Student services workgroup plans for final reports

Abbey Whittington, Associate News Editor

Workgroup no. 1, focused on student services, discussed the responses to their recommendations and their plans for how they would change, reaffirm, modify or delete the items in their preliminary report.

Heidi Hawkins, assistant university budget officer, said she wants to meet with all of the departments to make clarifications on the group’s recommendations for outsourcing, specifically with student insurance.

Eric Davidson, interim director of Health Service, said he thinks people have different ideas of what outsourcing is.

“(Outsourcing) is not necessarily having someone external come in and completely take over. It’s like with the technology department,” he said. “Outsourcing a computer program would be, we go to a bender and we get a product that’s already been created, rather than creating something internal.”

He said when using the word outsourcing with student insurance, it means they will outsource the entire department but he thinks the model of the insurance can be looked at.

“Is the model of student insurance that (Eastern) has appropriate and do we need to look at something different?” Davidson said.

Hawkins said she agrees with Davidson that these things should be looked at, but that she would hate to recommend something without making sure the group did their due diligence.

English professor Angela Vietto said there may be information they add to the report after studying the model of student insurance, but she does not think this would change their recommendations.

Davidson asked if this would mean looking at the entire department or just models of student insurance, which are currently already being looked at and if there is a different model that would be more beneficial to Eastern while connecting with the student Health Service.

“There is a draft RFP for a new model that looks at things differently and kind of interconnects the whole service medical clinic with the student insurance and there would be one health fee, and that fee would cover both entities,” Davidson said. “But they’ve just not moved that RFP forward.”

Hawkins said when making a fee structure she was trying to determine if the fees going into student insurance are really mandatory or voluntary.

“(The fee) may make a difference on recruiting purposes on financial aid because I never thought of it as that aspect, whether it’s a mandatory student fee or a voluntary student fee,” Hawkins said. “If it’s a mandatory student fee then it could come down in a financial aid package, but if it’s not then there are different guidelines there.”

Davidson said if Eastern went with a different model, students and their families could be charged premiums, which could not be included in financial aid. He said it would impact recruiting and online students.

Workgroup Chair Rick Roberts, the chair of the department of counseling and student development, recommended modifying the language of the recommendation based on the interview they have regarding student insurance.

Roberts said the group would also have to address Mark Hudson, director of Housing and Dining and his reaction to their recommendations on what to do about the now empty Carman Hall.

“There seems to be the mindset that the actual selling would be difficult because it has some state regulations,” Roberts said. “So other than demolishing I’m not sure what other recommendation we make. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of options.”

Hudson said the hall would either need to be demolished or there would need to be the recruitment of more students.

Roberts said Vietto could talk to Hudson to elaborate on alternative uses of the building other than demolishing.

The final report is due Thursday, Dec. 15 and will go to Eastern President David Glassman.


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