Student Session, February 22, 2019

Question 1: What are two of the key disruptions facing Stetson? These can be within any aspect of our operation: student demand, faculty and staff, learning environment, the financing of higher education, etc. 

  • Financing of higher education; student loans; more needs to be done to ensure that students, not only on this campus but on campuses across the country, are able to properly help students meet their financial needs; students and parents are always worried about how to pay; financing can't keep going on the current trajectory.
  • Threat of student loan payments coming directly from a paycheck in an unfavorable job market.
  • Cost of higher education; increasing costs for private colleges with flat family incomes; pricing is unsustainable in a generation making on average far less than those previously.
  • Financial outlook of the country – if we head back into a recession, will students want to carry or place that financial burden on themselves or their parents?
  • What is Stetson doing to help students with the constant rising cost of living and education? Is Stetson worth the cost in all areas (housing, food, education, campus life)?
  • Economic crash/crisis – higher ed bubble burst; student loan bubble burst.
  • Birth rates.
  • Technology.
  • Government regulations.
  • Globalism.
  • Oversaturation of higher education which decreases the value of a degree.
  • Learning environment – Since most students live on campus, I believe we are always in our learning environment. That being said, it should be safe, comfortable, and have enough entertainment to be able to relax comfortably.
  • The ability of students to find employment after pursuing higher education.
  • The tension between preparing the student for a career and preparing them for careers.
  • Startup trends where it looks cooler to skip college and start a company (like Mark Zuckerberg).
  • Whether or not degrees from bricks and mortar universities will be valuable in 10-20 years. What if people will be able to get degrees online while paying much less?
  • How well-managed and successful the programs are that are offered.
  • Value of degrees.
  • Lack of academic resources/investments in K-12 so that students are prepared for college work as it is currently taught. And, the need to change how we teach to match modern learning styles.
  • High school to college transition and how that affects retention rates.
  • Diversification (ideas, finance, racial, etc.) of the student population and meeting their needs.
  • State/government changing policies.
  • Increasing demand for specific experiences that lead to jobs.
  • How we learn; how we educate; how we collaborate.
  • Lack of connection among different entities across campus. We have the resources, we just don't promote them the best.
  • Lack of privilege for students of color.
  • Retention of students of color in terms of cultural spaces.
  • More diverse staff.
  • Faculty staff divide; not a good relationship with the faculty/staff in student's specific area of study.
  • Involvement – keeping the students more informed on things going on on-campus.
  • A rapid expansion of the student population with the growth of the number of students attending college.
  • Demand for more students ruins the “small class” size and living situations.
  • Inclusion! Inclusion and truly supporting and standing by different diverse groups on campus.
  • The increasing cost of tuition could divide a student's focus on money rather than on education.
  • Equal funding to each major department.
  • Accessibility for all.
  • An influx of students with an aptitude for college vs. campus size.
  • Maintaining a public (social media) presence in the high-speed digital age, especially outside of Florida (makes more reputable over time giving value to degree).
  • Cost-effectiveness of adjunct faculty versus tenure/tenure-track.
  • Changing the view of “success” and “significance.”
  • All education is being shared online. It's convenient to learn through the internet (for free).
  • Diversity/belonging.
  • Connections between students and faculty/staff.
  • Student demand for required courses on history – history of the area where the campus is located.
  • Politics.
  • Media misrepresentation.
  • A disconnect between academia and the marketplace.
  • Relevant and desirable academic programs because of the rapidly changing job market; lack of development/updating of the curriculum.
  • Meeting student demands and expectations.
  • The competition between online programs vs. traditional residential campus.
  • Large focus on mainstream universities, such as UF, FSU, ivy leagues, etc., brings disillusionment to a smaller campus.
  • Modern technology leading to students being busier and always being connected to school work and other obligations, causing more stress and less desire to do work.
  • Rapid change in world/tech/jobs means each major doesn't go to a specific job, and each job has multiple avenues to arrive at. De-emphasize a one routeway for everything.
  • The disruptive impact of near-future technology, AI in higher education, simulation.
  • Political and social “assumptions” about higher ed.
  • Devaluation of university degrees.
  • Future value of a degree – by this, I mean the institution must account for a student's life beyond their walls. If there is a perception of loss of quality of life/job potential, students will not come.
  • Expansion in a locked community.
  • Smaller schools, like Stetson, have to limit what they are able to teach. Can prompt people not to choose a school or force them to leave.
  • An undergraduate degree is the new high school degree.

Question 2: What is one key strategy for Stetson to enable us to be successful in confronting the near term (2019-20) future? 

