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Loss of AACSB accreditation, budget for 2014-15 year main talking points during Senate meeting

Story by Timothy Webber

Drake Student Senate spent much of its meeting on Thursday reviewing next year’s budget for annually funded student organizations.

Treasurer Cole Schwartz gave a presentation detailing the allocation of funding by the Student Fees Allocation Committee (SFAC) to each of the student organizations that receive annual funding. The discussion will be continued in next week’s meeting.

Schwartz said about 60 percent of student fees are allocated to these types of organizations. The remaining 40 percent is spread out over other areas, such as the Board of Student Communications, the Student Discretionary Fund and the USA Today readership program.

“We’ve been utilizing our money very efficiently this semester,” said auditor Ethan Gascho. “As SFAC sees it, we’re utilizing it more appropriately, and we have excess that we need to use, so I think SFAC has done a very good job.”

Sen. Kevin Maisto discussed the withdrawal of the AACSB accreditation application.

“We still have our HLC accreditation,” Maisto reminded the Senate. “This does not change the value of a Drake degree.”

The AACSB is a private organization that colleges can request to be a part of.

“Only about 25 percent of the business colleges across the country are (accredited by AACSB),” Maisto said. “In Iowa, the only three that (are currently accredited) are the three state schools.”

Maisto also noted that this year’s graduating seniors will not be affected by the withdrawal, but other classes might be.

“It will take at most two years (to regain AACSB accreditation),” Maisto said. “There is a small chance that the sophomores could have (accreditation when they graduate), but more likely than that it won’t be until the current first-year class.”

Maisto said that after talking to a number of employers in the Des Moines area, the overwhelming majority did not believe the withdrawal of the accreditation application would affect the power of a Drake degree.

Olivia O’Hea unveiled an outline of a potential revision to the advising system.

In the new system, students would have two advisors: a professional or “staff” advisor and a faculty advisor. The faculty advisor would be most similar to students’ current advisors, playing a “mentor” to students. The staff advisor would be more of a “human degree audit,” O’Hea said, making sure students are maintaining their path to graduation.

The staff advisor would not necessarily be a part of the same school as the students he or she is advising, meaning faculty members tabbed to be staff advisors would have to undergo cross-training across all schools to better understand the process of obtaining a degree from each college.

O’Hea stressed that the plan is “very rough” right now, and will not be finalized until at least the fall semester.

In other Senate news, both the men’s and women’s Ultimate clubs received funding for their spring seasons on Thursday. The allocated funding ($2,510 for the men’s organization and $1,142 for the women’s) will cover the costs of upcoming regional tournaments.

In addition, Weight Lifting Club received $1,549.47 to cover the costs of running the upcoming Health Fair.

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