Expect your education for better or worse

Meredith Oakley, a junior at Western Carolina, expects the new chancellor to relate to the students, to be a friend as well as a leader on campus. Her main point: he needs to have the best interest of the school in mind.

“When it comes to cutting staff, keep the staff that has highest productivity and that students enjoy learning with.”

Coming to college many students generate an idea about what college is going to be like and what they are going to learn in order to prepare for the future. College students, however, find that their expectations may or may not be met as they immerse themselves in the college community and classes. Western Carolina students have found this true for their education as well, and in anticipation of a new chancellor they have ideas about what needs and expectations they have for a new face.

“I thought [Western Carolina] was a small, party school, tucked away in the mountains of western North Carolina. I also thought it was easy to get into, but that changed a lot,” says junior Nathan Wilson.

Western Carolina was not Nathan’s top choice for education because of these expectations, but he changed his mind.

“I love it here. I love my major, construction management, and the academics are awesome. It’s a large school but it still has a small feel to it and affordable but still gives me the education I need.”

Along with what students expect of community and social engagements they also have a preconceived idea of what their leadership should be like.

Most students have a similar opinion to Meredith’s, but when presented with the opportunity to attend open forums, where they can share their thoughts with a board selecting the new chancellor, students did not seem interested. First thought is that students do not care about the process, but in reality most students are just not aware of their importance.

“I think [the students] do care about the change, just in what they will be able to do for them and to improve the school,” Meredith said.

A lot of focus has been placed on undergraduates and how the new hands on command will affect them, but what about the graduate students?

Emily Nantz is a second year physical therapy graduate student and alumni of Western Carolina. She says that her expectations and view changed a great deal from cap to hood.

“I’ve always expected to have professors that challenge me, enjoy the material, are experts and strive to be on top of the latest research in their area of expertise, are approachable, and desire that I do well.”

Emily explained that these traits were always what she tagged to her undergraduate education, but now even more magnified in her mind because she will take her experiences into her career.

“As a graduate student though, I would say that those [traits] are much more important to me. As I prepare to become a clinician I want access and knowledge of the most recent research to best treat my patients.”

It is clear that students at WCU have high expectations for their education and for the campus as a whole. Even though some expectations change for the worse or for the better, the new chancellor is going to have some very high stakes set for him just as Chancellor John Bardo has danced in the ring with many student concerns and requests.