  • Ensure all program departments receive representation.
  • Unify across the diverse entire student body to stand as a unit . . . maybe a “FOCUS-esque” activity for upperclassmen to maintain unity/rapport.
  • Consider info kiosks around campus with controlled info shared on it (probably like stuff on Stetson Today).
  • Teach to the technology side of the world. Technology is advancing at a blistering pace, and to stay relevant, we must equip students with the tools to use it and succeed.
  • Offer online degrees (worldwide).
  • Generate a working definition of “success” and bring it beyond the financial, medical, and legal sectors.
  • Generate more positive communication between faculty, staff, and administration. Be transparent with students.
  • Use FOCUS week to better advertise campus resources.
  • Increase effectiveness of offices and facilities.
  • Expand the curriculum for financial literacy:
    • How to pay back loans.
    • How to prepare for retirement.
    • Buying a house, car, etc.
  • Make diverse subjects mandatory, Africana Studies a major, not minor.
  • Orientations should require diversity training.
  • Expand Gen Ed requirements to “fit with the times.” For example, courses in communications, marketing, diverse historical studies, things to go along with a student's area of interest to help them succeed better in “life after college.”
  • Activate the energy and innovation of young faculty.
  • Get students, faculty, and staff to get outside their boxes and do something different.
  • Improve cooperation between different groups on campus, maybe through more cultural credit activity. Have more talks about the current world we live in through cultural credit events.
  • Campus-wide campaigns through social media.
  • Give recognition for solving a complex problem.
  • Applied Artistry Program – confront overflow of creative talent.
  • App – as relevant as Canvas.
  • Continue focus on diversity and inclusion. For example, Hillel was done very well this year. Continue initiatives like this.
  • Be better known in the marketplace of prospective students to increase demand!
  • Work for better communication between major departments of the school.
  • Need a performance hall for music majors to perform in.
  • Need more knowledge for students on what Stetson offers on campus.
  • Allow students to take classes with new people for connecting with other students.
  • Provide more diverse events for students during the weekends.
  • Need better connections with the counseling center.
  • Encourage conversations and discussions that allow others to learn about cultures and experiences that are different from their own.
  • Upgrade campus life here at Stetson. It is an important factor in not only retaining students but bringing in more students. Things like more fun events on campus for students, which would make the cost seem worth it to students. When tuition is as expensive as it is, dorm life should absolutely be improved. The recreational areas should be upgraded and the food options for a late night should be expanded. These changes would contribute to the safety of our students. If we have to leave for food, fun, and recreation, it raises the chances of unsafe situations (especially being here in DeLand).
  • Diversity & Inclusion: A larger emphasis on students uniting on campus. We can be more successful in making this happen by promoting the events or holding more events. But, this may be an issue that students can take up themselves and work together to be a more united student body.
  • Provide more help with financial aid. If there is no possibility to help the students currently struggling with money, then show us where the money is. Scholarship workshops to help them earn the money that they may need to continue to stay.
  • Provide more knowledge of student resources/scholarships and job opportunities.
  • Fix PSafe.
  • Whom do we talk to about parking?
  • Be more open to/relevant to attract transfer students.
  • Keep students more informed about campus events, especially for commuters and those who have busy schedules.
  • Continue administrative presence and support with athletes at meetings/events/competitions. Having administrative support helps athletes feel supported by the higher-ups at the university.
  • Increase awareness of tutoring resources. I am a public health tutor, and I often have no one attend sessions, possibly because people simply do not know when it is offered.
  • Keep faculty and staff happy with each other.
  • Improve academic advising – flexibility of curriculum.
  • Certain programs are neglected.
  • Make operations efficient.
  • Create more pathways for experiential and interdisciplinary learning.
  • Expand cultural experiences through the recruitment of international students.
  • Focus on operational excellence:
    • People are good.
    • Ideas are big.
    • Application lacks.
  • Diversity of education: Your major funnels you into one area; classes not offered every term, or at the right time, or enough sections.
  • WORLD office discombobulated.

Question 3: What is one key strategy for Stetson to enable us to be successful in confronting the middle term (3 years) future? 

