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“These types of forums help us hone in on what the Vision 2.0 priorities should be,” Tracy Green said during this semester’s President’s Forum. Green is the vice president of strategic and institutional development.
The President’s Forum, organized by Student Senate, allowed students to discuss how to improve campus life, what the University Partnership’s future function should be and how to help students decide on a program and complete it. Dr. Roy Church, president of LCCC, met with students to discuss the college’s Vision 2.0. Though Merriam Webster defines a forum as a public meeting for open discussion, the there were three specific topics students could give input on.
As part of LCCC’s Vision 2.0, post the passing of Issue 2, Church outlined the need
to reduce the time students take to complete their degree. The vision entails focusing on students and shape programs to cater to their varied needs. He maintained that the “University Partnership program is here to stay. Especially after the way the community supported us in Issue 2.”
Keeping tuition low and providing student loans in a cost effective way were key values that Church wanted to continue at the college.
“Look at the tuition rates across the state of Ohio, Lorain County Community College has the second-lowest tuition rate in the state. Students get a great opportunity to build a base through the associates degree and maybe even higher,” explained Church. “Because remember, any of the bachelor degree programs through the University Partnership are three plus one programs, where you take three years at of the coursework out of our curriculum and our tuition rates and one year on the university’s curriculum at the university’s tuition rates. We’re making education affordable and helping you reduce the potential for debt coming out of a college education.”
Church directed members to pay particular attention to specific priorities such as college budgets. By 2020, 60% of all jobs will require a college education. Ohio ranks in the bottom seven States, having an average college debt of $28,693. According to Church, “Making student loans is important, but more important is making education affordable and decreasing the potential of debt.”
Every student was instructed to sit at a table that would discuss one of the three topics for ten minutes. An LCCC staff member with a laptop typed student comments into a document that was shared at the end of the discussion. After the allotted time was up, students switched seats and moved on to a different topic.
“People who come [to these presidential forums] tend to participate more.” said Church. “It’s one of the vehicles we use to get student input. Students love to have their voices heard, including more introverted students.” Students tend to share their advice with their peers, generating even more feedback as a result.
At the end of the discussion, approved comments on each topic were shared on the screen. For promoting student engagement, comments included addressing transportation, arranging better homecoming and welcome week events, and promoting clubs better. Student comments on University Partnership included acquiring more less-popular degrees, recruiting faculty to promote the partnership and educating employers about what graduates have to offer.
Comments on program completion included mandatory meetings with advisers, educating students about careers paths and providing more information about salary options.
Though only a few comments were displayed for the students in attendance, Church said the remaining comments would be reviewed and showed to administrators who were involved in Vision 2.0 and Student Life administrators.
Commodore Books and More provided raffle prizes for students in attendance, including water bottles, Commodore sweatshirts and Skull Candy headphones.
Valerie Morris, Kimberly Teodecki, Brenna Shippy, Aaron Lazar, Karl Schneider, Sonal Dhiman and April Fuentes contributed to this article.