Why should you voice concerns to administration?

Ashley Remkus

When potential students visit campus for the first time, they hear all about the benefits of attending UNA. They are told why this university is better than the other million choices they have.

Among the list of reasons is, “It’s small enough the professors and administrators actually get to know you and care about you. The classes are small, so you’re more than just a number.” Or, they hear something similar, at least.

Although classes are small, for the most part (or at least compared to larger universities), I think many students feel intimidated by college administrators — even those at UNA. When students have a bad experience or face some type of difficulty on campus, they tend to remain silent, or they turn to social media to publicly identify their problems.

I personally have had a great experience the last three and a half years on this campus.

But, when I walked into my Macroeconomics class the first Thursday of this semester, my mouth dropped when I saw the number of students waiting for class to begin. I searched the room for an empty seat and made my way through a narrow row to an empty desk near the middle of the room. When our professor arrived, he announced there were 79 students enrolled in the course.

Students were seated in locations that inhibited their ability to see the board. The classroom was not designed for such a large number of occupants.

I went through the first-day-of-class motions — hearing speeches about semester expectations, overloading my backpack with syllabi and grieving the cost of one of my textbooks. Later I realized, “Oh my gosh. There are 79 people in my class, and some of them couldn’t see from where they were sitting.”

After a little contemplation, I decided I would contact the dean. What could he say besides “I don’t care,” “I’ll get right on that,” or “stop whining”?

Anyway, I dialed the College of Business, asked to speak to the dean and the receptionist prompted me to hold so she could transfer me. At this point, I was not paying much attention because I expected it would ring a few times, I would leave a message and he would call me back later. But, when the dean greeted me, I introduced myself and explained I had some concerns about my class because of the location. He immediately took down my contact information and said he would look into the situation.

Obviously upper-level administrators do not spend every day in the classroom. Something that might look good on paper is not always good in action. Until it is brought to attention, nothing will change. So, for all you students out there experiencing difficulty on campus, talk to your professors, deans, department chairs, somebody. These people are here to help you. They want to help you — especially at this special place we call UNA.

What happened with my class? Well, things did not turn out exactly like I might have hoped. A larger classroom was not available for us. But, we were offered switching to a different section of the course or to the Microeconomics course.

My satisfaction is knowing the leadership at UNA cares about my concerns — and yours.

Thank you, Dr. Greg Carnes, and the rest of the faculty and staff, for your care for the students of UNA.