The student government at Goucher recently was re-named and re-organized into the Goucher Student Government (GSG). While the reaction to the new government has been mixed, it’s important to note that it is made up of many committees, each with its own purpose, and the majority of which most students are unaware of. Many of the committees are made up of both staff and student members who strive to do what they believe is best for Goucher College.
One of the committees is the Faculty Committee, which is comprised of two smaller committees: the Academic Policy Committee and the Curriculum Committee. The Academic Policy Committee deals with anything to do with admissions, financial aid, class schedules, and records, though according to Chair of Faculty Committee, Scott Sibley, the committee has been focusing on “schedules and credit loads.” The Curriculum Committee is responsible for “approving new courses, changes to existing majors, minors and programs, proposals for new majors,” according to Provost Marc Roy, who is one of the staff members of the Curriculum Committee. The Committee is also responsible for approving courses for L.E.R. requirements that aren’t taken at Goucher that may not be a clear substitute. This is particularly true for students who are trying to fulfill L.E.R. while they are studying abroad.
The Academic Policies Committee has eight members and currently doesn’t have any students serving, but normally has two student representatives. The Curriculum Committee has nine members, two of which are student members. This year, the serving students are Samuel Kessler ’16 and Hannah Painter ’17. Kessler has served on the committee since his freshman year, while this is Painter’s first year on the committee. Last year, Kessler was the only representative.
Students on the committees used to be chosen by the SGA, but since the change in the government, there seems to have been issues in finding new students. Kessler explained that he personally selected Painter to be the second student on the committee, as he is going abroad next semester and did not want to leave the committee without a student representative. “I would love for all committees to be as diverse as possible. I picked somebody as different from me as I could,” Kessler explained. Painter, is indeed his opposite. Kessler is a male, humanities student in his junior year while Painter is a female math major in her sophomore year. He also chose her, also because he wanted to be able to represent as many student views at Goucher as he could.
GSG has not been as proactive in finding students to cover the spots in the committees as the former SGA had. According to Kessler, the SGA sent out an e-mail during his freshman year asking any interested students to send an email. This year, no such e-mail was sent out, so Kessler had to do it on his own.
Painter wasn’t aware of the committee’s existence until Kessler told her about the open position, but she said, “it was really cool to be involved” with the staff on the committee. She talked about her very first meeting where one of the topics of discussion was adding a new class to the curriculum, whether it was a good idea to add more classes, and if it was necessary.
Information on the committees is rather difficult to find. The single website dedicated to the committees is outdated, and the staff members of the committee didn’t know about who the students on the committee were. The names of the faculty members on the committees were difficult to find as well. A student who is curious about how the college works would be hard-pressed to find information on them without e-mailing several staff members and members of the GSG.
When asked why they thought this, Kessler said, “The only reason for students to know about this [the Curriculum Committee] is for them to know about the L.E.R. they need fulfilled. Sibley said he believed it simply wasn’t a thing that crosses many students’ minds, “When I was a student, I had no idea of the faculty committees at my schools too.”
Roy agreed with the statement and stated that “It wasn’t part of my life.” All involved would like to see more students getting involved with the committees as the suggestions would help them decide what students at Goucher would like and need most.
Both faculty members would also like students to know that professors are required to be on a committee and they all take their roles “very seriously.” Roy, is on several of the committees at Goucher including the Budget-Planning Committee, the Faculty Committee and has a representative on the Academic Policies Committee. Sibley is also the chair on the Faculty Committee.