The first Senate Meeting of the year was held in The Alumni Room of O’Malley Library on Tuesday, Sept. 16. Senate meetings are open to all members of the Manhattan College community. The following key topics were discussed:
New Freshman Class and Appropriate Size of the School
This year 750 new freshmen and 168 transfer students joined Manhattan College. A geographically diverse class, 31 percent are also the first in their family to attend college. Additionally, approximately 35 percent are students of color. President Brennan O’Donnell described this is a “a good, solid recruiting year.” With a large class, questions arise about what size the college should aim to be in the future. “We are looking to recruit incoming classes in the neighborhood of 800 students,” O’Donnell said. It was noted that residence halls on campus are currently at roughly 98 percent capacity.
“The opening of the Commons is an exciting moment for the community,” O’Donnell said. Although the new building is already being extensively used, it has not yet been formally dedicated. An official ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled for Oct. 15. During his opening remarks to the Senate, O’Donnell highlighted specifically the Multi-Cultural Student Center, Center for Social Action Social Learning and Wellness and Fitness Center now housed in the building. “We are almost through the process of raising the money for the Kelly Commons,” O’Donnell said. “It was the strongest fundraising year we have had in a long time.” Currently, a total of 42.2 million dollars has been dedicated to meeting the building costs of the Commons.
Campus Master Plan
A town hall meeting is scheduled for Sept. 30 regarding the ongoing Campus Master Plan study. The Campus Master Plan is a process designed to review information and possibilities for how campus facilities will be utilized and expanded within the next 20 years. O’Donnell remarked that the completion of the Student Commons marks the capstone of the historical transformation of the college from a commuter to residential institution. This transformation includes past facilities projects of Horan Hall, East Hill (soon to be officially renamed to Lee Hall on Sept. 18), the parking garage and O’Malley Library. “The opening of the commons represents an exclamation point on the last 20 years of the college,” O’Donnell said.
As part of his report to the Senate for the Educational Affairs Commission, Provost William Clyde commented on the nature of course evaluations at the college. This semester a small group of faculty will be operating a pilot program for completing course evaluations online instead of with pen and paper. Online course evaluations are expected to be implemented on a wider scale for the Spring 2015 semester. It is unclear yet whether the online evaluations will be completing during or outside of scheduled class periods. Currently, pen and paper evaluations are completed during class time.