As the spring semester began, I considered ways to more actively engage students and to understand their personal concerns and thoughts about their own Bradley Experience. As I weighed the options, I thought of how our dedicated faculty interacts with students on a daily basis. I decided to follow their lead.
So on Wednesday, February 4, I held what might be the first Office Hours hosted by a Bradley University president. Students were asked to come to Swords Hall to sign up for a five-minute private meeting in my office. I have to admit I wasnít sure what to expect. I didnít know if two students would be on my doorstep or 200 during the two-hour period.
I was really pleased when the first student appeared 30 minutes before the Office Hours were to begin. She wanted to be sure to get a place in line. Many, many students followed. After three such Office Hours sessions during the semester — one a month — I had visited with more than 100 students. It was a great experience for me, and students said it was worthwhile for them, too.
The students brought in thoughtful suggestions and questions. They were serious, respectful and committed to making Bradley a better place to live and learn. Indeed, everyone — from graduate students to freshmen — valued their Bradley Experience and really enjoyed their time on the Hilltop. They just wanted to make it better.
I honestly can say that no two visits were alike. One student wanted to discuss the Pre-Law Center that we were just unveiling. One group — yes, some came in groups — wanted greater recognition for their student organization. Another student had a problem in the residence halls. Another wanted to encourage the University to recycle more. And others wanted advice on graduate school. Even the mascot was mentioned. No topic was off limits.
Each student showed genuine interest in improving the University. This personal communication is critical in keeping a pulse on the campus and keeping me connected with students. On a personal note, I was overwhelmed by their concerns for my health and their show of support.
During the sessions I took notes and followed up on issues that needed to be addressed. I am confident that their ideas — this interaction — will move Bradley forward. I intend to make Office Hours a regular part of my schedule next year. I very much look forward to them.
Visit bradley.edu/yearinreview/0809 for a slideshow of Bradley’s memorable moments.
On another topic, last month we sent out a video showing our academic year in review. From Move-in Day to May Commencement, we presented the highlights from a historic year. It was really well done. You can view it here: bradley.edu/yearinreview/0809.
While the video is on our Web site and we e-mailed it to thousands of alumni, we still need many of your e-mail addresses to better keep you informed of activities on the Hilltop. So please take a moment and send your contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
As you can see, many great things are happening at Bradley. The Campaign for a Bradley Renaissance is making progress. Together we are making Bradley a university of national distinction.
Thank you for giving me the privilege to serve the University. Go Braves.
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