Saturday, October 15, 2005

Hundert's Fireside Chat

On Thursday, President Hundert visited us in the great room of House 4 of the Village at 115 to talk about the upper class experience and the future of the university. We broke the ice with him by discussing the bad acting in the Star Wars prequels - which I though was immensely entertaining.

At the very least, Dr. Hundert definitely has a vision for the University, which is a Good Thing (TM). He totally believes in SAGES (Seminar Approach to General Education and Scholarship) as the future of undergraduate education, at least at Case. As for me, I am in with the last of the old-timers and I've never had a SAGES class, so I can't pass judgement on the program, specifically. However, I am a staunch supporter of learning by doing -- and interacting with others. It remains to be seen how well Case will implement this new style of teaching and learning (especially for the upper-level departmental SAGES courses that don't exist yet), but the motivation is good.

Of course, SAGES wasn't the only topic du jour. Some notable notes:

- Case is putting out request for proposals for developing the quardangle and the parking lot at Ford and Euclid next month. He envisions a Case "University Town" that is par for the course at most other universities. Embedded in the RFP - the proposal must include plans for a grocery store and a drug store. Right on.

- Case will be getting a new student center some time in the indefinite future. Currently, the plan is to put it on Freiberger Field (near KSL and Thwing). Specifically the center will include a huge tower that will be a beacon and orienting point for all of the Case Campus and University Circle. Well, OK. But, will it have an arcade? :)

- Case planned to bring in about 900-950 freshmen this year - the >1100 who showed up was totally unexpected. One of the primary goals of the enlarged enrollment was to fill more seats in the humanities and undergraduate management departments. Of course, a horde of new BMEs came along for the ride.

- Glenn Nicholls, V.P. of Student Affairs projected that we will need to put students on the top of the hill South Side next fall. He also predicted that there will be undergraduate students on South Side for at least 5-7 more years. So much for the unified undergraduate housing plan...

- Case is entertaining the notion of a smoke-free campus. The Medical quad is already implementing this. All I can say is it's about time.

In general, Dr. Hundert was really down-to-earth and listened attentively to the questions posed by the students in attendance. Surely a good sign.

Oh, and one more thing. Dr. Hundert does in fact read the Athenian - he even shows some of the caricatures depicting him in the Athenian to his kid. One of the reps of the Athenian was present at the event and asked Dr. Hundert to be the next Athenian faculty advisor. Unfortunately, he declined. C'est la vie.

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