College holds strategic planning listening sessions

College holds strategic planning listening sessions

Rose Giblin-Vance, Staff Writer

On Jan. 27, Macalester held virtual strategic planning listening sessions for students of all class levels to attend. These listening sessions focused on obtaining student input on how to improve Macalester as an institution, especially increasing its financial stability along with improving student outcomes such as retention rates. There were two separate Zoom sessions, one for underclassmen and another for upperclassmen.   

These sessions were one of several avenues used to gauge student input on the strategic planning process. Another Zoom session was held on Jan. 29 specifically for BIPOC, LGBTQ+, first-generation and international students. 

Macalester also has a Google form to survey students’ opinions. Student champions, members of the community who are leading efforts towards shaping the future of Macalester, have been holding drop-in office hours and reaching out to student groups and organizations.

“This is an opportunity for the college to think really big and think radically differently about how the college operates,” student champion Sami Banat ’24 said.

Participants noted various challenges faced by Macalester, including rising costs, fewer students applying as a whole to private liberal arts colleges and fewer students going to college in general.

Students also brought up concerns over a disconnect between students and administration, the college not doing enough to support its values of internationalism and multiculturalism and administrative challenges that are making it difficult for students to organize programming and events. 

Student champion Bobbie Pennington ’24 suggested creating identity groups to support marginalized students within larger departments such as international studies, economics or political science.

At the root of many students’ concerns was the fact that the administration needs to better support their students and to more actively listen to their concerns. 

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