Considering the complaints regarding lack of transparency and shared governance from the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) that overshadowed the first phase of the Academic Program Prioritization (APP), it is not surprising that these same issues have followed into phase two.
The college continues to insist that it is transparent, but continuously ignores the voices of its students, faculty and staff. If “Ithaca Forever” is meant to be such a positive plan that improves the college, why is the campus community always left in the dark about the plans? Whether the plans for phase two will strengthen the community or hinder it is not what is being called into question. What the community has continuously and tirelessly been asking for is clear communication, to remain informed and be allowed the right to speak for or against any plans.
Rather than including the campus community in any decisions — like allowing faculty and students to be on the two committees that shaped the plans for the APP — the SLT and the Ithaca College Board of Trustees have insisted on keeping the whole community in the dark. The SLT and the board of trustees need to prioritize the students that are part of Ithaca College now instead of only focusing on the future.
While the new Physician Assistant Program will be beneficial for the school and its students, the announcement of the new program came at the worst moment. Last semester there were many confused students, faculty and staff who did not understand why the school had just cut so many mentors and professors, but not soon after introduced a new program and new building without proper explanation.
The phase two plans can be innovative and can benefit current and future students. However, these plans weren’t met with the enthusiasm or optimism they could’ve been met with because no one knows what is going on. Students, faculty and staff are always the last to know even though it would make sense to include them in the process and get their input because it’s their lives that will change over the next three years.
Moving the Department of Theatre Arts allows for new opportunities for its students to branch into the School of Music. The Park Pathways program will allow students to explore their interests and passions while enrolling undecided into the Roy H. Park School of Communications. These plans do not seem to be harmful, but rather will further the greater interest of the college’s students.
If these programs and changes were introduced in a more inclusive manner so that students, faculty and staff were able to have an opinion and be well-informed, then the APP would not be facing such opposition and viewed in such a negative light.