Workgroup No. 8 approved its final recommendation report

Kalyn Hayslett, Editor in Chief

All members present during Workgroup No. 8’s meeting Friday afternoon approved its final recommendation report.
The members were united with a majority of the recommendations, however, the members still created a minority report about the workgroup’s suggestions regarding new and modified programs. Workgroup Chair Jeff Stowell said he would submit the recommendations to Eastern President David Glassman at the end of the meeting.
Workgroup members were not given a specific date on when Glassman will provide them with feedback on the recommendations, Ryan Hendrickson, interim dean of the graduate school and chair of the vitalization project task force, said.

According to the vitalization project’s website, Glassman will examine the recommendations with the Board of Trustees and members of the President’s Council in May. The suggested programs in the final workgroup’s recommendations will be implemented after academic affairs leadership approves them.
Stowell said though circumstances surrounding the vitalization project were negative, such as low enrollment and a lack of state appropriations, the process of brainstorming ideas was positive.
“In some ways it was really wonderful to hear the positive side of vitalization,” Stowell said. “When you think about it, there is hope and direction for the future.”
Stowell said if the administration will invest in Eastern’s future it will be a great, thriving place. Nora Pat Small, interim chair of the history department, said she was impressed by the ideas and participation during the town hall meetings and surveys the workgroup conducted throughout the semester.
“I was really pleased when people seemed to come out of the woodwork with amazing ideas,” Small said. “It just shows that we persist.”
Biological sciences professor Britto Nathan said he has noticed faculty stepping up to the plate, and he believes ideas suggested by the workgroup will be implemented.
“These dream ideas —I hope people take it up, take pride in it and keep moving forward with it,” Nathan said.

Renee Kidd-Marshall, director of the nursing program, said brainstorming new programs, creating solutions and researching workforce requirements should not end once the vitalization project does.
“I think it should be a routine event within departments and colleges of brainstorming and getting together,” Marshall said. “We all know the workforce changes, population needs change, universities’ needs change, so if the college wants to stay current, this is the way to do it.”
Stowell recommended implementing a think tank to study the university even without the vitalization project.
“Pick like three or four people who are just really open to new ideas and able to listen to what people are saying on campus and just advise the president or president’s body,” Stowell said.

Kalyn Hayslett can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].