is roughly equivalent in number of meals to the 150, the 14 to the 240, and the 19 to a new, 300-ish meal plan. In terms of money, the new 10 (at $2,550 per semester) is approximately equal to the old 150 plan, the 14 ($2,920) to the 190 and the 19 ($3,315) to the 240. All figures are from the 2017-2018 Goucher Meal Plan Information Sheet and the current Goucher Meal Plan website.

What this means is that, on the whole, prices per meal per plan are down, and those on the old 150 plan, if staying on the 10, will pay slightly less than last year. This does mean that the cheapest plan is now more expensive than it used to be. However, if you do need to change your meal plan, you will be able to change mid-year. Additionally, all first years will be required to be on the 19-meal plan. Norman Zwagil, a Manager for Bon Appetit, said this decision was made in order to reduce food insecurity on campus and to make it easier to manage meals week by week.

Dining Hall Changes

On the dining hall side of things, Stimson, Huebeck, and The Van will all be closed starting next fall, replaced with the new dining facility in the building that used to be Pearlstone. Alice’s will remain open and the Gopher Hole, a late-night hangout that has been closed since construction began, will re-open. There has not been any confirmation on the Gopher Hole’s re-opening date as it is not run by Bon Appetit.

Inside the new dining hall will be two areas to grab food, one requiring a meal swipe and one that takes dining dollars as well as meal swipes (during certain hours). The one that takes dining dollars will be located where the old bookstore used to be and will function like the old Passport Café (Pearlstone) used to and how Huebeck currently functions. There will be grab and go

Pizza oven in the new dining hall under construction. Photo Credit: Linda Barone

options, both hot and cold, as well as a full visible grill, a pizza station, an ice cream station, an entrée station, and an expanded deli/salad station. Two registers will service this section.

The other dining hall will be upstairs and there will be two stations where you can swipe to enter the food area. According to Norman, it will be all-you-care-to-eat and will contain a multitude of stations, such as the Mongolian Grill (which can make stir fry), the Bakery that is currently in Huebeck, a Kosher station, Global Bowl, Entrée, Allergen Free, Salad bar/deli, Breakfast, Piatti (pizza, calzones, pasta) and two beverage stations. How this will be laid out within the space has not been made clear as of yet.

Another new aspect of dining will be mobile ordering, which will allow a student to call up the dining hall and they will prepare the order for you. While details on this are still being figured out, it seems this will be useful for those with allergies and those on the go.

In terms of what will be done with Huebeck, Linda Barone, Associate Director of Planning, Design, and Construction, says that they’ll be able to open the wall back up and use it as a multipurpose space. “The thing that’s missing most right now on campus is general meeting space, spaces for presentation, so that space, when you open up the wall, can hold about 250 people. With the wall closed, each side can hold about 100. The lounge [in Huebeck] will become—what is currently now seating—will turn back into a lounge.” As for the Stimson dining hall, she says that they’re taking out all the equipment, all of the refrigerators will be gone and that the tables in the middle will also be gone.

 

 

 

PUBLIC SAFETY BLOTTER

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The Quindecim is granted access to information about violations of the Goucher College Code of Conduct and Academic Honor code. The information is compiled by Andrew Wu, Goucher’s Associate Dean of Students for Student Development. This report is comprised of incidents that occur during the two weeks leading up to each issue of

The Quindecim. 

Public Safety Incident Reports

 April 17th, 2018 – April 30th, 2018

PUBLIC SAFETY INCIDENT REPORTS

Alcohol/Drug

  • Public Safety received a report from JHU that a Goucher student was arrested for possession of marijuana (over 10g)
  • Information alleging two students smoked marijuana near Stimson, no evidence found
  • Two students found in P-Selz in possession of marijuana and pariphernalia

Fire Safety

  • Accidental fire alarms in Conner and Welsh

Harassment/Disorderly Conduct

  • Student reported ongoing harassment/intimidation by another student

Injury /Medical Emergency

  • Two students transported to hospital for medical reasons

Theft

  • Wallet stolen by unknown individual in Robinson, BCPD contacted to respond

Vehicle Incident

  • Student vehicle damaged in Dorsey lot
  • Damage to guest vehicle reported near Alumni House
  • Vehicle stuck in mud near Stables
  • Campus guest accused of reckless driving on loop

Damage/Vandalism

Other

  • Student physically assaulted another student in Jeffery

STUDENT CODE OF CONDUCT DECISIONS

  • Student found responsible for possession of marijuana over 10g – restricted from entering campus other than for purposes of attending class
  • Student found responsible for underage possession of alcohol, possession of marijuana (under 10g), possession of drug paraphernalia – issued educational sanction, $50 fine, parent notification
  • Student found responsible for fire safety violation – issued $250 fine
  • Student found responsible for damage to property – issued $680 restitution fine

Spin Bikeshare Comes to Goucher

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Goucher’s Bikeshare Program. Photo Credit: Madeline St. John

What’s orange, has two wheels, a couple gears, and makes me think of popsicles and summertime? That’s right. I’m talking about those neon bikes we’ve all seen around campus. They showed up sometime within the past few months, and everytime I see someone on one, I wish I could drop everything and go for a ride. But where did they come from? How can I use one?

I sat down with Gabi Silver, ‘21, to help me answer these questions. Gabi told me that he first saw Spin back in October, when he was visiting D.C. for the weekend. He reached out to Spin personally, asking about potentially bringing a bunch of bikes to campus, and they responded enthusiastically, saying they’d love to bring 25 bikes to Goucher. The following is a piece of my interview with Gabi. Answers have been edited for length and clarity.

NL: If I wanted to rent a bike, what steps would I have to go through to do so for my first time?

GS: It couldn’t be more simple, especially from a user’s point of view. It requires an app, so for iPhone users you go onto the App Store, and for Android users you go onto Google Play. You just search for an app called ‘Spin Bike Share.” It’s an orange app with an orange logo, and once you log on, and you use your goucher.edu email, it automatically sets the rate from $1/half hour to $1/hour. You put in a credit card [number], and from there, you just scan any of the QR codes located on the bike itself, and start your ride. It just kinda charges you for that: from the time the bike unlocks to the time you put the lock down.

NL: Are there rules about taking bikes off campus? How does that work?

GS: Since we’re on a campus, the agreement we made with Spin and the Goucher administration is that when you take a bike out you have to bring it back to campus within 24 hours. So that means that you might want to go to the Post Office, Target, or Walmart, [or anywhere off campus], but as long as the bike is back in the region of Towson within 24 hours, which you can see on the map on the app, you should be good. You shouldn’t get an email from us saying “Please bring the bike back.”

NL: But if someone rents the bike after I end my ride and before I can bring it back to campus, then it’s not my problem.

GS: Exactly. Yes. The actual bike relocation happens between me and the local bike repair company, and that’s not your problem if it happens. And if you do get an email saying you didn’t bring it back, just let me know, and I can definitely forward it to the right party.

NL: How long can I rent the bike for?

GS: We have 25 [bikes], as I said, on the Goucher campus, and there’re 100 at Towson..if you keep it for for 24 hours, you will be charged [the $24] for keeping it for that amount of time. So it’s not the kind of system where we want you to claim it as yours. In fact, that’s highly discouraged and against the Spin user agreement. The intention is to make it a system that’s fun and shareable for everyone.

Hope this helps! If you have any more questions, feel free to reach out to Gabi at gasil001@mail.goucher.edu. Happy riding! 

Neve Levinson

 

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