President meets with students for breakfast

File Photo.
President Lesley Di Mare addressed student questions and concerns during Breakfast with the President on Nov. 13. File Photo.

Christine Wiabel

President Lesley Di Mare addressed student questions and concerns during Breakfast with the President on Nov. 13.

Approximately 25 students attended the event and asked questions ranging from recruitment to the status of the university’s phone and Internet service.

Many students and staff have received incorrect information about the initiative to increase semester weeks from 15 to 16.  Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Carl Wright, addressed the group about the issue and stressed that the proposal is still being discussed.

An investigation into the number of instructional hours offered in each class is ongoing.  It will take approximately a year to gather the information and determine if a change is necessary.

Di Mare said that if a change needs to occur, it would take a long time to instigate.  Students and staff will be notified well in advance and will take part in any discussions on the matter.  She said that rumors of an impending change next semester, or anytime in the immediate future, are false.

In addition to the semester hour initiative, Wright is also working on the early alert system that allows students to solve academic issues before they become serious.

The early alert system begins with faculty identifying students who are performing poorly or have sporadic attendance.  Student Academic Services will then contact those students to offer one-on-one assistance.  So far this year, over 1,000 students have been contacted and helped through the early alert system, and Wright said the system would ultimately help retain freshmen and sophomores who might otherwise leave the school.

Getting freshmen and sophomores to declare a major was also suggested as a way to help them become more connected.  When they are part of a specific major, they will have peers and advisors who can keep them on track.  They will be able be more involved on campus by joining specific student organizations based on their major, and this should help with retention.

One student suggested playing campus news when a caller is put on hold, rather than the music that is currently played.  Further discussion produced other ideas such as using the prerecorded messages as recruiting tools, which could be department specific.

Wright said the current outdated phone system needs to be replaced, but he and Di Mare agreed that using prerecorded messages about Colorado State University-Pueblo would be a great way to promote the school to outside callers.

Wright also mentioned the need to increase bandwidth for the university Wi-Fi.  There have been issues all over campus with unreliable Internet connections due to a weak infrastructure, and fixing this will be a priority in the upcoming months. He said the university will be entering a contract with Comcast and students should see a difference soon.

Students brought up several other ideas in attendance.  These included a dedicated phone number or email address where students who have questions about anything related to CSU-Pueblo would be able to get answers.  A possible name for this service would be “Ask Wolfie.”

Di Mare said she was pleased with the outcome of Breakfast with the President.  She said it was one of the most productive discussions of the semester and encouraged everyone to keep attending the various open forums.  These include Breakfast with the President or Pizza with the President and a constituents’ meeting held each semester.

Di Mare hopes to hold the open forums at varying times of day throughout the semester to give more students a chance to attend. The meetings are always announced via email and in the Howl on campus and are one means to get direct answers to questions and concerns.