University News

Paxson’s online office hours to commence in spring

UCS Facebook page will faciliate half-hour virtual chat sessions with Paxson several times monthly

By
Staff Writer
Tuesday, December 2, 2014

In an effort to increase interaction between students and the administration, President Christina Paxson is preparing to hold virtual office hours next semester. The virtual access will provide an additional opportunity for “students to engage with President Paxson using a different platform,” said Kimberly Roskiewicz, assistant to the president.

Paxson will hold the virtual office hours every few weeks for half-hour sessions in the early evening in addition to her regular office hours in University Hall, Roskiewicz said. This semester, Paxson has held office hours in University Hall once every three weeks for an hour and a half and has held other meetings with students upon request.

The virtual office hours will be hosted through the Undergraduate Council of Students’ Facebook page, which UCS uses to spread information about its events and other projects on campus.

UCS President Maahika Srinivasan ’15 said one of the council’s primary goals is to give the student body access to administrators. Though the council has attempted to make administrators more available by hosting in-person forums, when approached with the virtual office hours idea, UCS leaders “thought it would be a great way to open up more innovative channels of accessibility,” she said.

The original plan was to start virtual office hours this semester, but due to structural and planning issues the initiative was pushed back to the spring, Roskiewicz said. “We are still trying to figure out how to exactly implement it,” she added.

Students expressed mixed reactions to the virtual office hours.
Lupita Rios ’17 said she thought they would be an efficient way to offer feedback, adding that with her busy schedule she would prefer reaching out to Paxson online rather than walking to her office.
But both Anthony Daoud ’18 and Michael Wicks ’17 agreed that email would be an easier avenue than social media for contacting Paxson with concerns. “Social media seems like a strange, casual platform to talk to President Paxson,” Wicks said.

If the office hours are a success, the format may be altered to reach a broader base, including alums, Roskiewicz said.

  • Blather von Mars

    Virtual perhaps. But far from virtuous. And certainly not effective and not smart.

    • Blather von Blather

      My goodness, you’ve stopped even pretending to have a point.

    • Alum ’97

      Have you lost all perspective? This sort of communication is unbelievably rare for a university administration and an innovative use of online conferencing tools.

      This is a smart and refined application of IT tools that directly benefits students and their campus experience. Forget MOOCs. Brown’s is not a virtual, mass-market educational experience. It never should be. If the general public wants DIY education, it can gorge itself on YouTube, Khan Academy, TED talks, Rosetta Stone, or .pdf copies of the entire library of ‘…for Dummies’ books.