Workgroup No. 1 discusses student services

Abbey Whittington, Associate News Editor

Workgroup No. 1, focusing on student services, met Thursday to discuss what resources can be defined as student services beyond student affairs and if they are going to expand on them.

Rick Roberts, the chairman of the workgroup, said since student services has a broad umbrella of topics to discuss, the group needs to figure out what specific services to look over.

The workgroup decided it will focus on Career Services; Community Service and Civic Engagement Programs; Fraternity and Sorority Programs; Health Service; New Student Programs; student affairs; student housing, including Housing and Dining Services; Student Legal Services; student life; the Student Recreation Center; Student Standards; the University Police Department, the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union; and Textbook Rental Service.

The student services group also added disability services, student success, financial aid, minority affairs, academic advising and testing services, more specifically placement testing, into the list of services they want to work on.

For Health Service, Workgroup No.1 will focus on the Health Education Resource Center, Counseling Center and Student Health Insurance. Regarding New Student Programs, it will focus on the Military Student Assistance Center.

Minority affairs were also discussed, which members said may overlap when talking about financial aid and enrollment.

Kallee Peebles-Tomes, a student workgroup member, and Hugo Escobar, also a student workgroup member, will be interviewing students about the services and how they could be improved.

Roberts said he wanted Peebles-Tomes and Escobar to interview a diverse group of students, including but not limited to athletes, members of the Student Government and many more so they could have several perspectives.

Heidi Hawkins, assistant university budget officer, said she wants Peebles-Tomes and Escobar to ask students about the questions they have on student services when they were looking at colleges.

Hawkins and Peter Andrews, a mathematics and computer science professor, will look over data for the university’s budget and make suggestions for how it should be used for student services.

Each department will also be asked about how to improve student services.

Roberts said he wants to prompt each department to think outside of their own areas and more about what sister institutions do.

“We want to make sure when students are leaving and graduating they are confident in their field and want to recruit,” Hawkins said.

Workgroup No. 1 will meet again in two weeks to discuss which services will be their priorities, then meet again after that to prepare a draft of recommendations to get to Eastern President David Glassman by Nov. 1.

After Nov. 1, the workgroup plans to look over the responses to the recommendations and decide where to go from there.

Hawkins said with the short timeline they have to come up with a plan on how to improve student services, the group needs to make recommendations for longer times to look into each service.

“I’ve never met anyone who wasn’t interested in helping EIU,” Roberts said. “There’s a lot of positive energy.”

Abbey Whittington can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]