Students expressed different opinions about the Project 2020 initiative after University President Paul Hennigan hosted a student forum March 26.
Hennigan explained to students that the new initiative is an attempt to improve Point Park’s undergraduate experience through high impact education practices with an emphasis on engagement and the increasing retention and graduation rates before opening the floor for questions about the initiative.
Keith Paylo, dean of Students and Student Affairs, and Karen McIntyre, senior vice president of Academic and Student Affairs, also attended and answered students’ questions.
“There were a lot of things unaddressed,” said junior information technology major Troy Potter after the forum. “They answered what was thrown at them though. I got good feedback, but I would have liked to see more students there, discussed more topics.”
Most of the students who attended the forum were in favor of the changes overall.
“They realized there was an issue and they’re working on addressing it,” said Andrew LeDonne, junior intelligence and national security major, following the forum. “I feel like it’s going to solve a lot of the problems at the University, especially with advising.”
Junior political science major Ian Horne was less optimistic about the result these changes would bring.
“It seemed like business as usual…nothing revolutionary,” said Horne after the forum. “It looks like a step in the right direction.”
Students viewed the new co-curricular transcript, part of the 2020 initiative, positively.
Senior global cultural studies major Tyler Shoaf said he sees the value of a verified record on student involvement.
“It carries more weight than words on a resume,” Shoaf said. “It’s a reassurance for employers.”
Opinion was mixed on the new advising structure. Hennigan informed students there would be two advisors for each student, one academic and one student success coordinator. He also told students there would be a required 30-minute meeting twice a semester and a specific outline for each meeting.
“It’s unnecessary,” junior global studies major Hannah Simon said. “I feel like that’s something your faculty advisor should already be doing.”
LeDonne had a different opinion than Simon about the new advising structure.
“People say their advisors aren’t consistent or don’t know what they need to know,” LeDonne said. “This is the first attempt at solving the issue. I self-advise because my advisors didn’t help, but I’m all for it if they’re going to help.”
Hennigan also discussed the introduction of a new freshmen core-curricular class, City-University Life. Students had polarized views about the new course.
“It’s not an academic class,” Simon said. “Freshmen experience is a waste of your money.”
Shoaf said he sees it as a way to ease into the Point Park culture.
“It makes [your] University experience more comfortable,” Shoaf said.