As Iowa State’s enrollment increases, new problems will inevitably arise. Questions have already arisen as to how the school can continue to grow without compromising its quality of education.
The creation of the new Student Experience Enhancement Council, however, is intended to stop those issues in their tracks. The focus is on the student experience and improving the ISU brand.
“Iowa State ... has a great reputation for offering … a very rich educational experience. That’s our brand. We’re known for that. … We don’t just educate them [on] how to work, we also educate them [on] how to live a life,” said Tahira Hira, Iowa State’s senior policy adviser and the leader of the committee.
The committee was commissioned by President Steven Leath and began meeting in the middle of November.
“You have your very top leaders at your institutions saying, 'We recognize that having increased enrollment is wonderful, but there are some challenges that come along with it,'” said Pamela Anthony, dean of students and member of the council.
The council has been divided into four subcommittees: Academic Excellence, Academic Enrichment, Internal Student Life and External Student Life.
At this point, the committees are deciding on their own plan of action.
Hira said that there will be an emphasis on nipping problems in the bud rather than allowing them to develop.
Once the groups have had an opportunity to come up with issues they believe to be prevalent in their respective committee, they will rejoin to discuss as a large group.
Each of those committees will receive student input, providing a diverse group of students an opportunity to become involved in the way their experience at Iowa State is structured.
“This really is a special place," Anthony said. "The student experience goes beyond what you learn in the classroom. It goes beyond what you learn in a student organization. It really is the comprehensive experience.”
The committee is intended to be able to take on long-term projects, rather than just immediate concerns. This flexibility will make it more effective.
“I’m very sure that efficiency will increase, and I’m very sure that having people together around the table is a very good idea rather than all working in their own separate areas,” Hira said.
The committee is an original concept promoted by Leath; a project like this has not been attempted before.
Anthony said, “The bottom line is: What is the student experience and how can we make that a great one?”