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An Interview with Aarika Camp

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Conducted by Jibril Howard ’22 and Neve Levinson ‘21

On July 9th, Goucher announced the appointment of Aarika Camp Ph.D. as the new Vice-President and Dean of Students (VP & DOS). Overseeing the administrative division of Student Affairs, Dean Camp is tasked (among other things) with overseeing student life, Title IX compliance, tackling and or addressing diversity and discrimination, and helping students naviage and manage life at Goucher college in myriad ways. The VP & DOS position was among several filled over Covid-19 lockdown and summer including that of Associate Dean of Students for Diversity Equity and Title IX Juan Hernandez; Vice President of Campus Operations Erik Thompson; and Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs Elaine Meyer-Lee. The Q staff will be interviewing all these new staff members – below is our conversation with Dean Camp. 

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Jibril: Can you start by telling us a little bit about yourself, such as your previous position, what led you to Goucher, and your top three fun facts about yourself?

“OK, so before Goucher, I was at Nova Southeastern University. It’s a school in Fort Lauderdale [Florida] and it’s about 20,000 students, we had seven campuses, and most of the students were professional or grad students so I’ve worked with every type of med school student you could possibly think of from orthodontics to osteopathic medicine – like everything. I was there for 13 years. I’ve been in housing most of my career before I started being upper administration (loved it) and before there I was at Florida International [University]. I was in Florida for a lot of years at different types of institutions.

I realized – I think through the pandemic a lot of people had reflection – and being locked in my condo for months and going through obviously social unrest and figuring out what was important to me and my values. I was going to try and do that type of work, now being at a school that…is still trying to push it and the students are pushing it as well. It’s really important to me. That’s what attracted me to Goucher.

Three fun facts? Well no one would be surprised if anybody else was here…my first fun fact is I’m obsessed with BTS. I’m definitely a member of  BTS I’m a definitely a member of Army [US BTS fan group] so this past weekend I watched about 16 hours-worth of BTS live concerts and all in Korean Time not in Eastern Standard Time so Saturday it was 6:00 AM and Sunday Morning it was at 3:00 AM. Anything BTS I’m on it. Another fun fact: I don’t wear colors. So, you’ll never see me outside in navy blue, grey, or black. This is actually the most fun print I have [black and white polka-dots]. Another fun fact is I’m the shortest in my family and I’m six feet tall. Even my nephew who is 15 is already 6’2 and he’s turning 16 in two weeks.”

What drove you to take on this position at Goucher?

“So it really kind of started…I felt like I had been proceeding according to my career goals there but then once everything really started happening from the pandemic it really started…I had always been a proponent in trying to get students to be more engaged in not only their experience on campus but also so they’re just experienced in the world and helping them to find what their identity was, and it was time that I start pushing the students and myself more in those types of conversations and so just it came to a point where I had written with a bunch of faculty to our president about how the social unrest was impacting us and the president received the email and the letter but I didn’t feel like it was received well enough to do work and so even now [at Goucher] GBSU [Goucher Black Student Union] has reached out a couple times and I’m about doing the work. We can have all the conversations in the world but until the pen hits the paper and things start happening…that’s where I felt like here would be the right place, in the right position, for me to start doing that whereas I didn’t have the position there to do that. I think also doing my interview process, the students that I met with all are looking for someone that could speak that same language of “how do we do this?” “How can we push the needle forward?” Not everything is going to go the way that they want but knowing that somebody is willing to listen – because I know that was important to me – that’s really what led me here.”

That leads me into my next question. What do you kind of see as your long- and short-term goals for your position? And you brought up working with GBSU, do you see their goals as being intertwined with your own?

“Well I think part of my short and long-term goals is to really assess what the student experience is, and not just for GBSU, but for any student on campus. I was always one of those students in college, I didn’t really know what group I fit into most of the time, and even now it’s not often you see a 41-year old African American woman at a BTS concert. You just don’t usually. Making sure students can find their niche on campus takes a lot of digging and investigating and asking questions about what your experience is, what are you looking for and what you want. Really trying to figure out what students are not tapping into that we really need to understand what their experiences is [sic]. I think again that with GBSU that would fall into the category for right now. The students who identify as Black and or African American don’t feel as engaged on campus and so how do we address that? Every year it can be a different population and so I just always have to be open to hearing that and addressing that.

