November 8 Staff Forum Recap

The fall staff forum on November 8 in the Bordy Theater started off with introductions of new staff members. Next, Amy Elvidge (Facilities) and Erica Salling (Engagement Lab) led the audience in an interactive exercise to showcase an app that they developed called Recyclr. Called “Tinder for recycling,” the app tests users’ recycling knowledge by asking users to swipe left if an item pictured belongs in the trash or right if it belongs in recycling. You can play it online by logging into using your Emerson ID number and email address (case sensitive). Elvidge then gave a brief reminder of where e-waste can be recycled (IT or Facilities) and where batteries can be recycled (most building lobbies). She also announced the dates for the 2018 RecycleMania office competition, March 12–16. Staff can get involved with sustainability initiatives in their buildings by joining the Green Team. Contact for more information.

Eric Sykes (Admission) provided some demographics for the Class of 2021 and shared some College rankings. Emerson has moved from #14 to #7 in the U.S. News & World Report: Regional Universities–North ranking since 2012. Many factors including retention, graduation rate, and alumni giving contribute to the rankings each year, but the principal driver of the rankings are peer assessments, and Emerson’s climb can be attributed to an improving reputation within higher education.

Applications to the College have seen a 13% increase since last year. The Class of 2021 is the biggest class ever, with 932 matriculants. The average high school GPA increased to 3.74 and the average SAT score was 1211.

Students of color comprise 25.6% and international students comprise over 10% of the incoming class. International student matriculation has increased 150% over the past five years. Domestically, a larger percentage of Emerson students originate from the Southeast and Southern regions of the United States, following national population shift trends.

Transfer enrollment has been steady and makes up roughly 20% of the incoming undergraduates. The number of applicants to graduate programs is up since last year, with 296 grad matriculants this year.

Sykes also noted that the College is implementing a test-optional admission policy for the 2018 admission cycle and that admission is working toward increasing the diversity of the incoming class.

President Pelton spoke next about the recent student demonstration at a Faculty Assembly meeting. Two years ago, students came to a Faculty Assembly meeting to speak about what they felt were hurtful incidents in the classroom. Immediately afterward, a faculty ad hoc committee was formed to examine practices and pedagogy that addressed diversity in the classroom and in the curriculum. The committee worked with the offices of Diversity and Inclusion and Academic Affairs to develop workshops around cultural competency and inclusive pedagogical practices. The Office of Diversity and Inclusion also created a bias reporting system, to provide an avenue to report incidents that community members feel involve bias. In response to concerns expressed by students in 2015, the College has also doubled the programming budget to recruit and enroll students of color.

But at the end of October, students arrived at Faculty Assembly to announce that they felt like not much has changed in the classroom in two years. They provided a list of action items for how the College could better meet the needs of students in the classroom and on campus. The ad hoc committee held an open session with faculty, students, and staff to address the action items. It will recommend suggestions for moving forward. Administrators also met with the student group POWER to talk about action items that rest with administrators. One of these items was a request for more DACA support, and a webpage will be created that will highlight resources available to DACA students. Other actions to address concerns are currently being discussed.

President Pelton also mentioned the recent letter that he sent to the community, which was written in response to a letter sent out by the chair of Faculty Assembly to faculty, about the student protests.

He ended the forum by taking questions from the audience. A question was asked about the College’s recent purchase of 171 Tremont. He replied that the short-term plan is to move units that are currently in leased spaces into the building.