Student leaders meet President about Plan

Discussions center around CLASS, language

On Monday, November 26, at 5 pm in the Fischbach Room in the Folsom Library, several members of the Student Senate, the Rensselaer Union Executive Board, and the Student Life Advisory Council met with RPI President Shirley Ann Jackson to discuss the finalization of the Rensselaer Plan Refresh.

According to President of the Union Jonathan Stack ’13, approximately 12 senators, six E-Board members, and six SLAC members attended the meeting. They were joined by Jackson herself, as well as members of the Rensselaer Plan Writing Committee, including Vice President for Student Life Timothy Sams, Provost Prabhat Hajela, Vice President for Finance and Chief Finance Officer Virginia Gregg, Vice President for Information Services and Technology and Chief Information Officer John Kolb ’79, Vice President for Strategic Communications and External Relations William Walker, and Director of the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies Jonathan Dordick.

Stack said that Jackson will be presenting the revised Plan to the Board of Trustees in December. An e-mail disbursed by Jackson on August 29 of this year suggests the same thing, stating that “a revised document will be submitted to the Board of Trustees by December 1. President Jackson will seek Board approval of the revised Plan at the Board of Trustees’ December meeting.”

Grand Marshal Kevin Dai ’14 explained that Jackson had met with faculty, staff, and endowed chairs earlier in the day on Monday and concluded the finalization process by talking to the student leaders who met with her that night.

During the meeting itself, Dai said there were many questions about “the Clustered Learning, Advocacy, and Support for Students initiative, language programs, greek life and CLASS’s relationship, community involvement, diversity of the student body, study abroad, and many questions about research.” According to Dai, the topic of research was of particular interest to Jackson, whose “vision is for most students to be involved in [research].” Stack added that the issue of the Insitute’s new capital campaign was also discussed at length, particularly in regard to where exactly the funds will be coming from and how the funds will aid students financially.

Despite the number of topics discussed, Stack felt that many of them were more specific than the meeting called for. He said that the Rensselaer Plan is, essentially, “a strategic road map” for the Institute to follow. Basically, the Plan provides a framework for the Institute for the next 10 to 12 years, but the specific details will be dealt with through the Performance Plans that RPI’s various departments develop on a yearly basis.

Both Stack and Dai felt that the meeting was a nice way for Jackson to obtain feedback from students. They each said that Jackson and the members of the Writing Committee actively listened to the input the student leaders had to provide and took notes in great detail. Stack also said that the meeting was “much more of a conversation than a formal discussion,” which he felt benefited the productivity of the meeting.

For more information about the revised Rensselaer Plan, members of the Rensselaer community can visit and log in using their RCS credentials. For questions regarding the Plan, contact