Students Air Concerns About Academic Policies and Family Housing

By SHASHEEN BALATCHE

Santa Fe—Their current class grade and family housing issues are the number one areas of concern that IAIA students voiced at February meetings.

A “small, but vocal group” of 20 students repeatedly expresses their concerns to ASG about what they call “ambiguous, inconsistent academic standards,” Brian Fleetwood, Associated Student Government vice-president, told faculty at their Feb. 11 meeting.

Fearing repercussions, students don’t want to be identified, he said.

Fleetwood said students have complained to ASG officers that they don’t know at any given time what their grade is. Their concerns include the following:

1. Grading feedback is unclear:
— Procedures are ambiguous;
—Teachers have very different standards;
—Some students did not know their grades on assignments.

2. Not much is expected of students:
— Rather than providing essential knowledge and skills, professors were trying to keep students enrolled.

3. Essential Studies are “elementary,” not challenging.

4. Attendance policy is inconsistently applied.

The students expressing these concerns fear they will be unprepared for graduate studies.

The Faculty Council was “impressed” that students raised this issue, said Faculty Council Chair Steve Wall, “Often faculty members don’t hear the kind of statements that ASG made.”

The Council directed Educational Standards, the faculty standing committee which has the responsibility to investigate these issues, to look into this matter.

“One concern was that without more specific allegations, we will not be able to fully address the issues,” Wall told the Chronicle.

What’s My Current Grade?

Students would like to know where they stand in class and not have to wait for two points in every semester—mid-term and finals—to find out, said Blue Tarpalechee, ASG president.

“It is important that students know where they stand in class,” Wall said.

“Each student who is concerned about their grade needs to approach their professor and to realize that the professor will have to figure out the grade, because we all have several different things that we base the grade on.”

Determining a grade at an “exact point” in the semester can be challenging and takes time, he said.

Students also have complained about the cost of books being too high for them to purchase and that they feel “short changed,” Tarpalechee said.

In response, Wall said, “This is a problem that students in all colleges and universities, and some high schools, face. We do our best to hold down the number of required books, and many of us provide articles and other materials rather than have the student buy the book.

“All of us faculty were students once and understand the financial burden of buying books, but there are times that it must be done.”

Wall advised students to think of it as an investment in their future and to remember that most textbooks can be sold back at the end of the semester.

“I realize that this answer may not provide much comfort, but there is a reality to getting a college education and the benefits of that education. Unfortunately, it does not come cheap.”

Family Housing Issues Prompt Call For Lower Rent

At the Feb. 23 ASG meeting, students raised problems in family housing. Jessie Bennett said the roof in her family casita is leaking. Donna Hall added that her eleven-year-old daughter is so cold at night because the heat is not working.

The wireless that was installed last semester is not working, Hall also said.

Bennett said that the rent should be lowered due to the problems.

“I was surprised to hear that the heater was not working and the ceiling leaking,” Housing Director Carol Reed said.

The problems had not been reported to her this semester. Students are turning in work orders directly to James Mason, facilities director, she said. She only learned of the problems at a meeting with family housing students on March 3.

“At the March 3 meeting, we made an extensive list of the issues raised by family housing students, met with James, and all issues now have a time line and projected date of repair or replacement.”

The leaking patio roof and the heaters have been fixed, she said.

Got Wireless?

A large wireless transmitter had been installed to the wall of the old cafeteria for those apartments farthest from the transmitter. Facilities put a router in one student room to eliminate the problem.

A continuing wireless problem was not reported at the March 3 meeting, Reed said, and she didn’t know about it until hearing about the Feb. 23 ASG meeting.

“I do know that the IT Department is now working on reinstalling the equipment necessary to reactivate all of the apartments’ internet hookups,” she said.

“We have scheduled a follow up meeting with family residents on the 30th, and we plan to continue monthly meetings to address any new issues that arise,” she said.

Family Housing students can do three things to have their family house fixed:

1. Fill out a work order that is available in front of the coordinator’s apartment in housing.
2. Go to any student life staff.
3. Go directly to facilities.

The issue of lower rent is still being discussed.

Evelina Zuni Lucero and Jon Davis contributed to this story.

Copyright © IAIA CHRONICLE 2010

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