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      Editorial: Administration should take responsibility for CSP

      Issue date: 4/10/09 Section: Opinion
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      Since 1997, the College Scholars Program (CSP) has provided a small group of undergraduate students the opportunity to participate in a four-semester, 12-credit-hour, living-learning community. But since the implementation of SAGES in 2005, administrators have questioned the utility of the program, which, like SAGES, is seminar-based.

      Peter Whiting, director of SAGES and associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), oversees CSP. From there, the chain of command is unclear. Deputy provost Lynn T. Singer said the program reports to CAS dean Cyrus C. Taylor; Taylor says his role is consultative only. The person who has responsibility for the program should have been decided by now.

      Communication among administrators has been limited; in addition to the aforementioned confusion, Whiting has been working on a review of the program, not knowing that the University Undergraduate Faculty is also conducting a review as part of its review of SAGES. The 2007-2008 summary report authored by former chair Peter Whitehouse was never acknowledged by upper administration.

      Communication from administrators to program participants is also lacking. Earlier this semester, Whiting sent an e-mail to a group of current and former CSP faculty announcing the cancellation of the program, effective after the graduation of the current cohort of students. Two weeks later, the decision was retracted. CSP participants deserve to know the future of the program, as well as the reasoning behind any decisions that are made or retracted.

      Better communication would enable more effective recruitment of both students and faculty to the program. Due to the confusion caused by Whiting's announcement and subsequent retraction, CSP started recruitment later than usual and ended up with half the usual amount of applicants.

      Administrators were debating whether to cut the program and start from scratch or simply make changes to the current structure. We advocate retention of the current program with some modifications.
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