On the afternoon of Jan. 21, NSU President George Hanbury answered questions from the NSU community in the Arena Club Room in the Don Taft University Center.
Many students asked the president questions about concerns they have with NSU policies, procedures and affairs. Topics for discussion included department funding, opportunities for students of various disciplines and financial aid.
Throughout the meeting, it was established that there will be new residence halls to accommodate the hoped-for 6,000 first-time-in-college students by 2020, part of which will be specifically-geared toward Honors students.
Students of the Farquhar Honors College may have a living community with a live-in faculty member, who, Hanbury said, could advise book clubs and other academic activities outside of the classroom.
Unlike previous years, Hanbury first addressed the NSU community via a prerecorded video and addressed several changes and initiatives NSU is taking or plans to take in the future. One of the initiatives is the planned HCA hospital that NSU hopes to move from Plantation, Fla., to the University Park Plaza off of University Drive.
Hanbury said the hospital will offer research opportunities to students of various disciplines in collaboration with the Center of Collaborative Research, which is set to open this spring. He also explained that researchers at the Cell Therapy Institute, which will open in fall 2016, will also be faculty members in the Health Professions Division (HPD).
Other initiatives include the Noah P. Brown Sports Center, which will house athletics for NSU students, as well as students at the University School, and a new cafeteria and parking garage to compliment the new residence halls.
In the introductory video, Hanbury explained that in the past year, NSU has seen a 17 percent increase in undergraduate students and 80 percent in retention rates of first- and second-year students, highlighted athletic achievements, announced a university-wide emergency drill for March 2016 and showed the audience the donation video that is being used to accrue money for the university.
Ujala Ahmed, junior finance major, asked how some of the new opportunities available on campus, namely research, will benefit the majors not included in science, technology, engineering and/or math (STEM).
In response, Hanbury explained about Vision 2020 and NSU’s goal to double the amount of undergraduate students, which is currently 3000. He also explained that the arts are essential to students becoming more well-rounded and said that additions to NSU’s Razors Edge programs will help bring more students to the arts.
Previously, Razor’s Edge was a program for leadership development that students could apply for prior to entering their freshman year; however, there are now multiple programs incoming freshman can apply to, including Razor’s Edge Global, for incoming students interested in global issues and international relations, Razor’s Edge Research, for incoming students interested in scientific research, Razor’s Edge Shark Cage, for incoming students interested in business development, and Razor’s Edge Shark Talent, for incoming students interested in participating in the arts.
“I encourage the arts,” Hanbury responded. “I really want the honors college to promote the arts and for more students to come as an undergraduate to learn more about the liberal arts… I do want to offer scholarships to young men and women to come here to pursue the arts.”
As Hanbury’s response focused on recruitment, Ahmed followed Hanbury’s response by saying that although she appreciated the information he provided, it did not seem as though the information focused on students who are currently enrolled at NSU.
“Don’t forget about emphasizing retention,” she said. “I just don’t think if you focus on enrollment and not the students who are already here, they’re not going to want to stay. Don’t forget about the students who are already here.”
Two RecWell student employees, whose names are unknown, also confronted Hanbury and administrators about circumstances at RecWell. The students said that some of the gym equipment is faulty, which could lead to injuries, that there is inadequate first aid materials and that there is “faulty funding” for the department as a whole.
Jessica Brumley, vice president of Facilities Management, explained that Facilities Management will continue to work with Aarika Camp, assistant dean for student services and director of Residential Life and Housing, to fulfill work orders for that specific area and that Physical Plant will walk through RecWell to determine the areas that need improvement.
“I do believe that the people who actually work in the spaces that we service are our best resource,” she said. “I don’t think it’s a matter of faulty funding, as you said, I think it’s a matter that safety is our top priority.”
It was also suggested that NSU displays international flags that represent the countries students are from at NSU, which is currently being implemented by the Undergraduate Student Government Association.
Other students complained that there are not enough scholarships available to students, particularly at the graduate level. Hanbury said that the university does offer more scholarships to undergraduates than graduates, but because NSU is a private university, administrators are constantly trying to obtain new donors to support students.
Hanbury will host another student town hall meeting on Feb. 22 at noon in the Steele Auditorium at HPD. To see when student meetings will be held at regional campuses, visit nova.edu/townhall/students/index.html. For more information about meetings, contact Barbara Packer-Muti at firstname.lastname@example.org.