 I think another goal is that I haven’t worked with GCC [Goucher Consent Coalition] yet, but I’ve heard the safety concerns on campus. I think that’s another important goal I need to tackle in my role is what does a safe campus look like and not just safe in regards to Title IX issues. Just safe in terms of even if there is a student that doesn’t go with the norms of the college, so let’s say if it’s an extreme conservative student, they still have the right to share their opinions and be heard. Making sure that there is a safe campus for all of us to share our ideas in a constructive way that doesn’t hurt anyone else but that we still feel like we’re celebrated for who we are is important.

I think another goal is really trying to find what students expect out of a Vice-President. Some students here had Bryan [Coker] before, some of the grad students [who] went here for undergrad may have had somebody even different than Bryan. And so what the expectations are; I think another thing is I’m very authentic and transparent if you can’t already tell by conversation with you so just making sure that I’m able to forge relationships with students where they do feel right there is an upper-level administrator that they could go to and we may not always be on the same page but there going to always be heard.”

Neve: I think one question we have…it’s related to the GBSU demands out right now, you were talking about putting in the work and not just talking about stuff. How do you see that moving forward and where do you see your role in that besides being a listener?

“Well I think it’s open communication with them. We’ve exchanged some emails and trying to figure out when is a time we could meet to collaborate. I also think the ownership is the cabinet as well – I shared that with my interview process as well. I was born up Black and I’m probably going to leave this earth Black. My experience has been trying to understand what their experience has been and that some of their demands they shouldn’t have to tell us. As a person and as a part of the community I should be able to identify some of the demands on campus myself and start addressing them separately than GBSU. I think that’s where my philosophy is: what work can I be doing separately without them having to point to me and then what issues can they point to me that I can also address?”

Such as building those partnerships you were talking about before?

Exactly. I think the other part is we can’t rely on the students to always identify issues. We also have to be able to identify some issues that they may not see readily. That means also building a rapport where hopefully in years to come there won’t need to be a demand letter because I would’ve already had conversations where we can start fostering that regular communication that doesn’t have to lead to that type of request. If you think about our global society now, Black people have always either tried to vote to get that respect for their rights, tried to peacefully protest, tried to peacefully write to people, have done all of these things that didn’t necessarily pan out in the way we wanted so yeah people are mad now. My thing is if you’re responding appropriately along the way you don’t have to wait until people get so frustrated and mad that it turns to anger if you’re doing it the right way before. In my ten-year year that’s what I want to get to the point where people don’t have to write demand letters because we’ve been communicating and talking and looking at issues before it got to that point.”

New Vice President and Dean of Students Aarika Camp PC: Goucher College Official Website

Jibril: You brought up GCC earlier and their work obviously falls under the national context with the Presidential Election coming up and with the new Title IX guidelines that Goucher has had to adapt to which of course may change another six months from now. Can you address and speak to how you’re managing the [uncertainty surrounding the new Title IX policies]? Can you set expectations for students?

“I think the hard part right is that none of us can set expectations around it. I mean just in the last three and half years there’s been so much change that no one can even predict what will come out next. I mean there’s been a recent recension of the Clery Report, the Clery Handbooks that come out, that none of us expected. Who would’ve expected the recension of a reporting book such as that! That’s where I could have all the expectations in the world but until I get a real understanding of where we’re going to stand politically it’s just going to keep coming down the pipeline. I was talking to one of my colleagues probably a couple months ago and I can’t believe now the opportunity for cross-examination and an in-person cross-examination as a part of Title IX. I mean none of us would have expected that year ago and so that’s where it’s hard. It’s hard because as Student Affairs and as open-minded people, and as just people, we want to do what’s right by people involved in situations like this but then if we have regulations that we have to abide by or we’re going to get in trouble then there’s not a whole lot we can do. We’re kind of bound to that. I couldn’t even begin to tell you what the next regulations are going to be. You’re absolutely right – after six months it could be something completely different if the government shifts [or] if the government stays the same it could be something even more different in three months not even six. I think that’s where we’re all concerned about. There hasn’t been enough consistency. There hasn’t been enough time. I mean even to put out regulations during a pandemic and give it when colleges aren’t open. I can’t even begin to tell you why the expectation was “Hey! Colleges aren’t open so let’s put out new Title IX regulations” while we’re trying to stay alive in a pandemic.  It’s those sorts of things where I think every vice president of student affairs is frustrated right now. We’re trying to implement things on our campus to keep people safe but then we’re given regulations that kind of make it difficult to do that in certain aspects.”

You’ve already touched on this a little but how are you adjusting to your job in the middle of the pandemic? How is it different to what you were envisioning coming into your position?

