Another amazing set of minutes (an hour of minutes?) from hard-working College Council Secretary Emily Deans ’09. Read the whole thing but note these comments on WNY.
Deborah Bialis (WNY alum, 2008) said that she found the report negative and she urged students to take the report with a grain of salt especially because it is not fair to compare the pilot program with its permanent form.
Ben Sykes (2008) said that what was most shocking was that not one student was interviewed by the committee after their experience in Williams in New York. He also thought that the report did not reflect the student testimonials and experiences and he thought that the strengths in the report did not accurately depict the value of the classes and fieldwork.
Lauren Bloch (WNY alum, 2009) said that she was interviewed in the Spring and was never asked to do a follow up interview after she completed the program. She thought that this was especially important because the program changes each semester because it is still in its pilot phase.
Emily Fowler-Cornfield (WNY alum, 2009) said that her views were impressions of the program before she had actually completed the program.
Sayd Randle (WNY alum, 2008) also said that she did not see any of her impressions were reflected in the committee report. She said that part of the negative that irked her the most was the “lack of curricular coherence” because what semester at Williams has there been curricular coherence among all the departments.
Hah! A nice line. No one argues that, say, Williams-Exeter provides it students with “curricular coherence” so there is no particular reason to hold WNY to this unmet standard.
But I am confused on one point. The Report refers to:
documents pertaining to students included summaries of the interviews undertaken each semester (both pre-enrollment and post-enrollment) by John Gerry (Associate Dean of the Faculty) and/or Paula Consolini (Coordinator of Experiential Education), a written summary of the two interviews undertaken by the committee chair in May 2007 with students accepted to study in New York in the Fall of 2007, and thoughtful, written testimonials provided by more than three quarters of all the students ever enrolled in the Program in response to the committee chair’s request for personal reflections about the Program from all former WNY students.
Ben Sykes claims that no student was interviewed by the Committee post-enrollment and yet the Report itself clearly refers to such interviews. Why the discrepancy? If I were a pro-WNY faculty member, I would harp on this contradiction (assuming that Sykes is correct). And, yet, Professor Waters (and John Gerry) are smart, careful Ephs. Could they really have failed to interview any student post-enrollment? Would they really mistakenly claim to have done so of they hadn’t?
My guess is that both are correct. Gerry/Consolini do all sorts of interviews of all sorts of students, from WNY, Williams Mystic, and so on. That is part of their job. They make those interviews available to groups like the Waters Committee. But, even if there were no Committee, they would still do those interviews. It is part of the standard record-keeping and quality control that the College does and should do.
But the Waters Committee itself did not interview any students except for the two mentioned specifically, and both of those were pre-enrollment. This was clearly a mistake. Why not interview this past February all the students who were in WNY last fall? Even if you always intended to try to kill the program and were not really interested in what they had to say, you should have incorporated their views in the process. By not interviewing them, you provide ammunition to the pro-WNY forces.
30, 2008, 7:30-9:00
Meeting in Hopkins
Hall Basement, B03 Classroom
Council Meetings are open to the Williams Community. Anyone who wishes
to speak before Council should contact Peter and Jeremy (09psn and 09jmg_2).
Latino requested $400 and Model UN requested $7,623 but the amount recommended
was $395 because they included registration fees for next year and that
will be addressed next year.
Flournoy (Minority Concerns) motioned to pass the slate and Thomas Rubinsky
(Class of 2010 Rep) seconded the motion.
the old system, CC paid for half of the salary. Under the new system,
CC will pay for 45% of the salary and the college will pay for the other
55%. In the first year, we are keeping CC's dollar contribution the
same. Thus, the dollar amount that used to be 50% of the salary is now
only 45% of the salary. In the first year, the coaches will get a roughly
11% raise. Going forward, the total salary will rise at the rate of
3% per year and CC will pay 45% of the total salary (the college will
pay the other 55%).
Flournoy (Minority Concerns) motioned to pass the change and Lane Wang
(Armstrong) seconded the motion.
College Council appointments committee met and picked the people for
committees after soliciting the student body for self-nominations and
then College Council approves the slate of appointees. Thomas Rubinsky
(Class of 2010 Rep) motioned to pass the slate; CJ Flournoy (Minority
Concerns) seconded the motion.
Goodbody (2008) came to College Council to report on the progress of
the Campus Environmental Advisory Committee (CEAC), which is a student-faculty
committee. The CEAC wanted to address the issue of paper waste on campus
and spent a good part of this year trying to find a way to address this
issue without angering the student body. This year, freshmen had to
install on their computers the Paper Cut program, which tracks
how many pieces of paper you are using and how many impressions you
use. There are three options: a paper cost system, a release system,
or a paper quota.
now they are considering a 500-impression limit per semester and the
paper cut program will keep track of this.
