On Wednesday, Nov. 28, President Donald Bachand hosted an open forum to hear concerns and answer questions from students.
Bachand said he uses the information gained from the President’s Forums to see what the university could be doing better.
“Generally, I have them so I can keep track of what’s bothering people … (and) identify issues that can be fixed that we didn’t know anything about. I find them very useful,” Bachand said.
At the forum, students brought up issues including access to the Counseling Center, their professors not using Canvas and a requirement for classes in the music program.
“It seems to be a trend where students are more open to dealing with the issues with other people – professional counseling staff – than they were in days gone by,” Bachand said. “So, the number of visits tends to be growing quicker than our staff can accommodate, so we are trying to develop a strategy to accommodate all the students that have concerns and have issues to bring them forward. It is on our radar, and we intend to address the issue immediately.”
Student input is valued by the university administration, Bachand said.
“I have been interested in what’s on students’ minds these days, what’s bothering them,” Bachand said. “Not necessarily about what they like or dislike, but I’m just interested in the issues that they’re dealing with.”
After the president’s open forum, inquiry is done to see what problems can be solved easily and what problems need a plan to solve. Student attendance at the president’s forum varies depending on the time of the semester and what kind of issues students are seeing.
“This year, just this semester, we moved it to this location [the Unity Room] thinking that might generate more student attendance,” said J.J. Boehm, the director of media and community relations.
The president’s open forum isn’t the only way that students have communication with Bachand. He also meets with the leaders of Student Association every other week about concerns from the student body.
“I meet with the student government president every other week,” Bachand said. “I ask her the same questions that I ask folks here.”
Bachand holds the open forum once monthly each semester. The next president’s open forum will be held in January after the winter semester begins.