“The hard part is I’ve always been a student-centered type person. Even on social media I still keep in touch with students from my last institution and I’m trying to connect to a student here. It’s hard when you’re trying to forge relationships with people that you haven’t met in person. I can pick up social cues from you over Zoom but it’s very different than if you’re sitting right here and so I think that’s different. I haven’t met a lot of people yet so that’s been interesting. What I’m trying to do is that anytime anyone has asked me for a meeting, kind of like how you emailed me the other day, I try to respond quickly and say “when are you free?” and so I think that’s trying to be accessible in that. It’s also helpful where no student feels like they can’t get time with me. That’s a good part about Zoom and I’m a night owl so it’s like I’ll find the time. That’s been the challenge…setting that identity and tone now where if you have emailed me and say, “can we meet?” [the response would be] “absolutely, let’s find the time.””

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This interview with Dean Camp is the second in a series of interviews with new staff hires. We have included the entire transcript of the interview because we are in a critical position on campus right now. The enormous amount of administrative turnover that has taken place in the past two or three years is finally culminating in the hiring of people to hold key positions of influence. As Goucher’s independent student newspaper, we see ourselves as students tasked with the responsibility of seeking out information from members of our community and re-expressing it to our readers. The transmission of information is crucial to give our peers access to this knowledge so we can shape student activism moving forward. Please stay tuned for future interviews.

An Interview with Juan Hernandez

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Conducted by Jibril Howard ’22

In an August 28th email to the Goucher Community, Kent announced the appointment of Juan Hernandez as the new Associate Dean of Student of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion & Title IX. This mouthful of a title, with its acronym “ADOS DEI & TIX” is still irritatingly long. The DEI & TIX position was among several positions created and or subsequently filled over Covid-19 lockdown and summer including that of Vice President, Dean of Students Aarika Camp; Vice President of Campus Operations Erik Thompson; and Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs Elaine Meyer-Lee. The Q staff will be interviewing all these new staff members—below is our conversation with Dean Hernandez.

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Tell us a bit about yourself? What are some fun facts you’d like people to know?

“What I can come up with really quick on the spot is I’m a huge sports everything. I love watching basketball, football, baseball, soccer…you can’t get me away from the TV if there’s some sports happening so obviously, I was struggling pretty much since March with Covid-19. It was a struggle. I’m originally from Chicago; so Chicago everything, Chicago Bears Chicago Bulls, [Chicago] Cubs, specifically no White Sox please…another fun fact is I was a former elected official…I ran for office and was elected as a member of the Board of Education here in the capital city of Connecticut so that was always which was a wonderful experience. It was actually a really good time to be able to learn policy.”

New Associate Dean of Students: Diversity, Equity, and Title IX Juan Hernandez PC: Goucher College Official Website

What led and or attracted you to Goucher?

“I was really interested in the Study Abroad [requirement]. Not necessarily because I’m going to be able to study for fun but for me that tells me as students are hopefully going away and coming back coming back with a bit more of a global perspective. The fact that you know a lot of the problems that we’re dealing with here in the United States don’t only the belong to us; there is discrimination and bigotry all over the world and people are dealing with those with those issues in very different ways. I love the fact that students are required to have some sort of global perspective via the RPP [Race, Power, and Perspective GCR] but then also specifically study abroad.

I also really wanted to get back to some big city living. It’s a very different experience being in a bigger city or being near a bigger city where you can see you can see the impacts of systemic racism, in homophobia, transphobia, those phobias and isms you can see it right in front of you in a big city it is very easy for us to avoid them in cities like Towson or Hartford or West Hartford where I lived. In cities like Baltimore you can’t ignore [the systemic racism] its right in front of your face. I’ll also say I’m very happy to be working with and working for people who seem authentic when it comes to their conversations and their commitment to anti-racism, to battling hate, to making sure our campus is as safe as possible and as healthy as possible. I’m also excited about working with [new Dean of Students] Aarika Camp who is amazing and that’s not just because she’s my boss. It’s also because she’s authentic and her leadership style is one that I’ve been craving for a while.”

How does this position compare with previous jobs you’ve held?

“This position certainly comes with more responsibility and visibility than any of my previous positions. But it is similar in the sense that my job is to be present and supportive of all who are not at the tables that I am privileged enough to sit at. I hold that responsibility very close to my heart.”

In terms of this position, what do you see as being your primary objectives? And do you feel like you have the space and freedom at Goucher to accomplish those goals?

“I’m gonna answer that in two ways. The first one is a very typical new employee answer but I’m going to give it anyways because I really mean this. I really do want to sit back a little bit and listen to what you all want.

