Faculty hope to boost Washburn experience

Victoria Garcia

Inspired by author Loren Pope’s book “Colleges that Change Lives,” faculty in the academic affairs office are hoping to enhance the Washburn University campus overall.

Pope’s book highlights 40 different colleges “that will do as much, and usually far more, than any status school to give you the rich, full life.” The book focuses mainly on small private institutions throughout the United States.

In examining the characteristics and qualities of the colleges chosen by Pope, approximately 30 Washburn faculty members are on a mission to discover upon which areas Washburn could improve.

“We basically made a list of reoccurring themes in the book, and then faculty looked through those and figured out what we were doing, what we could do better, what we should be doing and what we aren’t going to focus on at this time,” said Robin Bowen, vice president of academic affairs.

Currently Wanda Hinton, administrative secretary of academic affairs, is heading the project. Through the organization of a list, the faculty has decided to identify the top three or four most important matters and from there discuss how much energy should be put into improving these pinpointed areas.

Such areas of improvement or development could include freshman seminary, academic resources, community service, sophomore retreat, international experience and campus diversity.

Bowen, who has attended all of the dinners thus far along with University President Jerry Farley, is excited and proud of the dedication on the part of the faculty members involved in this project.

“It’s so neat to see how truly invested the faculty is in making this a positive experience for Washburn students at either end of the academic spectrum,” said Bowen. “The resounding theme has been dedication and it makes me happy to see how willing the faculty has been in regards to putting in their personal time.”

Bowen, who has taught at four other universities aside from Washburn, said she hasn’t seen anything like this current committee elsewhere.

“Washburn provides that one-on-one, student/faculty feel,” said Bowen. “On a big campus, only the best of the best are able to get involved and on a small campus there aren’t nearly as many opportunities due to the small amount of students. Here at Washburn students are able to participate in a campus with a perfect size.”