Town hall to deliberate freshman experiences

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    The future of TCU is coming into focus as members of Vision In Action will host a town hall meeting concerning the freshman experience today.VIA is Chancellor Victor Boschini’s strategic plan for the future of TCU that creates funding for programs that will enhance the university’s future with higher quality, braver visions and nobler purposes, according to the TCU Web site.

    Leo Munson, associate vice chancellor for academic support, said the program “will allow us to see who we are and show who we intend to be.”

    Andy Fort, a professor of religion, will lead the town hall meeting by discussing the progress and future of the common reading program, which first began in fall 1998.

    “The common reading program assembles about 20 first-year students into groups together with a faculty member as they discuss certain texts,” Fort said. “This may be the first faculty-student interaction that these students have and should build up their comfort level.”

    The town hall meeting is set up to facilitate audience involvement, Munson said.

    “The goal of the event is to have the presenter give a brief narrative of what they intend to do and hope to achieve,” Munson said. “I would hope the narration only takes 15 minutes, and the meeting would continue with feedback from the audience.”

    Audience feedback at the meeting should determine whether the program’s continuation is warranted, Munson said.

    “Through the meeting, we want to explain what we are doing and why,” Munson said. “We hope to get input from students who both did and did not participate and see if it has any merit.”

    The town hall meeting will also let the TCU community know how the school is spending the grants, said Catharine Wehlburg, director of the office for assessment and quality enhancement.

    For example, Ann Sewell, associate provost of planning and budgeting said the 1.5-year common reading group program has a budget of $26,300.

    Munson said he doesn’t know how many students will participate in today’s meeting but said although current students will not be directly affected by the discussion’s topic, it will be interesting to see the student perspective on both subjects.

    “If you ask people to participate in an open forum, they will,” Munson said. “And they have good ideas.”

    There will be another town hall meeting to discuss the grant-funded biodiversity program May 3.