New VP and liberal learning bound for success

The College’s new vice president for student affairs Amy Hecht, whose tenure begins in January, officially introduced herself to the Student Government on Wednesday, Nov. 20 and asked for feedback on current student affairs activities.

Hecht, a south Florida native, has served notable administrative positions at Temple University, Cabrini College and Auburn University before accepting the position here at the College. She realized her passion for student affairs while studying as an undergraduate student at Florida State University.

“I was very involved with (the Student Government Association),” Hecht said. “So (I) became really involved on campus and realized I could spend my whole career working on college campuses and doing what I was already loving to do and get paid for it.”

After listening intently to feedback from SG members — who expressed concern about low attendance at athletic events, a lack of a support network for transfer students and the absence of school-sponsored off-campus Greek housing — Hecht voiced her desire to get to know students at the College.

“My door is always open,” Hecht said. “I work here because I love working with college students, so if you ever want to grab a cup of coffee or a drink, swing by my office and I hope to have time to do that.”

SG also viewed a presentation on the results of the Summer 2013 Assessment of Liberal Learning, which assessed anonymous essays from both FSP classes and senior capstone classes. Business librarian Terrence Bennett and professor of philosophy John Sisko — who presented at the meeting — were part of the five-person committee that read over the essays last summer.

The study involved reading 150 randomly-selected papers — 75 from FSPs and 75 from capstone courses — and scoring them in five categories of critical thinking: evidence, conclusions, context and assumptions, student’s position and explanation of issues. The readers found that, on average, seniors’ papers tend to score much higher in the categories than those of freshmen, suggesting that the academic goals of liberal learning seem to have been met for 2013.

“Between FSPs and capstones, all the lines are sloping upward, meaning that for all of these … five components of critical thinking, the average capstones were scoring much higher than the average FSPs,” Bennett said.

Bennett clarified that the study does not assess the liberal learning program itself, but rather whether the goals of liberal learning are being met.

“Liberal learning has a lot of goals, one of which is to improve students’ writing skills,” he said. “We’re not measuring whether liberal learning works … what we’re attempting to measure are whether the outcomes of liberal learning seem to be achieved.”

Chief Information Officer Jerry Waldron, from Information Technology explained the results of the annual I.T. survey, which was sent out to students in November. 95 percent of the suggestions from the survey were about Wi-Fi, Waldron said.

“Wireless is (a priority) that we have put a lot of work into,” Waldron said. “By the end of this year, there should be only one academic building left that isn’t completely wireless.”

Waldron said that many residence halls on campus were set up with Wi-Fi this year as well.

“Cromwell went wireless this summer,” Waldron said. “E.A.B. as well. Norsworthy is coming up next after that.”

Waldron also mentioned the status of the College’s contract with Verizon, which currently does not have a cell tower in the area.

“Verizon is not on campus,” Waldron said. “Verizon will be on campus. We’ve been negotiating with them. We’re in the contract stage right now… so that will put us in a good position. Between that and the additional wireless … we’ll have the connectivity that we’ll need.”