2005-2006 Year-End Report of the Quality of Student Life Committee
The Quality of Student Life (QSL) Committee met five times during the 2005-2006 academic year (one meeting had to be cancelled because the chair was called for jury duty).
In November, the QSL agenda for the rest of the year was discussed by brainstorming a list of possible topics. The topics were then sent out by email, and committee members voted on the top five they felt were most important. The rest of the year’s agendas were decided upon on the basis of these responses.
In February, we addressed issues surrounding Spring Fling and Hey Day. Our special invited guests included Lee Kramer (Associate Director, Office of Student Life) and Makeda Kefale (Tri-Chair, Spring Fling). This discussion resulted in a letter to Dr. Neville Strumpf, strongly recommending the creation of a “blue-ribbon” committee that would continuously evaluate Fling and Hey Day, and would assess whether the recommendations of this committee were followed from year to year. A copy of this letter is below.
In March, our topic was student housing. Our special invited guests included Doug Berger (Director, Housing and Conference Services) and Michelle Ray (Director, Graduate Programs of Sansom Place). Our recommendations:
• College Houses need to be included in the upcoming capital campaign, as they integrate with the Penn Compact in terms of bed numbers and associated academic initiatives involving students in academic excellence beyond the classroom.
• Penn should try to house more students on-campus, particularly in College Houses (not in luxury apartments close to campus that Penn finances). Currently, we house the lowest percentage of students on campus among all the Ivies (for both undergraduate and graduate/professional students), and this is neither desirable nor competitive. The discussion must move past the prohibitive cost of more beds.
In April, our topic was Student Health Services (SHS). Our special invited guest was Evelyn Wiener (Director, Student Health Services). Our recommendations:
• A comprehensive review of Student Health Services (SHS) must be undertaken.
• After the SHS review, a new facility must be designed/built in an accessible location to house current SHS services and allow for its growth.
• Student transport to SHS must be addressed.
In May, our topic was undergraduate student advising. Our special invited guests included Anita Henderson (Director, Academic Affairs and Advising—Wharton Undergraduate Division); Joseph Sun (Director, Academic Affairs, SEAS); and Janet Tighe (Director, Academic Advising & Dean of Freshmen, CAS). Our recommendations:
• Advisors in all schools must encourage undergraduates to plan their academic careers strategically.
• Students must be encouraged to reach out to their advisors regularly to check on academic progress and plans.
• Advisors from all schools should meet frequently to discuss processes that work, especially in regard to dual-degree students.
Dear Dr. Strumpf,
As chair of the Quality of Student Life Committee, I am writing you to address Spring Fling, and to some extent, Hey Day. Following our meeting on February 15, 2006 devoted solely to a discussion of the issues surrounding Spring Fling, the Committee unanimously recommends the creation of a special blue-ribbon task force to gather information about current and past Spring Fling events, as well as Hey Day; to evaluate the effectiveness of any changes in the most recent Spring Fling/Hey Day events; and to make recommendations about how these events might be modified in order to decrease the potential negative effects on both students, the University, and the community at large.
We strongly feel the Quality of Student Life Committee is not the venue to address these issues. Our charge is extremely broad, encompassing many key, diverse issues of both undergraduate and graduate/professional student life. The magnitude and importance of Spring Fling would necessitate that we spend all our meeting time just on this issue, to the detriment of other vital issues of student life; and even if we did spend all our time on Spring Fling, it would hardly be possible to address it adequately. Another reason for creating a special task force with Spring Fling as its sole focus is that this event effects the entire Penn community (and beyond), not just students. Further, a mechanism should be in place so that Spring Fling may be evaluated yearly, starting immediately after the event. Finally, the complexity of Spring Fling demands a much broader representation of constituents be involved than is currently the case on the Quality of Student Life Committee.
While we are aware of the difficulties in proliferating the number of University committees, it is for the above reasons we feel that the creation of a task force solely charged with Spring Fling—with some attention to Hey Day as well—is justified and indeed, necessary.
Lawrence Sipe, Ph.D.
Quality of Student Life Committee Members 2005-2006
Chair: Larry Sipe (GSE); Faculty: Ann Brownlee (SAS/History of Art), Michael Cancro (Pathology/Med.), Deborah Linebarger (Annenberg), Arnold Rosoff (Wharton/Legal Studies), Julie Schneider (Design), Larry Sipe (GSE); Graduate Students: Sang Lee, Ning Rui, Julie Zimmerman; Undergraduate Students: Hayley Gross (COL ’06), Max Schapiro (COL/WH ’08), Diana Vining (COL ’06); PPSA: Stephanie Ives (VPUL), Rodney Robinson (VPUL); Ex Officio: Terry Conn (VPUL), Rachel Fersh (Chair, UA), William Gipson (Chaplain), Lela Jacobsohn (Chair, GAPSA), Philip Nichols (Dir., College Houses & Academic Services), Ilene Rosenstein (Dir., Counseling & Psychological Services).