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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