Transparent dialogue exemplified in key university decisions

Negative emotions surfaced around campus two weeks ago as Whitworth’s administration unveiled proposed budget cuts for the 2014-2015 academic year. For some, the issue is timing. The concern is that too much time elapsed before the administration decided to bring the news of the cuts to our attention. For others, there is skepticism about the choice in making certain cuts over others. Regardless of the thought process, it’s important to appreciate the transparency of Whitworth’s administration.

ASWU provides the perfect outlet for the university’s leaders to present issues to students and allow opportunity for feedback. At similar institutions, one may find out about an issue long after a decision has been reached.

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Student input allows for “untapped expertise and knowledge that can bring renewed relevance and authenticity to school reform efforts”, according to Edutopia, a guide that assists instructors on achieving success. The idea is that it is beneficial for students to be given an opportunity to partake in decisions to learn what it means to take leadership initiative and think critically. It also leads to more cohesion throughout a community. Whitworth has proven itself as a place that values those benefits.

Whitworth’s commitment to integration can be seen in a variety of ways. Over the course of the last few years, students have organized town hall meetings to provide a platform for President Beck Taylor to answer questions students have regarding pertinent issues. The administration also selects exemplary students to sit on panels and committees for choosing new faculty members. The recent implementation of the honors program provides another prime example of student voice incorporation, as forums were held to present ideas and answer questions. Whitworth may not be perfect; however, all of these situations demonstrate the commitment to inclusivity.

Instead of employing a purely top-down method of leadership, Whitworth’s decision makers have chosen to foster an atmosphere that combines student voices into the decision-making process.  Doing so is a testament to the fact that Whitworth acts based off its foundational belief concerning valuing input at all levels.

When evaluating this specific situation, it may seem as though the administration made a decision that was final before presenting it to the students. However, Whitworth’s leaders have proven time and time again that they value our input. At the end of the day, the decision will still be made that is best for the school to efficiently move forward. The fact that it was presented and open for discussion is enough to be praised.

We are bound to disagree with decisions made by Whitworth’s leaders. But it’s important to recognize that we are fortunate to attend an institution that values student knowledge about important issues and deems us responsible enough to make input. Students should take advantage of the opportunities made available to speak up and be a part of communal decision making.

Remi Omodara

Columnist

Contact Remi Omodara at romodara14@my.whitworth.edu

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