Creating an environment of inclusion, understanding

Hello Everyone!

It’s another great day to be a bulldog, for the 27th Session for Senate my goal is to celebrate more diversity on campus and promoting an understanding between the students that have different religious and cultural views. So we had an interfaith visit at the end of last fall. Specifically a week before Thanksgiving Break. Groups of students from different faith groups such as Muslims, Christians and Jews. We went to a church, an Islamic center and a synagogue. The event would not have happened without the help of Ted Hatten and our Campus Ministry.

As for this semester we will continue the effort to build the bridge and understanding between students by having Senate get involved with the effort to have an “Understanding Week,” where a different organization will share its theological belief with the students that are interested to join the talk or discussion for the week. With this effort, we are looking forward to creating a more diverse campus where the students have multiple views about issues without prejudice.

Ignorance is not bliss, it is an act that inhibits the understanding, and that can be created among people if they know about the background of the others. Let’s create a campus where people live harmoniously without having the boundaries of language, religion and race. Together let’s think a little bit about the song by John Lennon where he imagines a world live in peace hand in hand: “You may say I am a dreamer, but I am not the only one”.

- Sen. Abdul Mateen Hashim

Critical look at retention rates for minority students

Hello fellow Bulldogs, this year my goal is to work on retention rates of minority students on campus. This goal might not show physical changes during my tenure as Diversity Interest Senator but it should form a stepping stone for improvement for Drake University. Last semester I used the time to gather information about other universities that fall in Drake’s category (Midwestern and private); specifically looking at the retention rates. I’ve also been in contact with Dr. Klimaszewski (advisor to Coalition of Black Students) and William Hatchet to speak about some issues that make minority students uncomfortable and ways the university could possible help to improve this.

My aim is to address Welcome Week programming and PMAC duties where they incorporate more cultural activities this semester. Some students find that this program/event lacks something, and they believe the goal is to meet with fellow classmates and find common grounds during that time before classes start. I hope to speak with coordinators of Welcome Back, such as Melissa Sturm-Smith to improve on how cultural and diverse these events could be for the upcoming Welcome Week.

- Sen. Shauna-Kaye Campbell
Diversity interest Senator

Curriculum, communication with faculty part of the job for CPHS senator

Fall semester 2013 went pretty well with the Academic Affairs Committee and in the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.  Over the summer the college welcomed a new dean, so as the senator for the CPHS I have been in contact with her about various different things throughout the semester and will continue this into the spring.

This fall I assisted with the ceremony to dedicate the new Johansen Lab within the college.  Also within CPHS I have sat on our College Leadership Committee (CLC) and Dean’s Student Advisory Council (DSAC), updating the college about things Senate is doing as well as being another voice for the students of the college.

The Academic Affairs Committee has researched a few different things this semester one being the posting of midterm grades (as part of the Senate 50 Goals), but decided to not move forward with this initiative.  I also have been sitting on the Advising TIG, which is looking into improving academic advising across campus and this will continue into next semester. Our committee also planned the Academic Affairs Dinner this semester and gained valuable feedback from conversations between students and faculty.  We gathered all the information together and are working to compile it to present to Faculty Senate.

Something else Academic Affairs is in the process of working on is helping to facilitate focus groups of students to gain feedback about the Drake Curriculum and the AOI program.  Looking forward to continuing this semester and I hope to continue to communicate with my college through the various committees I serve on and address any other Academic Affairs issues as they come up.  Another project that I am also helping to plan is the first State of the University Address.  This will hopefully occur sometime prior to spring break and include reports from University President David Maxwell, Faculty Senate President Deb DeLaet, and Student Body President David Karaz.  We want it to serve as an engaging event for students as well as faculty.

- Sen. Natalie Gadbois

Changes to WLC program, career services continue to be ongoing projects

During the fall semester I worked with Chrystal Stanley, the director of the Professional & Career Development Center and the academic achievement coordinator.  Together we had been working to address student concerns about the career and professional development opportunities available for students in the College of Arts of Sciences. From the outreach we have done and the evaluation of the services currently available, we came to a conclusion that the concerns students have, are largely centered on not being aware of what opportunities are available to them, rather than a lack of resources or opportunities. So to address this problem we are creating an advisory board composed of students with a variety of majors from the College of Arts and Sciences to work on developing strategies about how to best communicate what resources students have.

