The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Listening to students’ suggestions

By Shirlett Warrren/nw news editor
NW students have spoken, and their voices have been heard.

In February and March, NW vice president for student development services Joe Rode invited students to lunch to get their feedback.
“[We offered] food for their thoughts,” he said. “Their experiences here on campus are important to us.”
More than 150 students in a series of four sessions took him up on his offer. In February, students answered prompts about various campus items like library services, online resources, class offerings and food services.

During the March visioning sessions, students weren’t prompted. Instead, big sheets of white paper were stuck on a wall, and students were asked to draw how they wanted the campus to be. They also wrote their thoughts, ideas and concerns on sticky notes, which were attached to the visioning wall.

“It was a good opportunity for students to express their honest opinions in a non-judgmental atmosphere,” said NW student activities assistant Rachael White.

More than half of the students expressed a desire for more class variety and times (days, weekend, evenings, online). Students also asked for cheaper, more accessible books and supplies and a better buy-back program. Other concerns included more hours for student services on late nights and weekends, better advertising and notification of campus events, better online resources and healthier food choices. A handful of students even suggested a dollar menu, and another handful advocated Starbucks.

NW Campus president Elva LeBlanc said the student feedback forums were established five years ago out of a need to connect quickly with the community.

“Those sessions were a win/win. We came up with a list of action items and were able to accommodate students better,” she said.

Some of the changes included renovations in the café and Student Center, more computers in the library and tables for outside seating.
“Class changes were made, and we also addressed parking problems,” LeBlanc said. “Our enrollment increased as a result.”

In WFAB, a sign on the first floor in front of the elevators shows how students now have access to computers in all of their classes as a result of the feedback sessions. The Computers on Wheels units consist of laptops that can be transported to students’ classrooms upon faculty request.

Similar signs featuring changes made to bookstore hours, Student Center improvements and safety are set throughout the campus.
LeBlanc said the process of change is multifaceted.

“All of the requests are linked to a budget,” she said. “We don’t always get what we want, but the requests are connected to the students.”
She said the board of trustees holds a budget workshop, which sets the tone for what actions are taken, and the process is completed and approved by the last of August.

“Ultimately, we want our students to know they have a voice,” she said.

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