  • Build a performance hall for music and theater departments. It will further the arts programs in their individual developments/respects for their longevity.
  • Meal swipe variety and more options for Hatterbucks.
  • Provide more options for dietary needs.
  • Update housing.
  • Continue renovations on older buildings with new paint jobs, better common areas, with more amenities to encourage interactions with residents, and make other repairs.
  • Update of technology and resources.
  • Develop a health science program that prepares students to get high-paying medical field jobs upon graduation. This will increase the demand for a Stetson education.
  • 3-year degree.
  • Improve student announcement communication.
  • Improve career/talent pipelines.
  • Develop more study-abroad programs to reduce spring bed and classroom vacancies.
  • Enough parking for the number of students.
  • Offer engineering programs.
  • If the campaign of growth continues, we need more space – residence halls, parking, etc. But, there is no space – we need to begin thinking about the kind of campus we are/are striving to be. Consolidation of the student body to focus on academic/general excellence over wealth.
  • Generate a working definition of “significant” and “success” to better understand the student body we want to attract.
  • Build another residence hall.
  • Job placement would bring students here.
  • Create more graduate programs for a pathway from undergraduate – 4 + 1/3+2.
  • On-campus living policies.
  • Advising with faculty who are aware of policies and catalogs.
  • Event focused for each class.
  • I've spoken with many students who feel that Stetson works harder to get new students than to keep current students. While I don't believe this is true, I think Stetson should invest time and money into renovating places where students spend a lot of time, like the residence halls.
  • Need a program to help students learn more about continuing their educations.
  • Create a larger umbrella for all student-led organizations in order to promote cohesion and unity within the student body. Bring together SGA, the Honor Council, and Athletic organizations, etc.
  • Promote Stetson more by doing more events to bring recognition.
  • Partner with medical schools for pre-med students.
  • Promote engagement in the DeLand community to help ease our expansion and local impact.
  • Have events that involve students with those involved in higher education to improve the relationship between administration and students.
  • Create interdisciplinary taught courses based in problems.
  • The student body has changed from two years ago and so have the needs. Do a climate survey this upcoming academic year; use the result to guide changes. Have more follow-up on this second climate survey than there was on the first.
  • Improve academic advising (good advisors).
  • Diversity & Inclusion Center with different facilities for different identities, but that does not segregate groups.
  • Make all cultures feel welcomed and appreciated on campus. Possibly through something like a culture fair or doing events that reflect on different cultural holidays (like Black and Hispanic History months).
  • Have more places for people to express their identities, like Hillel. Places that create a home and make people want to go back.
  • Continue application of academics and academic programs to real-world scenarios, problems, etc.

Question 3 (Dot Exercise): What is one key strategy for Stetson to enable us to be successful in confronting the middle term (3 years) future?

(Participants were asked to prioritize strategies by placing a dot next to it.  Numbers indicate how many dots were placed.) 

Improve career and talent pipelines.


Provide a performing arts space.


Link real-world experiences to class learning (experiential learning).


Improve academic advising resources/orientation for your major.


Make all cultures welcome.


Improve communications.


Increase engagement in DeLand.


Have department meetings with students.


Increase cultural events and engagements.


Have a program for students thinking of grad school.


Improve residence options; update housing.


Have more discussions/events to engage administration/students.


Form partnerships with medical schools and facilities.


Create student organization umbrella.


Define “Significance” and “Success.”


Bring back climate survey.


Expand Hatterbucks system.


More impact on the curriculum.


Have class-specific events.


Invest in info kiosks.


Have events that promote Stetson's reputation.


Build another residence hall/explore additional housing.



Question 4: How can we (all parts of the university) work better together to achieve outcomes that help Stetson thrive? 

  • We need to make sure everyone has an equal voice and a platform where everyone can voice their concerns.
  • Have cooperation across departments.
  • Newsletter for all departments.
  • Reach out to our fellow Hatters. Avoid hiding within our respective departments.
  • Dream, articulate and take action.
  • Hold large scale debates.
  • Hold large scale drives/campaigns with all groups – a student organization town hall meeting.
  • More cultural credits with faculty and across majors/disciplines.
  • Improve communication efforts.
  • Connect our academic, residential, and social experiences through programming and collaboration.
  • Pay more attention to the different diversity and inclusion clubs that are present at Stetson.
  • Work with the clubs and organizations on campus.
  • Introductions with non-academic staff and faculty.
  • Still be inclusive after FOCUS week.
  • Always aspire for excellence and support for trying to go to the next level.
  • We can become more technologically advanced, offering more online versions of some classes.
  • Have all university gatherings (e.g., Wednesdays, 4:00 – 6:00 p.m., with dinner – barbecue/picnic)
  • Working with other institutions to achieve outcomes that are at the county, state, national, and world level.
  • Documenting cultural credit sessions for students who are unable to attend.
  • A smoother connection between student-run orgs and the administration.
  • Blackboard, HatterSync, and Outlook need to be easier to navigate and use.
  • Refining the course evaluation process/design to be more specific in feedback.
  • Listen to each others' concerns and try to fix them as a team/university.
  • “Welcome back” events after big school breaks (winter/summer breaks).
  • Have fairs/sessions that bring people together (faculty, staff, and students).
  • Have operational tours, including tours that will help commuters, knowing the space we study in and for some of us who live on campus.
  • If we standardize the operations here on campus (the process faculty, staff, and students need to carry out all of their duties and to access guiding resources), we would have clear guidelines that would provide our community with the structural organization we need to thrive.
  • Have more communication of events and happenings around campus and DeLand. It could be done with a better-developed app that people check often.
  • Communicate!
  • Give all aspects of the university an equal voice in relevant issues.
  • Shared governance.
  • Have sessions like this more often and actually start the action steps to make the plan happen. SMART goals for each year.
  • Permeate more school spirit and pride to allow for more inclusiveness and belonging among students, faculty and staff.
  • Class events that are throughout the four-year experience. Outside of freshman (FOCUS) and senior (Senior Week).
  • Academic advising.
  • More sessions like these to hear feedback and Apply action to improve.