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.
My name is Panchompoo Wisittanawat. (I go by Fai.) I would like to be your next Educational Policy Representative.
I am running for the position because I am deeply interested in education and educational policy. My academic experience at Swarthmore has been a formative and challenging one. I am truly appreciative of the rich academic resources that the college provides, but I believe that there is more work to be done to make sure that all students succeed in what they aim for at Swarthmore. As the Educational Policy Representative, I will work closely with students and the administration to make the existing resources accessible and look for areas where the college can still do better.
I am a physics major in the Class of 2013, with chemistry and education minors. In the past two years, I have been involved in many activities related to the college’s educational policies and beyond. I served as a student representative on the Curriculum Committee. I have been investing a lot of time and energy to provide student inputs in the Strategic Planning process, especially on issues regarding academic support and students’ educational experiences. In addition to educational-policy-related work, I served as a co-president of I-20 (The International Club), which gave me the opportunity to be engaged with the campus community through various events that I-20 organized.
As the Educational Policy Representative, in addition to attending the Curriculum Committee and the Council on Educational Policy regularly, I will continue and initiate conversations around the following student concerns and push for changes that students want to see.
Department Specific Academic Support: In the past two years, academic support has been a widely discussed topic among students and faculty. While the sciences have been praised for their support systems, namely SAs and tutors, it is time we reevaluated the existing programs as the introductory science classes have become significantly larger. In addition, we should look for a possibility to expand the support systems to departments in other disciplines.
Writing Courses and Writing Requirement: At present, there are many continuing student concerns regarding writing courses and the writing requirement. To be specific, some students are concerned with the inconsistency in terms of expectation and quality of writing courses, and the lack of upper-level writing courses. Sometimes students find that their writing improves more in a non-writing course. I believe there should be a reassessment of the rubric for writing courses, and possibly a student end-of-the-term, writing-specific evaluation for every writing course.
Course Diversity: For a college of our size, Swarthmore already offeres a wide variety of classes, but as the world is changing rapidly and there is always something new to learn, it is not easy to keep up. However, visiting professors can be great resources for emerging fields of study or ones that are in high demands among students, and we should have more say in who the college recruits to be visiting professors and and which field of study they represent.
These are a few concerns that I have heard discussed among students in the past years. However, when I am the Educational Policy Representative, I will make a serious effort to listen to students’ opinions, foster conversations, and communicate students’ ideas to the administration.
I am committed to and excited for this position. I will make it a top priority. With your help, we can create a formative and supportive academic atmosphere.
Thank you and good luck with the rest of the semester!