I’m not going to go around and do a listening tour. I think that listening tours are technically pointless in the sense. What I really want to do is I’ve been trying to schedule time and with students as much as possible now that I’ve had a couple weeks to get acclimated to the campus. I really want to hear what you all have to say because two of my bigger goals are to try to change the culture around CREI and specifically around the Office of Title IX.

What I mean by that is I want the Office of Title IX to be an office where you can go to receive education. It’s not it’s not just an office where you need to receive resources as a survivor or as a victim; it’s also an office where you can come and have conversations with someone like me about areas where you as a student, or you as a faculty member, or you as a staff member need more knowledge and maybe I can provide some of that knowledge and if I can’t provide it myself I will put you in contact with it with the folks that can give you some of that knowledge.

I want CREI to be a center, a space, that people can come to and sit down and do homework and hang out and meet new people and do that without being worried about being judged because you might not look like everybody else in the space or you might not come from the same spaces or places as the folks who are using the space in that moment. I want it to be a center where we offer programming and trainings and workshops and conversations that are very random and impromptu but can be heated. I want that space to be because I think that that’s when we’re craving. We’re craving a space where we can be ourselves and breathe for a moment instead of being out on campus in that moment and having to code switch just to survive. I want CREI to be that space for everybody. And it’s my job to make it that space for everybody.”

I would be remiss if I didn’t bring up the new Title IX regulations. I was wondering if you could provide like a little bit of an idea or an update on where Goucher stands on implementing the new policies?

“I’m very glad you asked that question. This is one that I’ve been struggling with and through a little bit. We do have interim policies that are that are in place for right now. It is my job… it is on my plate to organize a working group of folks, faculty, staff, and students 100 percent, so that we can review those policies and so that everybody has a say in where we go permanently right starting moving forward. Where I’ve been struggling with that…we’re in the middle of a presidential election and that election is going to impact we’re trying to accomplish right now. I’m struggling because let’s say for example that we create this working group to examine these interim policies and to offer feedback. [Because of the Presidential Election] we might actually have to change these interim policies within the next six months again. That’s where I’ve been struggling with that a little bit. All I can do is laugh because in my head I want to cry – it is sitting in my to do lists that we’re going to be creating a working group of folks that includes students.

Either [myself] or Aarika Camp will eventually be sending out an interest form for students to fill out if they are interested in joining the working group…I want people to actually be interested in this work and…so students will be able to express some interest in helping us review these interim policies and have some input in the development of the permanent policies moving forward.”

GBSU has been mobilizing recently around specific demands that they like to see about changing the culture and conversations on campus around discrimination and racial justice. I was wondering how you see those demands fitting into the scope of your job. I know you’ve at least at one the GBSU teach-ins so I was wondering if you could speak to that a little bit?

“What a very good question. I see that I almost see that as a personal mandate for myself. I am in a position of what I think you all will consider to be pretty significant influence, right. What I consider my relationship to those demands to be is I am going to be using that as part of my platform as I determine what my long-term and short-term goals are moving forward. Will I be able to tackle everything on GBSU’s demands? Absolutely not. But I think we know that. I can tell you that I am having conversations with Aarika Camp every day; she is going to be taking on some of those things personally on her own plate, I will be taking some of those demands on, the President is taking some of the demands on. I’m using that as guidance, believe it or not, on how to do my job for the first year my first thing to do is to say thank you.”  

Many students favor a restorative justice approach towards dealing with issues of racial bias and TIX issues. Do you plan to incorporate this approach into your work as ADOS DEI & TIX and if so, in what way?

“I am a strong proponent of restorative justice. I have actually, in the past, utilized restorative circles in my work. I also led an initiative during my time on the Board of Education to prioritize the use of restorative circles and peer juries for high schools. While I am confined by the TIX regulations and the Code of Conduct, I will always support restorative approaches.”

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We have included the entire transcript of the interview because we are in a critical position on campus right now. The enormous amount of administrative turnover that has taken place in the past two or three years is finally culminating in the hiring of people to hold key positions of influence. As Goucher’s independent student newspaper, we see ourselves as students tasked with the responsibility of seeking out information from members of our community and re-expressing it to our readers. Mr. Hernandez has named his stances on issues of systemic racism and the process of addressing harm within the community. The transmission of information is crucial to give our peers access to this knowledge so we can shape of student activism moving forward. Please stay tuned for future interviews.

Underlying Issues Identified as Student Organizers Engage With Administration

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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.

New Campus Sustainability Coordinator, Daniela Beall

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How do I exist within the systems around me? How is my environment influenced by economic factors, weather patterns, systems for managing waste, and the moods of the people around me? How can I work with others to make our shared environments more equitable? How do I even engage with these questions on a philosophical level, much less in a way that creates a tangible impact on Goucher’s campus and the world beyond?

