Student Council, Faculty Meet at School Congress

Members of the Student Council and new Academic Advisory Committee joined Andover’s faculty at the first school congress of the year this past Tuesday primarily to address faculty-student relations in the community. The Council’s effots have already proved successful: following Abbot Grant presentations on Tuesday, Student Council received a $10,000 grant, $3000 of which will go towards faculty-student dinners in Ropes Salon. The remaining $7000 will fund GW renovations. Eddie Kang ’07, Head of Public Relations for Student Council, began the meeting by asking the faculty to “close your eyes and visualize one teacher who made a difference in your life.” He later continued, “there seems to be a growing concern within the student population that the faculty-student interaction is, let’s say, less than perfect.” Student Body President Danny Silk ’07 followed Kang’s introduction with a talk about the academic relationship between students and faculty, and presented the newly formed Academic Advisory Committee. Silk and Assistant Dean of Studies Elizabeth Korn worked in conjunction over the summer to create the Academic Advisory Committee. Silk felt that Cluster Council currently addresses residential issues and Student Council addresses student life, but there is not yet a group that specifically addresses academic issues. The committee will attempt to address student issues such as multiple major assignments due on certain days and extra meetings outside class periods. The committee also aims to offer student views on both current and newly proposed academic policies. He said that the new committee would open more lines of communication between the student body and the Dean of Studies office. The Academic Advisory Committee currently consists of 11 students: Silk, four other Seniors, three Uppers, two Lowers, and one Junior. The system was set up so that every year a member from each class could be added to the Committee while retaining members chosen from the previous year. At the meeting, faculty raised concern about the selection process of the Academic Advisory Committee. Silk responded that they are working on a type of election process for the coming years. The Committee also answered questions about student awareness. The committee will speak at an All-School Meeting at the beginning of winter term to present themselves to the student body. According to Silk, the committee will continue to “serve as an ally to students, faculty, and administrators” if this trial year proves successful. Next the Congress discussed student-faculty relations outside of the classroom. Silk commented, “It has become counterintuitive for students and faculty to interact outside of required times.” The Council believes these meals would help students and faculty get to know each other outside classrooms. Kang also brought up other Student Council suggestions. He said the Council wished to hold a faculty talent show like the one organized two years ago. The Council also had discussed possibility of faculty-student athletic competitions. He suggested that a game between faculty and students be held once a term under the lights of Phelps Stadium. Student Congress aims to meet once a term this year. They have not been able to meet every term in the past because of scheduling constraints. Silk is currently trying to schedule the upcoming School Congress sessions for this year. Silk described the new proposals of the School Congress as “an attempt to change the culture [of Andover].”