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University Senate Announces Several Major Changes

by Carley Campbell

The Montclair State University Senate held its monthly meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 15 over Zoom to discuss a series of new updates as well as changes to be made throughout the college campus.

Among these new additions include a financial literacy course for students, a new name for Science Hall, and eventual changes to the school’s general education course schedule.

One of the first topics discussed, the renaming of Science Hall, was brought up to honor the legacy of Irvin D. Reid. This was discussed by Saundra Collins Reid, the President of Montclair State University between 1989 to 1997 and was responsible for the transformation of Montclair State College to Montclair State University among other things. Reid is notably one of the few Presidents of Montclair State University to not have a building named after them.

There will be a survey on the importance of gen ed requirements going out to faculty. It is unclear when students will have input on this, as well as when said survey will be going out.

A Wiley Survey found that ¼ of students would be more involved if courses emulated future careers. In the meeting, student retention as well as engagement made for a major challenge for courses as well as faculty. Provost Junius Gonzales noted that perhaps a new core curriculum could potentially allow for more changes to student engagement as well as retention. There is a potential focus on curriculum changes to reflect real-world scenarios beyond the confines of a classroom.

For Cameryn Martin, a junior sports communication major, this is something that should be addressed sooner rather than later.

“The way you need to look at it is like this: we will be adults in the real world soon,” Martin said. “People need to have these real-life situations come up. At first, it will hurt the students in the short term because a lot of them are being exposed to something they have never done before in their entire lives, but five, 10, or 20 years from now they will see the benefits of being exposed to that kind of stuff when they were still in a controlled environment.”

Student engagement challenges, enrollment/retention issues, financial and emotional stress, uncertainty about the future and the gap between faculty and student perspectives maintained a significant issue for those involved in the meeting.

For junior film and television major Emily McCormack, a member of several clubs including 90.3 WMSC Upper Montclair and Video Production Club, the best solution could be club involvement.

“I think that student involvement fairs should be more frequent and more widely advertised,” McCormack said. “I am part of multiple clubs on campus and didn’t even realize how soon after the spring semester started there would be another fair, and so I couldn’t participate with such last-minute notice. I think it’s also important for individual organizations to emphasize how welcome they are to students of all grades and majors, and how willing they are to work with students who are trying to get their feet wet with campus involvement.”

A financial literacy course has been announced and will be put in place in fall 2023. Initially created to be a three-credit course based out of the Feliciano School of Business, this is now its own site. Rollout will be gradual, at the moment there is no one-factor log in much like other university sites. Interested persons can visit the site at: montclair.igrad.com.

Sophomore sociology major, Sarah Chandler, believes that a site could work best.

“I think that it’s important that financial literacy is a program accessible to all students rather than a class,” Chandler said. “I think making financial literacy a class and therefore charging students, makes it inaccessible to the students who need it most.”

Besides these, there was a significant discussion on the upcoming campus climate focus groups as well as the potential changes that could be made to the campus as a result of these groups.

Minutes are available at https://www.montclair.edu/university-senate/meetings-minutes/.

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