EDITORIAL: Advising improvements for President’s office hours
On Oct. 2, University President Ron Liebowitz emailed the Brandeis community inviting students, faculty and staff to his open office hours on Oct. 10, Nov. 6 and Nov. 14. The President’s availability lasts for two hours on each day, and each individual can sign up for one 15 minute slot. More office hours will be available in the future, though specific dates are not mentioned in the email. As of press time, one time slot dedicated to students was available, and two slots for faculty are still available.
This board commends the administration’s efforts to ensure that the voices of the Brandeis community are heard. It is important for the community to directly communicate with the administration about issues that concern them, and office hours are one of the most accessible ways for students to accomplish that. Compared to previous years, the total amount of office hours available this semester has increased from three hours in two days to six hours in three days. The division of time slots have also changed so that students, faculty and staff are each given two hours, ensuring no one group overwhelms the office hour slots.
At the same time, this board encourages the administration to improve upon the current program. While equal representation is important, it is also true that there are more students than faculty and staff and students may struggle to access the administration in other ways. The open office hours only have eight fifteen-minute slots for each group. The students’ slots were filled up almost immediately after the email was sent out, although one of them re-opened, This shows that there is a clear demand for more opportunities like these from students, and the University should consider increasing the hours available for students in the next series of office hours. Even assuming that the eight students or groups who got slots would present on different topics, this would still mean only a small number of issues can be brought up to the administration.
While there are other opportunities that students can communicate with the University, these availabilities should be advertised more by the school, as office hours are.
This board has two other recommendations for the University to improve upon the current program. Considering President Liebowitz has a busy schedule, having other members of the administration participate in similar programs would greatly increase the chance for students to be heard. This board also recommends the administration send out the next series of office hours soon and that it strives to make this a monthly or bimonthly practice.