Friday, February 3, 2012

Advisment to the faculty?

The DE reported the other day on a change in the works to shift some advising responsibilities from academic advisors to faculty.  The Provost quickly enough shot down the story in an email sent to deans (and pasted below). The story has arisen thanks to a report on campus advising by an outside consultant (embedded below).  This report is highly critical--critical of what it termed a "chaos model" of campus advising, with a particular weakness in advising for pre-major students. The report (which I've just skimmed) does briefly discuss the advisory role of faculty, but only as a very secondary matter, as something warranting further study.  Money quote:  "This report does not focus on the role of faculty advisors or the potential for further development of faculty advising at SIU" (p. 11).

So unless there are internal plans afoot that I'm not privy to, I don't think there's any real problem here from a faculty perspective. And while the report was critical of advising on campus, it was careful not to be critical of advisors, who are by and large doing all they can in what the report characterizes as very poor conditions. Advisors have to spend far too much of their time negotiating paperwork and arbitrary and unclear campus requirements and policies.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Murky enrollment numbers et al.

I've been busy with more pressing & official service work during the last week, so haven't posted.  Today I'll mainly just flag a couple of stories to provide a venue for comments.

I can't fully cut through the spin around enrollment numbers. We have 322 fewer students than last spring. The Chancellor is quoted as saying that the numbers are better than expected, but I don't quite follow her logic. She says that she expected at loss of about 360 students, given small class sizes (where class refers to things like the class of 2012, for example).  But the newspaper stories don't fill in her logic; there are all sorts of possible complications regarding expectations. And of course the administration focuses on the good news stories, noting colleges that are up (especially MCMA), but not analyzing the losses, leading one to suspect they are, as we would expect, putting out the most positive version of the story.  I if my math is correct, we were down 220 students last fall (fall 2011 vs. fall 2010), so one would expect this spring to be down only 220, if we suffered no losses in addition to the losses normal over the fall/spring transition (via graduation and attrition). It thus looks like we lost 100 more students this spring. 

There is also of course the larger context: the Southern notes that John A. Logan enrollment was down 5%. The success or failure of our recruiting & retention has to be measured in some large part by how well or badly our peers are doing (where I mean, mainly, Illinois universities rather than community colleges).

At any rate, we'll see what the Chancellor tells the faculty senate; at our last meeting she was frank about enrollment looking down.

Enrollment in the DE

Enrollment in the Southern

Pensions in the Southern

Program review in the DE (note the open forum on Thursday from 1-2:00 in the library auditorium)