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Student advising top priority for AAC

Academic Affairs has a busy semester ahead, but we’re ready for the challenge. This semester the Academic Affairs Committee will continue to work on Student Senate’s 50 Goals, and start some exciting, new projects.

Academic Affairs will continue to be the liaison between Faculty Senate and the student body. We promise to keep students updated on all developing policies related to grading, curriculum and any other academic issues. Among other things, our committee will be working on some college programming this semester — with events focusing on career building, advising and showcasing the different majors and programs Drake has to offer.

I will also be working with a few senators this semester on an advising TIG, or taskforce implementation group, where we will look at the roles of advisors at Drake as compared to other universities our size. Our committee mission this semester is to progress Drake’s advising program, develop new programs related to the specific schools, to keep students informed on all academic initiatives.

Finally, to be accessible to students on any issues pertaining to academics. Our weekly office hours will be posted in the Student Life Office and you can always reach us by email (which can be found on the student senate website). Here’s to a great 2014 Spring Semester!

-Sen. Olivia O’Hea

New app enhances student safety

1.) The Campus Advancement committee worked on a project last semester of increasing safety around campus by upgrading the R.A.V.E system. The new system — customized to the Drake Guardian, is a Drake University Security Mobile application provided by R.A.V.E, that enhances the safety of student, faculty and staff on- and off-campus. Users have the opportunity to use their mobile devices as a personal safety device and activate a “panic button” to directly alert Drake Security. Drake Security can quickly and effectively assist the user.

Some of the advantages of this system include:

  • call (instant alert system)
  • anonymous tip system
  • precautionary Timer
  • GPS location of students
  • a “circle of guardians”option
  • disability enabled features

For more information or questions about Drake Guardian, contact ekta.haria@drake.edu

2.) The Campus Advancement committee is looking into replacing the Drake Direct system with a more efficient system. We are exploring the option of having the Des Moines Area Regional Transit (DART) replace our current Drake Direct system. Currently, we are at the stage of reviewing what options they have for us in terms of service and cost options. We hope to have a proposal before the end of our term.

3.) We hope to continue the photo project as the committee had done last year and make Olmsted more appealing to students as a student life center of our campus. Our goal is to have the photos up by Relays.

If you have any questions, concerns, comments, or suggestions regarding anything around campus, kindly contact me via email  at ekta.haria@drake.edu. I would be more than happy to work with you and make our home better!

Thank you.

- Sen. Ekta Haria

Hours of Quad Creek, coffee shops at the forefront for Buildings & Grounds

Hello students! Things have been so exciting with Senate lately! As the Buildings & Grounds senator much of my work has revolved around the discussion of the Proxy One Card Reader system, the availability of the library hours, and various renovation projects around campus.

Though it may not seem like it, as I am also the chair of the Quasi Endowment committee, we have been working hard to provide the tangible changes to improve campus for the student body as a whole. Much of our projects include renovating the former D-Shoppe space in the Olmsted Student Life Center, providing the R.A.V.E. security app to make campus safer (which everyone should download) and further discussions on ways myself and the committee can make senate’s 50 Goals a reality.

As for the spring, my goals are to make the Quad Creek cafe more accessible to students late at night, especially around midterms and finals weeks. Additionally, I am working towards the first steps of creating a coffee shop that has later hours to be accessible to students — a goal I hope to have completed by the end of the the semester. These goals are not all, but they will continue to grow and hopefully reflect what you would like to see on campus!

Have a question or concern? PLEASE contact me, I am always here to listen! My goal is to make campus better for the students, so that Drake can be and remain as great as we know it is. Do not hesitate please and, as always, I am humbled to be a representative for the students to senate, thank you for the opportunity!

- Sen. Josh Duden