Spinnaker on Attendance

Question asked anonymously vie email

Question posed to Simon J Rhode, Provost and VP of Academic Affairs:

The Spinnaker article on attendance (01/08/2020) quotes Jay Coleman as encouraging students to attend class because they pay for classes. He says, “You’re paying for a service or a product or however you want to look at it. It’d be kinda like paying for a movie ticket and not going or paying to go to a football game and then reading the scores in a paper as opposed to going to experience the game.” This view encourages students to view themselves as passive consumers, instead of active participants in their education. Does the administration view education as entertainment? As faculty members, does the administration think that our primary focus is to please customers?


Answer by email from Dr. Rhodes. Provost and VP of Academic Affairs:

Thank you for the question. It’s not a clean yes or no answer. When a student needs help with a financial aid or advising question, we should show that student the best in customer service. When a student is working several jobs to pay for tuition and fees, we should accept our responsibility to create the best learning and support environment for that student and by being as accessible and engaging as possible: I believe that we do owe both them and the State that. However, in the classroom and in the many other places where learning and development take place on our campus, the relationship is different; in those places, I believe that it is a joint responsibility of faculty, staff, and students to create an interactive environment of learning, discovery, responsibility, and personal development. As a friend of mine once said, and I am not sure if she was the first one to say it, overall in college the student is not a customer, they are the product.

Accommodation for disabled students

Questioner: Anonymous

Question posed to Sheri Shuman, VP of Administration and Finance

I’m not sure if you’re aware of a recent letter published in the Spinnaker regarding the university’s failure to provide effective accommodations for disabled students, including veterans.  In one of my classes, a desk that was set up for a disabled student was repeatedly moved from its place at the back of the lecture hall to a different location, despite signs posted stating that it should not be moved.   On numerous occasions I’ve had to ask other students in the class to carry it to the back of the room so that the student in question had a space to work in. In another class, the promised desk did not arrive from the DRC until several weeks into the semester, and then mysteriously disappeared from the room over spring break. It still has not reappeared. Though the DRC does the best it can it seems that there continue to be issues in this area, and perhaps there needs to be some discussion about making additional resources available to address the problem.

Answered by Pamela Chally, Interim Provost and VP of Academic Affairs

Dr. Chally responded: Ms. Shuman prefers to answer this question in writing.


Answered by Shari Shuman and John Hale, VP of Administration and Finance; Associated VP of Administration and Finance

Physical Facilities works closely with the DRC prior to the start of each semester to ensure that desks needed to fulfill accommodation requests are in place.  All accommodation requests should be submitted to the DRC as early as possible prior to the start of the next term to ensure timely placement.  Additionally, they now maintain an inventory of spare desks in case furniture is damaged or is removed.  If there are issues with damaged or missing furniture after the start of the semester please contact Physical Facilities.  Physical Facilities collects the furniture at the end of each semester to be inventoried and redeployed again as requested.