Student-Led Boards Amplify Undergrad Voices Across Campus
Widener University prides itself on empowering its students to create better futures. And that empowerment includes creating ways to ensure student voices are heard about their education.
Schools and colleges within Widener have created different platforms to allow their students to have direct connections to higher administration so they are able to voice their opinions. This allows students to be more involved and allows them the opportunity to be invested in their education at the highest levels.
The School of Nursing, for example, has created a Widener University Student Nurses Association (WUSNA) for nursing students, and the College of Health and Human Services has several student boards including the Graduate Student Advisory Council and a student government group for Graduate Clinical Psychology. These clubs and councils are highly valued by Widener faculty and students and often host meetings or events for students.
“Widener is an institution that values student voices. The students are the reason for us being here, so whether it’s a survey, a focus group, or an advisory board, Widener is always looking for ways to gain student feedback,” said John Downey, dean of students.
The School of Business Administration (SBA) recently put together a Student Advisory Board to amplify student voices. The board is made up of 14 students from different majors and classifications within the school. The goal of this board was to give students a platform and direct way of communicating to the dean, so students may express thoughts on ways to improve or brainstorm new ideas that they would like to see implemented in the SBA.
Anthony Wheeler, dean of the School of Business Administration, saw there was a need for more opportunities to hear student voices and gain their insights on the events in the SBA. He put together the Student Advisory Board to create an opportunity for students to have a way to voice their opinion to the administration.
“This board is a formal platform where the representative students can speak with me and other administrators in the School of Business, about their experiences, what they’re happy about and what needs improvement,” Wheeler said.
The students on the board were nominated by SBA faculty. Being nominated to be part of the advisory board was an exciting opportunity for senior accounting and finance major, Xavier Ross ‘22 and sophomore sports and events management major, Donya Moore ‘24.
“I was surprised that I was nominated because it was the beginning of my sophomore year, but I was honored and decided to accept the invitation because I saw this as a chance to voice my opinion,” Moore said. “I’m excited for us to get involved and share our opinions and watch things happen and change. I’ve spoken with alumni on the Alumni Board, and they’ve talked about the things that they did as an undergrad and it's nice to know that I have the same opportunity”
Ross added: “Being that I am a senior, I felt like it was such an honor to even be considered for the opportunity, and that my professors would even think of me as a good fit for this role.”
Both Moore and Ross see this as a great chance to get students more involved and excited to be a part of the SBA, and they hope the advisory board continues for many years.
“I hope that I can help establish a foundation for this board so that when I leave, it can keep going. I believe that having a Student Advisory Board in the SBA can create more awareness for the activities and clubs that we do offer like the Money Club and overall, the students will feel more empowered because they feel like their voices are being heard and they are being represented,” Ross said.
The board currently meets twice a semester, and they’re looking to get together and meet with the Deans' Advisory Board Council soon to discuss new ideas and give their feedback.
As the SBA Student Advisory Board work takes hold, Widener’s Communications Studies program in the College of Arts & Sciences is bringing back its Student Advisory Board after a pandemic hiatus. The board also provides students across all disciples in Communications Studies an opportunity to voice their opinions. This year, they hope to focus on impacting their first-year seminar curriculum.
“Our students are experts of the student experience and our job as faculty is to provide relevant content that keeps up with the trends and will benefit them,” said Associate Professor Angie Corbo, who chairs the communications studies program. “The student advisory board allows us to get feedback from our students about how new initiatives and changes to the programs they are part of will come across.”