Educational Policy Rep: Ayanna Johnson

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

Dear Swarthmore Student Body:

My name is Ayanna Johnson. I’m a junior political science major and double minor in biology and psychology. As the Educational Policy Representative, I will continue the work and progress of previous representatives, by developing a close relationship with the Deans and the Provost and effectively translating student voices and demands into actual policy and practice. I currently serve as a student representative on the Recruitment, Composition of Class and Financial Aid Planning Committee for 2020. In this position I have gained a working knowledge of how the College works and have offered insight into the makeup of the future student body. I have also been a tutor/mentor at Smedley Middle School in Chester and am currently the co-coordinator for the program. In this position I have learned a lot about the importance of education and advocacy.

As Ed. Policy Representative I plan to:

(1) Maintain the Course Syllabi on Blackboard. As pre-registration looms near, it would be beneficial to have access to course syllabi before registering for a class. I will work collectively with Academic Departments to create a feasible plan uploading syllabi and making sure that almost all the classes offered by a particular faculty member are available.

(2) Update the Class Recommendation Book. Currently, the Class Rec. Book is only accessible to the Classes of 2010, 2009 and 2008. I will work with SCCS to come up with a way to grant site access to the current freshmen and the incoming class. Additionally, I will work with the site managers to develop a system that allows incoming freshmen to access the site, even though they have not taken any classes at Swarthmore.

(3) Advocate for the expansion of student-support programs to help students succeed in their studies. I will work closely with Departments and the Administration to look into the possibility of increasing student-run help sessions for students in the Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts and creating summer programs or more on-campus help for students who need extra help in making the transition to college. These programs would be similar to ones that exist in other schools that allow students to take courses that offer essay writing, study skills, math and science preparation, etc.

(4) Advocate for the expansion of Interdisciplinary Programs to enrich the current course offerings by providing more diverse course selection. This would include, but is not limited to:

(a) Increasing course offerings in the Environmental Studies programs, such as Green Energy, Food and Agriculture, Sustainable Living, etc

(b) Expanding the breadth of and updating course offerings in the Depts. of Art, Political Science, English, History, etc to become a more diverse and inclusive representation of the subjects

(c) Facilitating the discussion of creating an Ethnic Studies Major/minor

(d) Allowing for more flexibility in creating special majors.

(e) Developing more service/community based learning courses to strengthen partnerships between the College and the greater community in which we live.

(f) Helping push for the transition of current minors and special programs to become course and honors majors.

(5) Re-evaluate the Writing “W” graduation requirement. I will work with the administration to expand the amount of W courses offered and/or allow for more classes to be counted as W courses if certain guidelines are met.

(6) Expand seminar offerings for non-freshman and course majors to ensure that all students have a chance to take seminar courses.

(7) Encourage Departments to offer mid-semester course evaluations to help professors identify areas for improvement before the end of the semester.

(8) Taking inspiration from the 2020 Planning Process Student Forum held by Student Council this past February, I plan to be in constant communication with students to hear concerns and suggestions for an improved academic life at Swarthmore. Additionally I will take these concerns and relay them to the Curriculum Committee and the Council on Educational Policy. Student Council is supposed to be an advocate for students and not just a representative. I will work hard to be an advocate for student’s academic needs! Please feel free to contact me with any questions and as always, I am open to suggestions!

Vote Ayanna for Ed Policy Representative!

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