Students express concern about future of GC

Some people think the University’s strategic positioning process could shut down General College.

The process aims to make the University one of the top three research universities in the world within the next decade.

Students said they are concerned about the direction the University is going in with the implementation of the strategic positioning process. General College students are voicing their concerns about the possibility of the college closing down.

Since General College began, it has served as an access point for high-potential students of diverse backgrounds whose ACT scores or high school grade point averages were below the standards of other colleges on campus.

Khong Xiong, a first-year General College student, said that students became aware of the strategic positioning process after University President Bob Bruininks’ State of the University address and began to take action immediately.

Xiong, who is also co-chairman of the college’s Student Board, said the board provided students with letters to give their legislators. The letters asked legislators to contact the University’s administration about why General College is an important investment.

“We have passed out letters to students and alumni of General College asking them to help us raise support,” Xiong said.

The strategic positioning process plans to specifically target and recruit high school students who are highly motivated to learn.

Xiong said people don’t understand General College students are also motivated to learn.

“Students have a desire to be successful, and they understand getting an education better prepares them for life,” he said.

Daniel Detzner, a professor and associate dean of academic affairs, said people automatically think of General College based on stereotypes.

“People look at students from a deficit model,” he said. “Studies have proved that ACT scores don’t assess what students bring to the University.”

Detzner said the University needs to look at students from a model based on what students can bring to the University.

General College faculty members are engaged in ongoing research to better understand the students who fall into the achievement gap, Detzner said.

Part of the research has lead faculty and staff members to produce 39 proposals for General College Dean David Taylor to look over and approve the best one for implementation.

Robert Poch, General College assistant dean and student services director, said faculty and staff members are attracted to working with students in the college.

“There is a tremendous sense of vitality here in General College,” Poch said.

Despite the rumors of the college closing, he said, students and faculty members remain focused on moving ahead.