Rosenberg fields questions and concerns from the folks at BBC

Jonathan Szydlo/BBC Managing Editor

The Student Government Council at the Biscayne Bay Campus hosted a town hall meeting giving the BBC community the chance to share their questions, comments, and concerns regarding the University, and more particularly BBC, with University President Mark Rosenberg.

Questions ranged from the expansion of course offerings at BBC, the hopeful growth of enrollment and structures, to the maintenance of invasive plant species

Rosenberg, Provost Douglas Wartzok and Vice Provost Steven Moll were introduced by SGC-BBC President and Vice President Denise Halpin and Emilio Collyer, respectively.

Then Rosenberg dove into business after congratulating the campus and its administration for improvements to academic programs and facilities that have occurred over the past two years, including the recent renovations to the Glenn Hubert Library, the Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management’s expansion of their teaching kitchen and fundraising, and plans that are in the works for converting the Mary Anne Wolfe Theatre into a “smart classroom.”

According to Rosenberg, his vision for the next 10 years at BBC is to increase enrollment at the campus’ three anchor programs, by doubling CSHTM, 80 to 90 percent at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, and the School of Environment, Arts and Society by 500 percent.

According to the University’s Office of Institutional Research, CSHTM has 1,990 students enrolled, SJMC has 1,565 while SEAS’ enrollment information was not available at time of press.

However, as mentioned at the April 14 Strategic Plan Town hall meeting, public safety and access to the campus are critical for its growth. Rosenberg acknowledged at this town hall was that if a second entrance into BBC is not actualized, that he will place an enrollment cap on the three schools for the sake of preventing the overcrowding on the campus.

Other goals for the campus are a joint use facility with Alonzo and Tracy Mourning High School and Miami-Dade College, a possible training facility with the private sector for the School of Architecture, and the hopes of a partnership with the Scripps Howard Foundation, who was represented by their President and CEO Mike Philipps.

Students who had concerns with the conditions of Bay Vista Housing, or if there are any planned renovations were pleased to hear that there are plans to create replacement housing for Bay Vista, to be realized within the next two years, according to Moll.

Pablo Haspel, SGC-BBC speaker of the Senate, brought up the online course fee that is required for every online course a student is enrolled in, questioning what those fees are used for, since his constituents have been bringing this up to him.

“The fee will continue, although we will continue to drop it as the number of students that enroll [increases],” said Wartzok. “This isn’t a way of adding additional revenue; it’s the necessity of meeting the costs that are necessitated for providing online courses.”

The University’s environmental impact was also addressed in regards to providing more energy efficient technologies to the facilities at the University. This was addressed by John M. Cal, assistant vice president of Facilities and Management, informing those in attendance that the University ranks first in the state in terms of energy efficiency, a point that Rosenberg reluctantly acknowledged due to his dislike of number rankings.

The question and answer session ended up running about 20 minutes longer than expected, at which point Rosenberg allowed those in attendance with remaining questions to pose them and he will direct them to the appropriate administrator for the department which the questions concerned.

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