By Jeniel Terrero
In an effort to improve communication between students and professors, the dean of the School of Visual and Performing Arts (SVPA), Noel Zahler, has organized a Student Advisory Committee. Zahler hopes that the members of the committee will work with him in refining the departments within SVPA. Unfortunately, because of inclement weather, the committee has yet to meet. The first meeting is now scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 19, at 12:30 p.m.
The committee consists of students from each of the four departments within SVPA; the Art, Media Arts, Music, and Theatre, Film, Dance and Arts Management. Zahler asked the chairperson of each of the departments to suggest two students who would best represent their respective departments. The committee was thus formed with eight students chosen this semester. “Similar to most advisory committees, it is important to get a proper representation from a cross-section of the student population,” Zahler explained.
The focus of this committee is to create goals that will give Zahler an opportunity to work personally with students. Zahler will circulate information directly to the committee to keep SVPA students informed about happenings in the school. “I hope this committee will allow for a better exchange of information between the Dean’s office and SVPA students. In addition to fostering better communication, I hope to build a stronger sense of community among the students and the administration,” Zahler added.
Brittany Mitchell, a sophomore Broadcasting major, is a member of the new Student Advisory Committee. She said that she feels honored to have been asked to be a part of something that affects all SVPA students. “Apart from the leadership abilities I hope to gain by being a member of this committee, I also plan on helping to promote a positive difference within SPVA,” Mitchell said.
Thomas Finn, a senior Broadcasting major, also feels honored to have been selected as a representative of the Media Arts Department. He hopes to show how talented its students and professors are. “I think the committee will help the school by actually getting to hear what the students are saying. There’s a key perspective that some schools don’t consider, and that’s the students,” Finn said. “I’m a student who attends all of my classes every day. I have my own opinions on the curriculum, and I also get to hear the opinions my peers have on the same curriculum on a daily basis. So I’m glad that, as a member of this committee, I can represent my fellow classmates and get their opinions heard too,” Finn explained.
However, senior Broadcasting major Trish Torrales has concerns on what the SVPA Student Advisory Committee will bring to focus. “I hope the student members will be able to fairly reflect the ideas and desires of those who weren’t chosen. I, for one, want the committee to ensure that students’ required courses do not overlap material. There are many classes I’ve taken that feel like repeats of previous courses, and it makes a student feel that they’re wasting their time and money,” she explained.
Despite her concerns, Torrales also sees a lot of the positive outcomes from this new committee. “The SVPA institution has a lot going for it, but it’s obviously not perfect, and to see that they’re trying to create some kind of outreach with the students in order to improve learning conditions is great. Whether they listen to what the students have to say or not will show in time,” she said.
Because of snowstorms in the beginning of the semesters, the first committee meeting had to be rescheduled, and will be held on Feb. 19. Zahler said that because the committee has yet to meet, there is not much to inform about their work, but they will be meeting at least three times this semester, in his new office in the Kahn Building, during common hour.
“There are a few professors in my major that have taught me so much and truly changed my life,” Finn said. “Yet they can only teach a certain number of classes due to their employment status. That’s an insane concept to me. In my opinion, these are the professors that should be teaching an abundance of classes, not just one or two.”