Consensus Opinion: Student-based strategy

The incoming class this fall will be the first at Tech to begin their education under Dr. Peterson. The formation of his 25-year strategic plan is an extraordinary opportunity for Tech students to involve themselves in the future of the Institute, an opportunity that should be taken advantage of.

The Student Experience Survey released this May is a guide to the issues that students and administration should keep in mind, while remaining open to other areas of improvement within the Tech community.

The issues of student life, campus environment and student feedback should be central focuses of the development plan, but students should also weigh in on issues such as campus development and student body growth, issues not touched on by the survey.

The social environment at Tech leaves much to be desired. Students here are a different breed, and in many ways their needs are catered to. The competitive, goal-oriented nature of many students at Tech creates a mature population of students focused on graduation and employment.

While this approach is fantastic for the job market, it doesn’t encourage students to take time away from their resumes to plan and participate in “fun” activities.

The social experience of students after their first-year should be a priority for student leaders and staff. Pre-organized events like GT Night at the Aquarium or Sting Break are one way to encourage students to socialize, and their rampant success illustrates the need for similar outlets. Local arts and culture venues should also be utilized.

The city that we live in could offer much more to students. Departments on campus could partner with local venues to get discounts for students. Any relationships that already exist between Tech and local businesses should be better advertised.

Students also crave more interaction with their professors. Tech has one of the highest student to faculty ratios in the nation, a statistic which must be improved, and many students feel that they can’t approach their professors outside of class.

The typical Tech student was the top of their class in high school, not the student who spent lots of extra-time with their professors. In order to encourage students to interact with faculty, the faculty must meet students half-way.

Events such as “Take a professor to lunch” could be reversed, and professors could take a more active interest in their students as individuals, not just as answer sheets.

Students must be encouraged to submit feedback on the class, and kept abreast of how their feedback is used. Procedures like the end-of-course surveys could be made mandatory, or at least have the results made more directly available to students during registration.

These changes would make Tech an instantly better place while paying dividends in the long-run. It is this long-term growth that must be the key focus of any development plans under Dr. Peterson.

Our Student Center and Library need expansion to deal with our increased student body. Adequate parking and transportation must be provided, especially as streets and walkways close throughout campus.

Campus safety must be prioritized, with a more comprehensive plan developed to accommodate student populations living and commuting from off-campus. Tech has expanded enrollment in the past years, and our planning and policies must expand in kind. Tech must have a predictive plan for growth with expanded services and facilities instead of reacting to new students haphazardly.

The Consensus Opinion reflects the majority opinion of the Editorial Board of the Technique, but not necessarily the opinions of individual editors.