Name: Jonathan Stebbins
Major: Geological Sciences
Running for: Vice President of Academic Affairs
Relevant experience: One year each as Treasurer/Business Manager for Glee Club. President and Founder of Campus Rest Initiative (NAPS).
What is one initiative that you want to complete in your first semester?
Pass a resolution that the university has to tell students the specific monetary details regarding cost increases for expanding departments or offices. Transparency on tuition increases.
How will you work to make sure that the opinions of students are voiced in the Commission on Undergraduate Experience?
Have Undergraduate Student Government (USG) reps update their classes about the Commission on Undergraduate Experience’s progress, put more information around campus (emails, fliers) detailing what is being discussed. Going through departments and clubs to let people know about changes affecting them.
How will you work with faculty and the administration to increase support for non-STEM programs?
First-year SAGES should introduce everyone to all of Case Western Reserve University’s departments and programs (awareness). Faculty advisers should be given a more active role, potentially allowing students to shadow them in their work (experience). CWRU should expand resources and grants to non-STEM majors, and we could use student-taught classes and credit for service projects to allow creativity and flexibility in curriculum fulfillment (opportunity, funding).
With the VP of Academic Affairs sitting on the Faculty Senate, how do you plan on communicating student needs to faculty and administration? Do you think that student concerns are currently being heard by the Faculty Senate?
The Faculty Senate is guilty of the same thing as USG, as administration, as clubs; we are all territorial. Having a workshop to understand what CWRU’s specific mission might help clarifying different parties’ perspectives. The whole point of education is that humans need more than just intuition to fully function; it is imperative that our cultural and technical traditions are passed down and adapted to every generation so that society survives and thrives. Universities should be training young adults to enter the world ready to serve and keep learning with the skills necessary to create their own jobs and opportunities when necessary. Classes should inspire students and give them a sense of awe and responsibility, and our experience should connect us more intimately with who we are, where we come from, and where we go. This lyrical dimension often gets lost amid the bureaucracy of a major corporation like Case Western, and realizing this view will come from a diversity of student backgrounds and ideas working together to create and inspire the next generation.
How will your work to ensure transparency after the recent admissions policy change that allows a potential student’s family income to be used as a factor in admission?
The resolution requiring the administration to review this policy next year is a good start. USG must keep putting pressure and holding this’s decision results accountable to the university. I think the idea of trying to cultivate a certain subset of student income groups is a silly initiative, but it’s the card we’ve been dealt. The stated goal of including more low-income students is admirable, but bringing in more high-income students to do so excludes many in the middle. I think we need to focus more on making the process affordable for those already here, because giving someone the opportunity to attend school is not as altruistic if they leave piled in debt.