Daniela Beall, Goucher’s sustainability coordinator, is an invaluable resource for students grappling with some of these huge questions. After working on sustainability initiatives as both an undergraduate and graduate student at Towson University, she brings an incredible level of energy to her new position on campus. When I asked about what she views as her role on campus, she responded in part that, “there are a few ways of looking at it. One is providing leadership for sustainability initiatives, being an advisor to student groups and helping support student initiatives… and then a large part [of my role] is to be a connector”. By serving as a person who knows about all the types of sustainability initiatives happening in all niches of campus, she can put different individuals or groups in touch with one another so that they can, as she put it, “build power together and build on each other’s work instead of recreating the wheel”. Beyond just connecting people who come to her directly, she also plans on communicating with the campus population as a whole regarding larger-scale initiatives.

When asked about ideas or projects that she would not consider in her purview, Beall told me that she “[sees] sustainability as really broad. I consider myself a generalist, I know a little bit about a lot of things, and trying to see the systems and ways they are interconnected. I am a big fan of collaboration and partnership”. If a student comes to her wanting to talk about equity through a sustainability lens, for instance, she wants to “talk to folks in CREI and to faculty members and bring their specialties and their resources to the table as well,” and if she isn’t the best resource for the situation, she can still connect students to other people on campus who might be more able to help them out.

What is a project that you want to bring to Goucher that will allow us to build more sustainable systems on campus? This can relate to waste management or energy conservation, as is traditionally considered when thinking about sustainability, or it can relate to any other idea that is able to last a long time and improve our ecosystem. One long-standing sustainability initiative that Daniela highlighted that allows students to enact projects like this is the Goucher Environmental Sustainability Advisory Council (GESAC). GESAC is the governing body that awards financing for sustainability projects from the Green Fund. Daniela is “more than happy to be a resource” in this process, and encourages any student who wants to work through this process to come talk to her. There are also a number of student groups dedicated to sustainability, such as the Food Recovery Network, Goucher Green Coalition, Eco Team, Trail Maintenance Club, Plant-based Nutrition, Bee Club, the CBL Environmental Justice Partnership, and many others.

Photo Credit: LinkedIn (via a quick Google search)

Want to learn more about sustainability? Beall recommends reading the United Nations’ “Sustainable Development Goals,” posted on the door of her office, which is located in Hoffberger 116. You can contact Beall through the Gopher app, via email (daniela.beall@goucher.edu), or by phone (410-337-3035).

Goucher Assesses Academic Programs

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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

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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

Faculty Insider: Dr. Gillian Starkey, Center for Psychology

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Dr. Gillian Starkey, who came on as Assistant Professor of Human Neuroscience for the Center for Psychology fall of 2016, seems to have fit right into the campus culture. Photo Credit: Olivia Baud

For new professors at Goucher, an adjustment period is not unusual — Goucher has its own unique and eclectic atmosphere that differentiates it from other colleges and universities. Yet Dr. Gillian Starkey, who came on as Assistant Professor of Human Neuroscience for the Center for Psychology fall of 2016, seems to have fit right into the campus culture. She is already highly regarded as a kind, patient, and inspiring mentor. At the request of several curious students, I sat down with her for an interview to learn more about her journey coming here and the work she engages in now.

Having graduated from Bryn Mawr with a Bachelor’s in Psychology with a concentration in Neural and Behavioral Sciences (’08), Dr. Starkey has experienced liberal arts education firsthand. Yet, to her, Goucher students have different priorities than students from many other, similar colleges. “I’ve only been here for three semesters and this stood out to me right away: Goucher students are much more interested in making a difference,” she told me. This was the kind of community she sought to be a part of when applying for her position. Students seemed less competitive, less centered on grades, and to have, in her words, “much more of a social justice orientation.” Moreover, faculty strove to foster students’ curiosity by seeking innovative approaches to learning. “When I was here for my interview, I asked a lot of faculty about the kind of classes that they taught. Some fell into traditional canon of psychology classes, but they had different names, and they used different, more creative methods of teaching,” she said.

Dr. Starkey’s interest in education predated her studies in neuroscience. It wasn’t until becoming an undergraduate student, however, that she began to consider teaching herself. One of her biology professors, a neuroscientist and philosopher, was a big influence. “He had us debating about the nature of consciousness on the first day of class,” she remarked. Her facial expression and body gestures recalled the astonishment she had felt at his impactful lessons. “I was just hooked.” After receiving her PhD in Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience from Vanderbilt, she decided to go into teaching.

