Officials revive SMPA council to garner student feedback

Media Credit: Hatchet File Photo

Frank Sesno, the director of SMPA, said the council will discuss a broad range of topics related to SMPA, including ideas for potential new courses and student leadership.

Updated: Nov. 12, 2018 at 5:52 p.m.

The School of Media and Public Affairs is launching a new forum to gather student input on courses, events and technology.

The SMPA Director’s Council, a group that aims to bring students and administrators together to discuss ways to improve the school, will have its first meeting at the end of the month. Frank Sesno, the director of SMPA, said the council will discuss a broad range of topics related to SMPA, including ideas for potential new courses and student leadership.

“The purpose of the SMPA Director’s Council is to have ongoing dialogue between students and SMPA leadership,” Sesno said in an email. “We want to create a platform to have dynamic conversations about the student experience at SMPA.”

Sesno said the group is a reincarnation of SMPA’s Student Advisory Council, an initiative created by former SMPA Director Lee Huebner in 2007 that is no longer active. Sesno added that the school is looking to revive the council to create a consistent forum for administrators to hear from students.

“I felt the Student Advisory Council that we organized some years ago was a very helpful project, and strongly support Director Sesno’s plan to revive the idea,” Huebner said in an email.

Sesno said the council’s first meeting on Nov. 30, which is open to all SMPA students, will involve a discussion of the council’s size, including the number of students, faculty and administrators; the potential organizational structure of the council; and future agendas and meeting times.

“We value the input of our students and want to hear about their experiences and represent their interests in extracurricular activities and events,” Sesno said. “Our students are also a crucial part of the unique and intergenerational SMPA community. We are proud to help continue to foster that community which makes the experience so special.”

Two SMPA students launched the SMPA Student Advocacy Mentoring and Programming Council last year with a similar goal – to provide SMPA students with an outlet in which they could voice their concerns. But since the beginning of the academic year, only two posts have been written in the organization’s Facebook page.

André Gonzales and Jonathan Kandell, the two founders of StAMP, did not return multiple requests for comment.

David Karpf, SMPA’s associate director and an associate professor of media and public affairs, said faculty “are aware of and in favor of establishing” the council, characterizing a successful council as a win-win for students and faculty.

“If it’s successful, faculty will have a better window into student opinion, and students will have a better venue for setting priorities and raising concerns,” he said in an email.

This post was updated to reflect the following correction:
A previous version of this article misspelled André Gonzales’ name. It is now spelled correctly. We regret this error.

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