1 The average use of paper per student in OIT (does not count
the library labs) was 215 pages per semester. Next semester will be
a pilot program. The point is not to put a huge financial burden on
the students but it is to make you think twice before you print. For
example, it is more efficient for the college to print things at Office
Rubinsky (Class of 2010 Rep) talked about his class, which requires
him to print readings for each class, and worried that this would be
a large financial burden for students in classes that require students
to print readings for each class.
Goobody (CEAC) said that course packets are cheaper to print through
Office Services and said that professors requiring this much reading
should use Office Services.
Sonnenfeldt (Spencer Board Rep) asked if students would be able to buy
extra pages pre-emptively at a discount, which would reward people for
planning ahead and being aware.
Miteva (Dodd At-Large) brought up concerns about color printing versus
black and white printing.
Flournoy (Minority Concerns) asked about the paper-recycling program.
Sonnenfeldt (Spencer Board Rep) said that the problem with the paper-recycling
program is that newspapers can’t go in to paper recycling bags. They
are looking in to other companies to take papers to be recycled.
Flournoy (Minority Concerns) asked about why there was the 500-impression
limit and Brian Shepherd (Pratt Representative) asked about impressions
and page numbers.
Goodbody (CEAC) said that schools with limits actually see a large decrease
in the number of pages printed even if the limits are higher than those
the average students use.
Nurnberg (co-President) said that he thought that people should be rewarded
for printing things double-sided. He also proposed the idea of creating
a market for paper. He thinks people should be able to sell their
Kiernan (Mills Representative) said that the goal was just to reduce
Rubinsky (Class of 2010 Representative) thought that maybe it would
be more efficient for the school to address issues like leaky windows.
Nurnberg (co-President) thought that a regular notification of how many
pages you have printed and have left would be helpful. Sarah Moore (Class
of 2009 Rep) agreed that this would be beneficial for students.
Rubinsky (Class of 2010 Rep) asked if financial aid has been contacted
about the issue.
Goodbody (CEAC) said that the costs of having a paper quota for financial
aid students are a concern for the pilot program.
Levy (Treasurer) asked if there would be a reward for people who didn’t
use all their pages.
Deans (Secretary) thought that you should be able to rollover pages
like you can rollover cell phone minutes, so if you don’t use up all
your impressions one semester, then you can have more the next semester.
Miteva (Dodd At-Large) asked if professors would have a limit as well?
Goodbody (CEAC) said that option was still being discussed.
In favor of pilot program (11
in favor, 8 opposed)
Williams in New York
was a committee of faculty, staff, and administrators who reviewed the
Williams in New York Program, which was started in 2005 in a pilot stage
with the intention of being reviewed by a committee. The question being
addressed by the committee was, “Should the Williams in New York Program
Sykes (WNY alum, 2008) said that they recommended 6-3 that the program
should be ended. The strengths were value of experiential learning,
overcoming rural isolation, 2020 and issues of diversity, abundance
of cultural opportunities, and location. The weaknesses were difficulty
of integrating fieldwork with academic coursework, lack of curricular
coherence, uneven quality of fieldwork placements, inconsistent quality
of adjunct instructors, low student demand, and inefficient administrative
Goldstein (co-President) asked what people’s initial reactions were
to the committee’s review of the program?
Flournoy (Minority Concerns) said that it seemed backwards to vote to
kill the program before changing it.
Bialis (WNY alum, 2008) said that she found the report negative and
she urged students to take the report with a grain of salt especially
because it is not fair to compare the pilot program with its permanent
Sykes (2008) said that what was most shocking was that not one student
was interviewed by the committee after their experience in Williams
in New York. He also thought that the report did not reflect the student
testimonials and experiences and he thought that the strengths in the
report did not accurately depict the value of the classes and fieldwork.
Bloch (WNY alum, 2009) said that she was interviewed in the Spring and
was never asked to do a follow up interview after she completed the
program. She thought that this was especially important because the
program changes each semester because it is still in its pilot phase.
Fowler-Cornfield (WNY alum, 2009) said that her views were impressions
of the program before she had actually completed the program.
Randle (WNY alum, 2008) also said that she did not see any of her impressions
were reflected in the committee report. She said that part of the negative
that irked her the most was the “lack of curricular coherence” because
what semester at Williams has there been curricular coherence among
all the departments.
Nurnberg (co-President) asked whether the students had all had positive
Bialis (2008) said that she had not had an entirely positive experience
but she felt very strongly that part of the reason for that was that
it was only eight students living together on one floor.
Sykes (2008) said that the most powerful and misleading point of the
review is the cost of Williams in New York. Next year they will be sending
students to NYU for classes so they will have to add in the cost of
that next year. He also wondered what the subsidy was for students at
Williams in general.
Marrs (WNY alum, 2009) also added that because the program is still
in its pilot phase alumi couldn’t donate directly to the program.
She said that alumni love the program and are really supportive of the
program and have indicated that they would love to donate to the program,
but cannot do so now because it is still considered to be a pilot program.
Nurnberg (co-President) said that cost is not really the issue here.
