Town hall participants expressed support for making NC State a more comprehensive university, advocated more collaboration across disciplines and questioned the practice of having freshmen apply to specific colleges.
Several hundred faculty, staff and students turned out Tuesday afternoon in Stewart Theatre to share their ideas with Chancellor Randy Woodson and the leaders of nine task forces involved in the strategic planning process. For almost all of the 90-minute session, participants had the floor, by design.
One thread of discussion dealt with making NC State a more comprehensive university. Following questions about support for new graduate programs, a physicist, biologist and chemist spoke in support of expanding programs in the humanities and social sciences.
“A world-class university must be excellent in all ways,” said Dr. Nina Allen, former chair of the faculty. “I’m a biologist, but I can see the importance for my grandchildren of a broad education, not a narrow one.”
Other participants said NC State needs to find ways to foster more interdisciplinary work.
“We should develop programs based on emerging areas of science, not on college or department structure,” said Dr. Robert Anholt, a genetics and zoology professor.
Several speakers said the university should rethink the practice of having undergraduates apply to specific colleges rather than being admitted to the university and completing general education requirements before declaring a major.
“For entering freshmen, I really do believe asking 17- and 18-year-olds to decide on a major does them little good,” said Dr. David Zonderman, history professor.
The wide-ranging town hall comments were recorded so that task force members can incorporate the input into their ongoing discussions.
The event, which was held following the chancellor’s installation, was chaired by Interim Provost Warwick Arden and faculty chair Margery Overton, who are spearheading the strategic planning process. The chancellor hopes to have a new strategic plan finalized and approved by the Board of Trustees next summer.
There’s still time to make your voice heard. Visit the strategic planning Web site to get involved in a discussion, leave a comment or find the schedule of task force meetings.