I was excited to see that President Florizone’s report on his ‘100 Days of Listening’ had been released, and eagerly read all 196 pages. I do enjoy a nice report, even one as overly long as this, complete with lots of graphs and charts.
Overall, I enjoyed the read. I learned a lot about my university and what other people think of it. When I finished reading the report, I had a few complaints, but only one has stuck with me for days.
President Florizone’s report has a constant air of self-congratulation and excuse making. This can be seen in nearly every section.
In the report, people are quoted complaining about the class sizes, but our faculty-to-student ratio is so much better than any other school! On paper, that looks nice, but it doesn’t make a difference when I can’t get in touch with the prof of my 200-plus class, and they are my only contact person.
Another example is the statistic that Dalhousie has 88 Rhodes scholars on the same page that discusses student debt. That’s a nice fact to whip out on the high school tours, but it doesn’t help me pay this semester’s tuition. There’s a time for that, and this isn’t it.
Reading through, there are many other examples of this. Name a negative fact, back it up with something positive and at least tangentially related. We need to stop patting ourselves on the back and explaining away our shortcomings and come up with a real plan for improvement. Enticing students in with nice graphs and charts and then leaving them to fend for themselves obviously isn’t working.