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President

President Donald R. Eastman III

Strategic Planning Recommendations

Addendum 5: An Expanded Center for the Applied Liberal Arts (CALA)

A.) Introduction and Rationale
Although we do not envision turning CALA into the same type of Center as those proposed above, we believe that an expanded CALA would both support the proper functioning of such Centers and enhance the experience of all Eckerd students. In addition to its existing responsibilities and those created by association with the new Centers, an expanded CALA would also address the growing problem of how to advise "undecided" students, who are now our second largest incoming student group (after Marine Science).

B.) New Responsibilities for CALA
1.) Coordinate internships, apprenticeships, and service learning for the new Centers.

  • CALA would expand its current role to coordinate more closely with any of the Centers we decide to establish. Such an organization would eliminate the redundancy of having additional administrators in each individual Center.
  • CALA might also expand its involvement in pre-professional training, including pre-med and pre-law.

2.) Establish a formal Academic Advising Center that focuses on assisting freshmen and undecided students.

  • While Career Resources personnel do visit some classes during AT, there is otherwise little systematic use of CALA to guide our large body of undeclared students. If we do intend to put more effort into addressing what is our second largest incoming student group, CALA seems the logical place to start. This Academic Advising Center would not substitute for the role of mentors - it would be an extra layer of support for those students who have not yet found an academic niche on campus.
  • Potential Tasks of an Academic Advising Center:
    1. Administer self-assessment tests to all freshmen in AT and then assist the Counseling Center in providing advice to freshmen on study tips and time management.
    2. Coordinate the assignment of ASPEC, alumni, or experienced undergraduate mentors for undecided students. See programs at USF, Nebraska, and UNR for examples.
    3. Coordinate early internships and special AT/WT/Summer Programs that would keep freshmen connected to Eckerd and help them think about possible careers.
    4. Run a yearly "Major Fair" and CALA Open House to acquaint students with possibilities and resources before fly-up.
  • Potential Benefits of an Academic Advising Center:
    1. It would enhance the mentoring of first-year undecided students (and lighten faculty load).
    2. It would help to gently steer undecided students into better choices and more successful academic careers.
    3. It would help better connect undecided students to EC (prevent attrition).
    4. It would reinforce for prospective parents that a liberal arts degree can still lead to job placement.

3.) Run a yearly Student Research Fair

  • This research fair would encourage advanced students from all majors to present their undergraduate research projects at a campus festival similar to the Festival of Hope. Such a fair would take advantage of the variety of individual courses and disciplines that already encourage public presentations of student research.

4.) Coordinate resources and opportunities for future teachers

  • There are significant reasons for not reviving an education major at Eckerd; however, there is also considerable interest in teaching among the students we attract and considerable need for qualified teachers in the community (and nation). This initiative would provide many of the benefits of an education program without the difficulties posed by the reestablishing of an accredited teacher education program.
  • Potential Tasks:
    1. Coordinate student access to certification programs and provide links for information on educational employment.
    2. Develop partnerships with SPC or USF for education course offerings that could be taken in addition to an Eckerd subject specialty.
    3. Coordinate individual teaching internships at local schools or cultivate more formal relationships or "adoption" of needy schools.
  • Potential Benefits:
    1. It would not require state certification or additional faculty hires in education, and would attract a higher quality of student than an education major alone.
    2. It would make the transition to teaching careers easier for students in all disciplines and would provide community service opportunities even for those not sure of a teaching career.
    3. It could do important work for the community and enhance Eckerd's public image.
    4. It might take advantage of Eckerd's existing funding in alternative certification and attract additional state and federal funding.
    5. Assist mentors in advising exceptional students.
CALA can serve as a clearinghouse for information on major scholarship awards such as Rhodes, Fulbright, etc. CALA involvement would enhance the work of our existing faculty scholarship representatives and help mentors be more proactive in guiding exceptional students toward scholarship opportunities.

C.) Necessary resources for an expanded CALA

  1. A "Real" CALA Center - Current CALA staff are separated into at least three different areas in two buildings. For a CALA Center to operate effectively and for it to make an impression on students, it needs to be a tangible place with centralized resources.
  2. Additional professional staff and support personnel - An expanded CALA would require additional qualified people to coordinate on-campus events, provide timely web information, dispense academic advice, and supervise mentors and internship programs. This is especially necessary if we hope to encourage 100% participation in internships, service learning, and experiential learning - a goal that we could never achieve with our existing CALA staff.