Allegheny administrators encourage conversations

Ron Cole, new provost and dean of the college, has been hosting office hours for students. Cole has been serving as provost since July 1, 2015. His office hours are on Wednesdays from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m near the WARC 90.3 FM studio in the campus center lobby. Cole invites students to speak with him.  

“If there’s a question or a concern, I want students to be able to ask me about it,” Cole said.

Cole hopes to strengthen communication between students and administrators. He said he wants to be available, visible and accessible.

“By being available to students, I hope that helps our administration become transparent,” Cole said.

Sue Stuebner, executive vice president and chief operating officer, also holds office hours. According to the college website, Stuebner’s office hours are in room 106 in Bentley Hall.  The hours are updated regularly.

“I think one of the nice things about Allegheny is that it’s a small enough community where students and administrators have the opportunity to get to know one another,” Stuebner said. “You can go to the source and ask any questions you have.”

The transparency of administration has been a recurring concern among the members of the student body. Last year, students expressed their worries during a forum.

Eric Chang, ’17, the Allegheny Student Government attorney general, acknowledged the efforts of administrators to interact with students.

“Luckily we have a student body that is willing to voice their concerns,” he said. “Administration has been trying to get student input on how to make aspects of the college more transparent.”  

Chang said some administrators have been attending ASG meetings. By doing so, administrators get to engage with students.

Cole and Stuebner agreed that office hours provide a venue that allow individual students to learn more about the role of administration and ask questions.

“I think that one of the biggest misconceptions the student body had about administration is that they don’t care about us,” Chang said. “Transparency with administration and the student body has definitely gotten better.”

According to Stuebner, some of the goals the administration are working on include the diversity action plan, enrollment and inviting finalists to fill the role as dean of students.

“We’re continuing to have a lot of conversations about the discussions we started last year—about what it means to be a part of the Allegheny community,” Stuebner said.

Another goal emphasizes experiential learning. According to Cole, the strategic plan is broken down into several parts: internationalization, intercultural experience, access to internships and connecting students with alumni.

“We want our students to be able to gain experience outside of the classroom,” Cole said.

Cole, a 1987 Allegheny alumnus and former professor, said he knows the college well. Now that he no longer works in a classroom setting, he hopes to remain informed about students.

“The discussions that we have among the administration are wide-ranging, but it all centers on the student experience,” Cole said.