Naveen Sri Uddanti, the member of the SRB who organized the Graduate Forum, addresses the audience.
Jaclyn Wiley/ Former Editor-in-Chief
Students, faculty, and campus leadership poured into the Henderson Welcome Center on the evening of Nov. 3 to discuss the issues facing graduate and Ph.D. level students at Embry-Riddle.
The forum was organized by the Student Government Association (SGA) and was keynoted by Dr. P Barry Butler, the President of the University. Later in the evening, a panel of other campus leaders offered answers and solutions to student questions.
Dr. Butler was the first speaker of the evening, and he first spoke about the value of graduate education, both around the United States and at Embry-Riddle specifically. As the number of graduate programs increase, the value of those programs seem to be declining, as reported by .various news sources.
Embry-Riddle graduate programs are set apart from others due to the high level of expertise offered at Embry-Riddle. The Univeristy carefully considers the market for a graduate program, as well as the potential costs and benefits that the program might incur upon involved stakeholders.
The President also discussed the value of the new research facilities at the Micaplex to the graduate student population. The Micaplex offers research facilities, grant support, and entrepreneurship incubation services to students for their competitive ideas. Dr. Butler further noted that graduate school is the perfect time for entrepreneurs to start their businesses.
Dr. Butler also spoke on the value of effective graduate program professors and how the University encourages good professors and teaching practices. The topic of professor quality and improvement was also discussed at length later in the evening during the panel by Dr. Maj Mirmirani, the Interim Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Research.
“It was great hearing President Butler talk, it was really motivational and inspirational for the students.” said Naveen Uddanti, the graduate student representative for the SRB who organized the event.
He continued, “We were really looking for what the research aspects in terms of Embry-Riddle were and [Dr. Butler] definitely delivered those aspects that we were looking for.”
The panel discussion included representatives from many of the major departments on campus, including the College of Engineering, the SGA, Alumni Relations, Career Services and Campus Safety.
Students were encouraged by the panel facilitator, Dr. Aaron D. Clevenger, the Dean of International Student Services, to ask questions of the panels. The questions asked ranged in topic from immigration issues to career advancement to teaching
Immigration and international student employment within the United States were discussed at length, as a large portion of the 600+ graduate student population are international students.
Attended by over a hundred people, the Graduate Student Forum was a major success for the Student Representative Board (SRB), a branch of the SGA.
Uddanti stated, “I’m really happy that so many people RSVP-ed to the event and attended.”
The SRB conducts student forums to bring students together as a way to foster communication, discussion, and the exchange of ideas on an equal platform.