Faculty share plans for Elon Commitment initiatives

Elon University faculty and staff learned more about long-term plans for diversity and global engagement, residential life and academic programs in three presentations during the opening ceremony for Planning Week 2010, the official start of the academic year for university employees.

The presentations took place in a time traditionally reserved for Elon University President Leo M. Lambert’s “State of the University” address. This year, Lambert welcomed hundreds of professors and staff to McCrary Theatre, before introducing presenters who would each spend time outlining the new plans.

Brooke Barnett

Increasing Diversity and Global Engagement (presented by Brooke Barnett, faculty administrative fellow and assistant to the president )

Barnett spoke of Elon’s commitment to diversity and global engagement in the new strategic plan and of recent initiatives that work toward that goal. “Research shows that students learn better in a diverse environment,” she said.

Over the past year, the role of the Multicultural Center has expanded, with associate professor Crystal Anderson serving as a new faculty fellow. The university is also in the process of launching a new international fellows program.

Seventeen percent of the incoming freshman class is comprised of minority or international students, she said. And in the coming years, Elon will be doubling the amount of money spent on need-based scholarships.

Barnett this fall begins a two-year assignment as Faculty Administrative Fellow and special assistant to the president. “We have miles to go before we rest,” she concluded.

> Learn more at Elon’s special Diversity and Global Engagement Web site

Redefining the University’s General Studies Curriculum (presented by professors Tom Mould and Rosemary Haskell)

Tom Mould

With a focus on integrated learning, a committee that is studying possible changes to the General Studies curriculum is looking at a “pathways” model where students may take a series of classes based on a particular topic.

For example: The topic of “the future” could look at computing sciences, environmental studies, and concepts of the future in literature. Other possible topics for various pathways could include “water,” “health and disease,” “empires,” “food supply and “origins of life.”

“Educating global citizens will be a challenge, but it’s one we hope everyone on campus will work toward,” Mould said.

Transforming the Residential Life Experience on Campus (presented by professor Kevin O’Mara and Jeff Stein, special assistant to the president)

Jeff Stein

With three new residence halls scheduled for completion by fall 2011, and existing facilities to be rebuilt on North Campus starting next year, Elon University administrators are directing their energies at the creation of a “neighborhood” style residential campus.

A redesigned campus experience would cluster students in certain areas of campus based on class year or learning community interests. A tentative plan calls for the addition of a “Senior Village” to house hundreds of seniors in a complex on the firehouse fields, and new facilities would incorporate classrooms and other learning space into their designs.

“We are redesigning the basics of campus life,” Stein said.