This semester, she is teaching both an Educational Neuroscience seminar and an Introduction to Psychology course. The Center tried to keep the Introduction to Psychology class small, capping it at around 22-24 students instead of 80-100 (as was the case in previous years), so Dr. Starkey has had more of an opportunity to integrate activities and experiments in her classes. She uses them as a tool for emphasizing student experience, connecting complex topics with real world issues. “Science can zoom in so closely to the level of a neuron and students can feel removed from that,” she explained to me. “For my classes, I really…I try to give things a context.”

Like the undergraduate professor who inspired her, Dr. Starkey tries to relay her passion  for neuroscience to her students. “There are so many mysterious things about the brain. It’s just always exciting. I feel like every week I just learn something new that just blows my mind,” she said. For her, it’s not just an exciting field, either. It is also a practical one. Neuroscience relates to many social justice issues, including educational inequity. “I always had an awareness about issues of privilege related to access to education,” she said. Both of her parents worked in Head Start schools where they developed math curricula. “Hearing them talk about that at home I think is what clued me in that my educational experience was a little bit different [than that of the kids they taught].” As a result, she often refers back to a key question in her coursework: how can educational neuroscience help explain the disadvantages and threats that children face as their brains develop, and how they should be addressed?

This is a question that she has also sought to answer through research, focusing primarily on the neural basis for children’s math development. Educational neuroscience often involves examining brain imagery through EEG — caps with electrodes worn by participants. Dr. Starkey has been conducting EEG research for 10 years, beginning with undergraduate school and continuing throughout her postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford University. Luckily, Goucher provides her a nice EEG setup which has allowed her to build on that research. She has thus had the opportunity to work with both undergraduates and elementary school children, who are tasked to play number-related computer games while their brain activity is recorded.

What she and her research partners have found is that pedagogical practices in education aren’t really capitalizing on brain development. “Many kids are starting school at 8 am or starting second languages in middle school that aren’t in line with findings in neuroscience,” she told me. In examining the development of math skills in elementary school children, “We found that basic number skills, just like the most fundamental things… a lot of kids cannot do. That goes on to severely impact them as they go onto higher level math.” She gave me an example with addition. Kids who continue to depend on their fingers to add numbers together throughout elementary school tend to struggle with more complex math problems down the road. “You’re building on fluency,” she explained. In light of these findings, her goal is to develop some training programs in math for kids who are coming from backgrounds in which their exposure to math was limited due to school resources or learning differences.

When she is not researching or teaching, Dr. Starkey enjoys spending time in the outdoors, whether it be by jogging, hiking, or even skiing. As a cook and food enthusiast, she takes advantage of the underrated food scene in Baltimore. She also “love love love[s] to read,” setting the goal for herself on any break from school to “read a book that has nothing to do with neuroscience.” After all, as she imparted to me, “neural connections that you don’t continue to use you will lose over time. But older brains can still pick up information.” It’s never too late to learn something new!

Goucher Misses Kelly Brown Douglas

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Dr. Kelly Douglas Photo Credit: Washington National Cathedral

Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas, Professor of Theology at Goucher College since 2000 has officially left the building and left people crying. Dr. Douglas is now the first African American woman to become Dean at an Episcopal Divinity School (EDS). EDS and Union Theological Seminary have signed a partnership “that will allow EDS to continue as an Episcopal seminary through a collaboration with Union at its campus in New York City beginning in the fall of 2018.” Dr. Douglas received her Pd.D. in systematic theology from Union and the institution is happy to welcome her home. Because the EDS-Union agreement happened fairly quickly, Dr. Douglas unfortunately was unable to have a proper send off or goodbye from the Goucher College community.
While Dr. Douglas will no doubt be an instrumental asset to EDS at Union and this is an incredible opportunity for her career, the people at Goucher–students, faculty, and staff–want to say that she will be missed, in addition to wishing her well in her endeavors.
For the first nine years she was at Goucher, Dr. Douglas ran the religion department single-handedly. Ann Duncan, the current Religion Program Director, Professor of Theology, and Head of the Center Geographies of Justice, said that Dr. Douglas essentially created the religion program and made it into what it is today. Professor Duncan and Dr. Douglas were partners for eight years, and while saddened by her departure, Professor Duncan says “I’m also very excited for her because I know with her recent book and a lot of the ways in which her research is speaking directly to this particular moment in history, the particular concerns, not only of the Christian church, but of the American society, has really been very remarkable to watch. And this I think provides a really wonderful opportunity for her to be able to continue her public speaking, but also to really directly shape the training of some of the future leaders of the Christian church. I am very happy for her.” Professor Duncan, who was well aware of Dr. Douglas’ impact on her students, has high hopes for her future.
Dr. Douglas was always supportive and understanding of her students. Having conducted an independent project with her, I will miss her deeply. Ever since my first class with her at 8am on my first day of college, she has inspired me to study theology. While she ran a busy life, she always had time to talk and check-in with her students and how they were doing. Sarojini Schutt ’18, who took Womanist Theology with Dr. Douglas, says she really admired her teaching style and wishes she had taken more classes with her. If she, Schutt, could say anything to Dr. Douglas at this moment, she would say, “Thank you! You are brilliant, inspiring, and bring so much light wherever you go.” Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas, Goucher College is going to miss you. Thank you so much for all that you have taught and all you have put into this school; you are phenomenal and there is no replacing you.

