October 9, 2003

Dean's Advisory Council seeks student input

The Dean's Advisory Council is beginning its third year of work with a meeting next Thursday. The members of the committee for this year are Yenisey Rodriguez, Yi Rong, Jeremy Guttman, Laura Horovitz, Steve Cicala, Elaine Lin, and T.J. Flippin. Brittany Ann Simmons will be the secretary and I will be the chairperson of the council. The council meets with Susan Art, dean of students in the College, and various College advisers in order to discuss a wide variety of issues that influence student life. It is generally focused on improving students' experiences in the College and does this through dialogue; it is not a forum for complaints or unilaterally trying to effect change. In the past, we have discussed issues ranging from the College advising system to how students select concentrations or how the University handles student death. In particular, we try to focus on issues that are not addressed by student government, Inter House Council, or other bodies of student representatives.

This year, The Chicago Maroon is giving me the chance to use its pages to invite student commentary from outside the council and report back on its discussions. Our first topic of the fall will be students' summer experiences. In particular, we are examining how students prepare for summer—how they develop their expectations for the summer, how effective they feel they are at getting the position they want, and how well those summer positions met their expectations during and after the experience itself.

We are hoping that students will write us with any experiences or insights that they feel would be helpful in this discussion. We are open to all manner of comments but those that identify specific strengths or weaknesses of the system are particularly helpful. "My Metcalf sucked/was awesome" might be helpful, but "I'm a transfer student and I couldn't find someone to write a recommendation for me," or "All my basket-weaving friends and I couldn't find anything remotely related to our field. More attention to basket weavers, please," would be better.

Students who wish to voice their thoughts on this issue can write to dac@listhost.uchicago.edu. We ask that they include their name, year, and concentration in the message. We also invite students to submit topics that they believe need addressing in future meetings. All mail will be read by Brittany and myself and passed on anonymously at the council's students and general meetings.