- Dean Elmore takes the plunge.
- Which is the best a cappella group at BU? You decide.
- TEDx comes to BU.
- The annual Redstone Film Festival showcases films and screenplays created by students in COM filmmaking and screenwriting programs. Who was this year’s winner?
- What’s it like to be a visiting dentist in a place where taking a bottle of Coke to bed with you is considered ok?
- Members of BU’s LGBT community offer words of hope.
- Katie Couric’s advice to the 2011 graduating class.
One measure of BU’s quality is how happy our students are. But that’s difficult to quantify. How many cheers per minute constitute Terrier pride? How does one measure the excitement of discovery in the classroom? What’s the value of a tear at graduation?
If anyone knows, it’s Dean of Students Kenn Elmore. It’s the kind of thing he pays attention to, and this year he saw some data points that indicate that students are really digging the fact they’re at BU. “We’re selling more BU gear. More tickets are being picked up for events at the Agganis Arena. The number of student organizations is near an all-time high.”
New Levels of Devotion to BU
One of the best measures of BU pride actually affected Dean Elmore himself. Because more than 2,011 seniors in the Class of 2011 gave money to the Class Gift— shattering the old record from 2009—Dean Elmore donned a tuxedo, red high-tops, and goggles, as hundreds of seniors chanted a countdown, and gracefully leapt into the Charles River on a spring day. The splashy spectacle aside, students really believe in BU or they wouldn’t give.
Another measure of student satisfaction is their “stickiness,” which is an illustrative way to say “retention rate.” The good news is, fewer students have been leaving BU during their time here. In fact, BU had a 91.8 percent freshman retention rate this year, and an 84.9 percent six-year graduation rate (up from the low 70s ten years ago). As Vice President for Enrollment & Student Affairs Laurie Pohl says, “Students want to be here. They want to finish their degree. They’re more engaged.”
Great Examples of Student Experiences This Year:
- Back on track after last year’s snowstorm and projector issues, the Redstone Film Festival awarded its top prize to Salty Dogs, a poetic documentary about a day in the life of Massachusetts fishermen. More than 30 films, first produced for a COM film, television, or video production class, were submitted to the contest.
- BU won an Excellence Award from NASPA (Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education) for its “Goodwill, not landfill” program, which recycled 35 tons of clothing and housewares after spring semester.
- This year, the “College Jeopardy!” champion was BU student Erin McLean, who took home $100,000 and a nifty picture of herself with Alex Trebek.
“We’re selling more BU gear. More tickets are being picked up for events at the Agganis Arena.”Kenn Elmore, Dean of Students
Engagement Happens Off Campus As Well
At the beginning of the 2010/2011 academic year, a record-breaking 1,238 freshmen arrived to take part in the First-Year Student Outreach Project (FYSOP), now in its 21st year and a defining experience for many incoming students. Run by BU’s Community Service Center, FYSOP allows freshmen to study and become involved in one of 10 societal issues. Students then spend several days volunteering at related Boston-area organizations and give themselves a superb grounding in community service before they’ve even attended their first class at BU.
Then there are the law students who work at BU’s Asylum & Human Rights Clinic (AHR), which is run out of Greater Boston Legal Services. Students help people seeking asylum and fighting deportation. They also handle Violence Against Women Act cases, temporary restraining orders in Probate and Family Court, and other immigration and humanitarian cases.
“For all of our clients, what’s at stake is their lives,” says Susan Akram, a School of Law clinical professor and one of three AHR supervisors. “It’s not just a question of money or benefits. If we lose, people are injured or killed. That’s what we have to live with.”