Faculty Insider: Prof. Mary Marchand

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“Stories are like events best undergone as a group,” says Prof. Mary Marchand. “They help us broaden our perspectives on life and move past our individual assumption.” Photo Credit: Danielle Brundage

As students, we have all taken classes that have contributed to our understanding of the world at varying levels. Some have been better than others, depending on our interest in the subject matter. If we are lucky, however, we encounter a professor who completely reshapes our understanding of a subject, whether it initially interests us or not. For many Goucher students, Mary Marchand is one such professor.
For 22 years, Prof. Marchand has directed the American Studies program. Goucher was one of the first colleges to offer this radical, interdisciplinary program in 1949, only one year after Yale. With only one core course requirement, the little known major allows students to draw from three different programs in order to define the Americas- its history, its cultures- for themselves. In fact, Prof. Marchand was also the program director for Individualized Interdisciplinary Majors for 10 to 15 years. She thus teaches several literature courses, both as part of the program and the English department.
Prof. Marchand grew up in Minnesota, where she graduated from the University of St. Olaf with a major in English and minor in Philosophy. She earned her Master’s and PhD at the University of Wisconsin. Despite three job offers in very different parts of the country, circumstances brought her to Maryland, where she fell in love with Goucher. “There is a kindness and quirkiness to my students that I really value… like a sort of openness and curiosity,” she explains.
Prof. Marchand believes that literature plays a special role in developing broader perspectives on the world and bridging divides. “Stories are like events best undergone as a group,” she says. “They help us broaden our perspectives on life and move past our individual assumption.” When we delve into the literary world, she explains, “we often read and understand points of view we would normally see as unforgivable.” Literature is meant to break rules, as well as challenge the status quo and ourselves as individuals, a process that Prof. Marchand sees as integral to the college experience. In her opinion, it is especially important in our time when assumptions are being made by the left and right. To her, college is a place to bring conflicting opinions together and experience friction. Yet it also has to be a place where people have the opportunity to participate in open discourse. This is probably the greatest challenge for her as a professor: creating a safe enough space for everyone to have a say while still encouraging a diversity of opinions.
Despite this dilemma, Prof. Marchand’s courses are reputed for their engaging conversations- a term she prefers over the contrived word ‘discussion’. Through these conversations, she explains, “most of the classes kind of just reveal themselves.” For example, students find meaning in an American literary canon often written off as dull and impractical. The key is “to ask the types of questions that lead to better understanding or thinking,”  which is one of many lessons she learned from her favorite professor and role model: her dad. He was a professor of humanities and director of theater at the University of Minnesota. “My dad… loved his work so much. He thought that one of the most important things in the world was to make people fall in love with learning again,” she explains. “[His] special gift was to listen intently.” Just like her father, Prof. Marchand values everyone’s voice in the classroom, earning the appreciation of many of her students.
In addition to her father’s mentoring, teaching for the Goucher Prison Education Program for two and a half years deeply shaped Prof. Marchand’s teaching style. “It was life changing. It was the most meaningful work I’ve ever done.” Working with people largely shut out of education from a very young age, she had to find ways to increase their joy and confidence in learning, separating their anxiety from their coursework. “It made me a better professor.”
When Prof. Marchand isn’t busy teaching classes or grading papers, she loves to cook. “You can see my ribbons there,” she points to her office board, chuckling. “I entered the [Maryland State Fair] contest as a joke one year; my son at the time entered in a logo contest, my husband entered a photo contest, and it kind of became a quirky thing we started doing.” She envisions a Goucher cooking standoff between departments, though she ponders about whom might be the appropriate judges.
She also spends her time between classes researching for her newest project on crime scene photography. Fascinated by early forensics of late 19th century France, she examines how identity was determined at that time using biometrics. She is currently looking for student researchers to join her in this endeavor! Perhaps this is not your primary field of interest, but with the guidance of a dedicated and beloved professor it is sure to be a transformative experience.

