There have been a lot of changes across campus already this semester, and so we sat down with President Roger Casey to see what students, faculty and staff can look forward to in the upcoming semester and year.
When asked about rankings, President Casey spoke to the problems with such systems.
In regards to US News and World Report’s ranking, he was quick to note that that McDaniel was stagnated, due to the refusal of the Annapolis group, the elite liberal arts colleges group of which McDaniel is a member, to turn in their peer review surveys, which serve as 25% of the total score. He also stated that recent Department of Education rankings, though they had actually been kind to McDaniel, had drawn the ire of many college presidents by combining state and private college tuition statistics
He instead suggested students looking for a rating should consult the Money Magazine, “Bang-For-Your-Buck,” ratings, which he felt represented McDaniel in a more positive manner. In regards to what may be the college’s most notable rating, Casey said his final dream for McDaniel is that “I’d really like to be the number one tailgating school in the country.”
Casey also spoke to changes in the Honors Program as put in place by Dr. Upton. He was quick to praise the honors students of McDaniel, stating that, in his opinion, “the best students who are going to McDaniel can play in the same ballpark as the same students that are going to Harvard.”
The focus, according to Casey, is on giving students in the honors program and beyond the support structures to allow them to compete with students from across the country, and to move on to both high-level graduate schools and national fellowship programs such as Fulbright and Rhodes. He said this includes potentially developing for-credit courses to help students apply for graduate schools, prepare for tests such as the LSAT and apply for fellowships.
Casey also confirmed that a design plan was in place for two more North Village style residences; these residences would be similar to those in place at the present, but would be three stories as opposed to two. He was quick to note though that the project was still in the early stages of cost analysis. Renovations on McDaniel Hall are also on the horizon once funds become available, along with a potential expansion of the Decker student center, and renovation of the McDaniel and Harrison Houses.
In regards to Campus Safety’s recent changes, Casey spoke positively about the new leadership of Director Hamrick, and stated that the changes made in response to incidents last year had statistically made the campus much safer. He also noted that the move to Pennsylvania Avenue was a smart and helpful change, but is being delayed due to negotiations with the City of Westminster regarding running cables under the street.
“I’m really optimistic about things that have improved in that area [campus safety] and I hope that students are feeling good about it as well,” said the President.
Lastly, Casey noted that over the summer there had been meetings with a strategic planning group to forge a plan for the future of McDaniel.
“At the core of what we think is important is that McDaniel have what we are calling a Commitment. That we have a commitment with our students that if you come to this college to get an education, we will do everything we can to ensure that you get X, Y, and Z. We don’t want a credibility gap between what we say and what students experience here.”
He stated that the school is looking to offer higher levels of mentoring, expanded access to experiential learning opportunities such as study abroad, internships and service opportunities. Likewise, he mentioned that financial feasibility is still a top priority, along with technological advancement for the campus.
Time will tell how these changes will pan out.