Faculty discusses upcoming issues and agenda

Forty faculty members attended the second faculty meeting of the semester last Friday as President Dennis Hanno introduced the topics for discussion and the faculty members then shared updates on subjects addressed in past meetings.

Hanno discussed a new grant program that would benefit faculty, staff and students. The grant will make funding of up to one thousand dollars available for programs that focus on inclusion and diversity.

“We really feel that it is important to give the students a chance to share with all of us their views on the stakes of inclusion and diversity on campus,” said Hanno.

The president also announced there would be moderated sessions with an outside party over the next several months about the climate on campus. According to the president, this will ensure that students have the ability to share with a neutral party the occurrences in residence halls, classrooms, organizations and the overall social environment on campus.

These issues will be further explored in faculty-led discussions on ‘Mental Health Issues in the Classroom’ with the support of Associate Dean of Students and Director of Counseling and Health Services Jeff Klug.

Hanno also unveiled the intended recipients of honorary degrees for the 2015 graduation. The group of faculty, staff and students in charge of identifying potential recipients of the degree selected three candidates: Dr. Steven Hawler, former NASA astronaut, professor of physics and astronomy and director of engineering physics at the University of Kansas; Lisa Szarkowski ’90, vice president of public advocacy and strategic communications at the U.S. Fund for UNICEF; and Virginia Weil ’65, retired senior vice president of the Business Council for International Understanding and a former trustee.

Vice President of Enrollment and Dean of Admission and Student Aid, Grant Gosselin, then spoke about enrollment and admissions for the term, which saw a 7.5% increase over the last year. Gosselin also spoke of the admitted students day scheduled for April 10. According to Gosselin, the event will be executed with a strategic focus on the most popular areas of academia indicated by applicants in order to showcase these disciplines to prospective students and their parents. The academic showcase, along with the club and organization fair, will showcase the “vibrancy of the academic community,” said Gosselin.

Also discussed at the meeting were the kick-off sessions for the strategic planning process. The results and feedback from faculty and staff events will be refined by the Strategic Planning Task Force and a series of lunches will be held to make roomfor members of the Wheaton community to participate in identifying top priorities.

Hanno also announced that the Board of Trustees will be on campus on Feb. 27. He elaborated on ‘table talks’ that would create opportunities for faculty to interact in a meaningful way with the trustees and participate in an intensive dialogue with them.