Where The Money Goes: A Budget Update

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On Wednesday, April 5th, the Goucher Student Government (GSG) held a Budget Update in an attempt to inform students about the college’s budget and where their money is going. Both GSG and the administration have been making efforts to increase transparency and communication between students and the administration.

Goucher has two budgets: an Operating budget and a Capital budget. Photo credit: Google images

In July 2016, Goucher College hired Malcolm Green-Haynes as Director of Budget and Financial Planning, creating a position that did not previously exist. While Goucher had, more or less, been financially operating  on a “one-day-at-a-time” framework, Green-Haynes is now looking a year ahead, planning next year’s budget. Part of his job involves looking at more long-term strategies for the college’s financial stability and success. Green-Haynes also serves a strategic role as a point person between the Vice Presidents and Senior staff who make budget decisions, and the functional units of the college, such as academic departments, athletics, co-curricular centers, the library, etc. Green-Haynes communicates with each area to see what sort of funding they have had in the past and what they will need in the future. While this type of communication has existed in previous years, it may not have been happening in the same “holistic” and “systematic fashion” said Green-Haynes.
Green-Haynes is very open to talking to students about the budget and hopes to clear up any misconceptions there might be.
“Let’s do a little Budget 101,” he said, when interviewed for this article.

Budget 101
Goucher currently has two budgets–an operating budget and a capital budget. The Operating Budget, at about $65 million, goes toward the day-to-day operating costs that keep the college running: paying for electricity, people to cut the grass, microscopes for the biology department, uniforms for the lacrosse team, etc. The money for the operating budget comes from tuition, room and board, as well as some state assistance and miscellaneous business activities (for example, renting out Kraushaar Auditorium to outside groups). The administration is trying to increase these miscellaneous business activities in the coming years, in order to increase the operating budget but avoid increasing the cost of tuition, or room and board. Freezing the tuition this year was already a big step, a demonstration, Green-Haynes said, that “this administration is committed to accessibility and affordability.” However, the administration was unable to hold the line on room and board “because that would’ve meant pretty significant reductions in expenses, all in the same year,” said Green-Haynes.
Goucher’s other budget, the Capital Budget, goes toward large expenses and fixed assets: buildings, land, large equipment, IT infrastructure, etc. This budget, at about $36.1 million for the upcoming year, is financed by debt and philanthropic support. The Capital Budget currently funds the construction projects. Revenue for these projects comes largely from specific campaigns for alumni donations with the stated purpose of generating money for construction projects. Alumni support for the Capital Budget will not roll over to the operating budget once construction projects are finished, because the fundraising campaigns focus on construction.
“The fundraising base is fairly limited, so once that’s over, it’s over,” said Green-Haynes. However, he also states that there is an alumni support base in the operating budget, consisting of about $2 million.
There have been no major changes in the budget that will directly affect students, faculty, or staff. In fact, the budget for faculty is growing significantly, due in part to the creation of the new centers and the need for new faculty to teach particular classes.
The college also has an endowment of about $200 million. However, rather than dipping into the endowment for large projects, it makes more sense, financially, for Goucher to secure more debt.
“Debt is part of the business portfolio,” said Green-Haynes. “It is necessary to finance these projects to make Goucher more attractive and more modern, for prospective students, and current students.”

For more information
Members of faculty and staff managing expenses are able to view the budget in real time. The budget is not available to the wider Goucher community, most likely for “proprietary reasons,” said Green-Haynes.
“If you google ‘Bard college budget,’ ‘Johns Hopkins college budget,’ you aren’t going to find anything, and that is probably by design,” he said. Green-Haynes wants to make clear that the reason the budget was not on the website was not due to a lack of transparency, but rather, because the college has not yet figured out a way to make the budget visible to students without it being shared outside the community.
Last year, GSG put together a finance committee, with members of GSG Senate, to meet with Malcolm Green-Haynes. These students then passed on what they learned to the student body in the budget update. This year, the committee will be open to the entire student body, not just students from the senate.
“It is a good opportunity to learn about budgeting and finance, and it looks good on a resume,” said Lilith Saylor (‘20), of her involvement in the GSG Finance committee.
To view audited financial statements put together by the Accounting department, from 2007 through 2015, search “Goucher college financial statements” in Google. Malcolm Green-Haynes also welcomes any students interested in the budget or who have more questions to email him at malcolm.greenhaynes@goucher.edu.

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