If the faculty think it is a valuable program the school will find a
way to pay for it. He said that one of the issues he thinks will be
problematic for professors is having adjunct professors of varying quality
teach under the Williams name. He also said that the educational value
of the program relative to study abroad programs that are not affiliated
with the college is not really the issue.
Sykes (2008) said that he thought that it was hard to recruit professors
to the program because it is still in its pilot phase.
Randle (2008) added that the program was still in its dynamic phase
and that courses were changing semester to semester. She added that
demand for the program was misrepresented in the review.
Rubinsky (Class of 2010 Rep) said that he actually thought that Oxford
has low demand as well. Ben Sykes (2008) added that the Oxford Program
initially had to recruit people to do the program and once it was institutionalized
that changed. Lauren Bloch (2009) added that she thought that demand
would change once there was institutional memory of the program.
Marrs (2009) said that there was still room for improvement academically
but that does not merit ending the program. She said that she had thirty
papers or more for the semester, so they were doing a substantial amount
Sykes (2008) said that he thought the field placements were outstanding
and that the tutorial framework was a great opportunity for students.
He said that you learn about other institutions by having a tutorial
Bialis (2008) added that she thought that it was ridiculous to say that
anyone except a sociology professor could help a student get the full
value out of their job.
Goldstein (co-President) added that he thought the fieldwork was portrayed
as not being the “Williams way.”
Bialis (2008) responded that she thought that it was quintessentially
the “Williams way” and that the tutorial format of the fieldwork
she did helped her understand and analyze her workplace and do actual
Marrs (2009) added that places call students interns because there is
no other term to really describe what they are doing. She said that
although some work may be tedious, the only way to understand a lot
of how a corporation runs is to sit there and do the tedious job for
Bloch (2009) added that her field work did not include any photocopying
or filing and it was all experiential and gave her opportunities to
see a side of business she would have never seen before and she appreciated
that opportunity so much and thought that it was an amazing program
if it is done right and thought that it had the potential to continue
to be a great program.
Goldstein (co-President) wondered if the program would work without
Bloch (2009) said that there is still value in being in the city. Deborah
Bialis (2008) said that without the fieldwork it wouldn’t work because
that is what makes the Williams in New York so appealing.
Butts (Spencer At-large) asked about the internship label.
students of WNY said that they largely put it on their resumes as fieldwork
or an internship and then had a rider that explained how their work
became a lot more than an internship.
Randle (2008) said that sometimes the organizations did not understand
the difference between fieldwork and intern work and as time has gone
on the situations has become one with less internship-based work and
more with fieldwork as places come to understand what it means to do
Marrs (2009) commented that she actually switched where she was doing
her fieldwork because she could not break in to the school system that
she began working in and she asked to switch on a Thursday and was placed
in another program by Monday. She thought that the program was
very efficient and dedicated to giving the students a good experience
doing actual fieldwork to help students explore industries.
Nurnberg (co-President) asked if any students present came to Williams
for the WNY program.
students said that it did attract them to the school (Joey Kiernan,
Lauren Bloch, Bekka Marrs, and a sophomore who is going next year to
work at a medical place). They said that the program was especially
appealing because you can immerse yourself in programs and get real
Nurnberg (co-President) asked what the value was as a class.
Moore (Class of 2009 Rep) said that students study away every semester
and have a number of different experiences in terms of workload.
Butts (Spencer At-large) said that he thought faculty were concerned
because grades count towards Williams GPA.
Ko (Wood At-large) wondered what CC could do for WNY and how they were
doing with petition to keep the program.
Sykes (2008) said that he thought that it was very important that faculty
understand that the program is academically viable and he spent most
of his time academically immersed.
Bloch (2009) thought that it was important that it had the Williams
name on it and that you could spend a semester away but still have the
Williams education that you expect when you come to this school and
thought that it was a great thing to offer to the student body in the
Sykes (2008) sent us a proposed motion for us to vote on to express
to the faculty that we think the program is worth continuing. College
Council members discussed the wording of the motion at length and ultimately
changed it to the motion below.
Nurnberg (co-President) asked if the WNY alums would go talk to Professor
Waters about the inaccuracies of the study.
motion reads: College Council urges the Williams faculty to support
the sustainment and continued improvement of Williams in New York. We
recognize the program’s imperfections in the pilot phase. However,
we think its potential benefits for future generations of Williams students
outweigh the problems. As the elected representatives of the student
body, we see a clear pedagogical value in
the program’s academic offerings. First and foremost, we implore the
faculty to consider the statements and arguments made by the Williams
in New York alumni. We urge you to vote NO on the proposed motion to
terminate the program.
Flournoy (Minority Concerns) motioned to pass the motion. Tasha Chu
(Dennett) seconded the motion.
motion passed unanimously.
Two absences in a row or three in a term result in a member’s expulsion,
unless overridden by the secretary’s discretion or petition
to the Council.
Emily C. Deans