Student Input Vital to AAPR’s Success

Last spring, President Carmen Ambar called on the Oberlin community — students, staff, faculty, and alumni — to think critically and creatively about the institution’s present and long-term stability. Speaking candidly, she outlined some of the challenges facing Oberlin and similar institutions.

To respond, President Ambar announced Oberlin’s Academic and Administrative Program Review, an 18-month initiative that seeks to address both immediate financial needs and the long-term direction of the College and Conservatory. Of the 31 members of the AAPR Steering Committee, 16 are faculty and three are students. As the student representatives, we are committed to transparent communication and community input. But we are only a small group, and to effectively point Oberlin on a path for success, we need your input.

On Sept. 7, students received an email from President Ambar inviting them to participate in a survey about Oberlin. Data collected from the survey will directly inform recommendations made by the the AAPR Steering Committee in the spring. But as it stands today, less than twenty percent of Oberlin students have filled out the AAPR survey. Considering that students’ perspectives are vital for any consideration of change or growth on campus, low survey participation is a problem for students and a problem for Oberlin.

Often, college-wide initiatives or committees that work behind the scenes go unnoticed until decisions are made, some more popular than others. As the year continues, the Steering Committee will host community conversations, forums, and opportunities for feedback. Students should participate early and often in this process, starting with filling out the surveys before they close Sept. 28.

The AAPR process presents the Oberlin community with an enormous task, as well as an opportunity to reflect on what we do well and what can work better. Students must add their voices and lead these conversations.

With thanks,

Kameron Dunbar, Sadie Keller, and Janet Wu
Student members, Academic and Administrative Program Review Committee