North Carolina Newspapers

    Meredith herald
Volume XI, Issue 19
February 15, 1995
Raleigh, North Carolina
President Weems gives Meredith a reality check
by Teresa Latham
An emergency faculty and staff
meeting was called Feb. 9 in Kresge
Auditorium by President John Weems
to discuss the direction and future of
Meredith College.
In the recent lettei^to department
headsand other administrators, Weems
explained the current financial status
of the coUege and outlined proposed
solutions and structures tq implement
immediately.
In a letter sent Jan. 31, Weems gave
the reader a “reality check” by summa
rizing Meredith’s budget, enrollment,
freshman retention and reputation. He
expressed that all of these areas are not
at the level they should be. In another
such letter, he described 20 items he
listed as necessities for success. He
stressed the need for cooperation, new
programming and appealing to alarger
clientele.
Faculty had strong reactions to the
letters, which many felt were written
unjustly harsh and suggested plans
without consultation of administrators,
faculty and students. Dr. Bernard
Cochran, professor of religion and
philosophy, described the letters as
“ i n -
your-
face,”
and an
other
faculty
mem
ber de
scribed
them
a s
“threat
ening.”
Stib
dents,
who
had
been alerted to the existence of the
letters, informed SGA, who then be
gan discussing the matter and attended
the meeting Thiu^day night. The
meeting was broadcast over the
Meredith cable channel, and many
students tuned in to hear what the
president, trustees and other mem
bers of the Meredith community had
to say about the issue.
The meeting - Claude Williams,
chair
man
0 f
the
Board
0 f
Trust
ees,
mod-
e r -
ated
the
meet-
1 n g
and
qpetsd
b y
saying that this is “a very challenging
time in the history of our college, atime
of change and excitement.”
Weems began by saying that
Meredith is facing financial disaster in
fiveto lOyearsifchangesarenotmade.
The 1994-5 school year marks the third
year in which the proposed budget
hasn’t been met, stated Weems, and
photo by Cindy Bradley
President Weems addressed faculty, administration, and students
at an emergency meeting about Meredith's future last Thursday.
the number of traditional age students
graduating from high school is drop
ping.
He described ways in which the
budget must be cut, including phasing
out unfunded financial aid such as the
Teaching Fellows programs and other
grants, ctitting personnel, decreasing
faculty release time, cutting out non
productive programs and restructur
ing departments. Weems' aim was to
prevent implementing a prohibitive
tuition hike.
In addition, he felt that Meredith
must extend more class and office
hours into the evening. “The solution
is simple,” said Weems. "There must
be a commitment to evening pro
grams."
After the president's statements,
many of the trustees in attendance said
a few words in support of Weems.
Trustee Theo Pitt said the college
needs to be “consumer and customer-
see REALITY page seven
Speech department falls short of Meredith standards
by Clarky Lucas
Wth the administration’s growing
-concern about Meredith College’s fi
nancial situation, members of the
speech commimication department
are already concerned about the aca
demic development of the program
that has been struggling for some time,
said Dr. John Creagh, head of the
speech communication department.
The department was created six
years ago with only five students ma
joring in speech communication. There
are now over 40 students in this major,
but there has been no increase in the
budget since the program began, said
Creagh.
Creagh is the only full time teacher
in the department and is the advisor to
42 students. Some of his advisees are
majoring in speech pathology which is
an area in which Creagh admits he is
not specialized.
“I think the major should be stron
ger, and how can it be when the ratio
of full time faculty members to stu
dents is 1:42,” he said.
Because Meredith doesn’t offer the
pathology major, those students must
take a minimum of 12 hours at NCSU to
fulfill the speech pathology require
ments, he said.
Each semester there are two- to
three part-time faculty members who
"A strong well-funded major would reap far more benefits
than it would cost."
- Dr. John Creagh
Speech Communication Dept.
teach communication courses. Terri
Kauffman and Paul Potorti are offer
ing classes at Meredith as well as NCSU
this semester.
Not only is the lack of full time
faculty a problem, but there is also the
difficulty of not having adequate equip
ment for students. All of the video
equipment is borrowed from the li
brary. The speech and theatre depart
ments do not have their own televi
sion sets and video cameras that are
necessary for communication majors
to have access to, he said.
“A lot of technology that is not
expensive is out there, and we don’t
have access to it,” he said.
Increasing instructional space
would also aid the department which is
allocated to only one classroom that
has a chalk board instead of a dry-erase
board. There are constant temperature
problems in the classroom, and it is
unattractive. Many times costumes from
the theater department are piled high
next to the w^, said Creagh.
“Being stuck in only one room that
is surrounded by theater stuff makes
some feel like the speech communica
tion department is not taken as seri
ously as other departments like psy
chology, English, and biology,” said
Wendy Roberts, speech major.
Because there is only one class
room available, there are a limited num
ber of classes offered per semester.
Three solid classrooms with one outfit
ted for TV production is needed. One
of the classrooms should be a facility
for business speech performances with
a conference table and a flip chart, he
suggested.
“More women are becoming
speech communication majors; I think
see SPEECH page seven
    

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