Students have historically had very close relationships with faculty and administrative leaders, and students have a strong voice in shaping the culture of the U of R. How will you reach out to them to impact student life?
Relationships are two-way. Both students and I will need to reach out to each other. I will want to attend events that matter to students – theater, athletics, arts, recitals, a cappella performances, anything that matters. I’ll be interested to learn about the activities of student organizations ranging from Phi Beta Kappa to Greek fraternities and sororities. In all of these kinds of student groups, I’ve been connected in the past, even though for a provost there was never any natural organizational structure that required such engagement.
I have found that the most enthusiastic, meaningful engagement with students has come from doing real work together on topics that inspire them. I imagine sustainability, service learning, or social justice issues might be the topical venues. What has worked in my past experience are such things as regular meetings with the student government association, hosting a “big cheese night” as a forum of senior administrators in a public student association meeting, or establishing an ad hoc advisory “kitchen cabinet” of advanced students. But every place is different. I would not want to try to impose some previous experience on U of R. I’m willing to try whatever has worked at Redlands. The Associated Students of the University of Redlands is an obvious vehicle, because it’s organized, representative, and diverse in composition and interests.