Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Projecting Improvements

During last month's Honors Program town hall meeting, Professor Otteson noted that the senior honors thesis may be modified to a more general senior project. As I thought about this, it hit me that these projects could be a great way to help YU. How better to cap off four years at a university you love than to give something back? If we have some of our best and brightest spend an entire year working to improve things, something's bound to go right. Here are some ideas I wanted to throw out and see what the people think:

1. The Golden Caf: Though fear of redundancy has prevented The YU Vent from commenting on what one Commentator article describes as “reprehensible,” we wholeheartedly agree that something is fishy at the caf, and it's not just yesterday's beer-butter pollock. The 1998-1999 undergraduate catalog (available here) lists Dining Club Membership at $1300 a year, while the 2007-2008 catalog has the Campus Meal Plan priced at $2,620. This doubling represents an increase about four times as large as the rise in the Consumer Price Index over that same time period, and rumor has it that prices will keep going up.
Enter a senior, majoring in Economics. He audits the caf and discloses exactly what it going down behind the counters. Also, he creates a viable microeconomic model for the future, thereby ensuring normal prices and less whining. If it turns out that the caf must do what it's doing now in order to survive, this is now backed up by our student's data and students have one less thing to complain about.

2. Evaluating Evaluations: Several years ago, a senior at Queens College created a senior project that despite its simplicity has proved extremely helpful. Every semester, we pour our hearts out on our course evaluation forms, hoping to see less of what we hate and more of what we love in the future. Unfortunately, we never see this information again. Our senior at Queens created a database which allows simple entry and analysis of the evaluation data, and the results are available to all. It's like RateMyTeacher.com on steroids. Before any student registers for any class, he sees the teacher's overall ranking, the teacher's rankings from this past semester, and other useful information about the course.
A similar idea would be developing an improved registration program.

3. Culture on Campus II: Create something beautiful for YU. It needn't be a bust of Belkin, (we already have one of those) but it could be a selection of inspiring and appropriate quotes to be hung at strategic locations around campus. A Jewish History major could research and organize a small exhibit for any of the many open spaces on campus. A music major or cantorial student could compose and record a YU anthem.

My list goes on but my time doesn't, so I'll stop here. I think this represents a great opportunity to actively take the future of YU into our hands.

3 comments:

Immanuel Shalev said...

Its a very nice concept. Currently, it is being employed somewhat in the Presidential Fellowship program. However, the Administration is utilizing the students as they see fit, while taking in the input of these students.

I think the program could work. Maybe you should email this post to Dr. Otteson.

As for the Caf audit, i doubt such a program would work. Good luck getting the administration to cooperate with you.

The Re-evaluation of the evaluations is a great idea. We discussed this on the senate and everyone agrees it needs to be done very badly. Thus, what is left is for someone to run it,and hence, your idea.

Culture on campus. Sigh. I dunno. Do people REALLY care that much? I prefer for YU to spend as much money on us as they do the girls. They have beautiful cozy lounges with couches, rugs, furniture. Its like the common rooms of Harry Potter. But inspiring quotes or whatever usually just blend in with the scenery.

Anonymous said...

SLC audited the caf last year and all their numbers checked out. If you would like a copy of the report perhaps the current SLC chairman can procure it for you.

Anonymous said...

why stop with the caf? from my experiance in YU more and more money is thrown down the drain for meaningless and badly planned programs. if anything YU itself should be audited, perhaps then the school would have a real operating budget