By Patricia Ressell-Deras
If you have been following The Equinox then you already know about the plans for a “new FDU.” If you have not, then allow me to fill you in.
Over the last year and a half, The Equinox has been reporting on FDU’s five-year strategic plan. This plan includes multiple changes to the infrastructure and curriculum on both New Jersey campuses. Under this plan professors will commute between the Metropolitan and Florham campuses to teach classes.
At first this idea may seem like a match-made in heaven when the offer of taking courses, usually taught at Florham, is right at your fingertips. However, the longer one muses at the thought of such an idea, the more holes the plan has.
One of the biggest issues with this idea is the commute itself. There is a whopping distance of 31 miles that separate the two campuses. Anyone that has driven in New Jersey knows that Jersey is infamous for, not only its disregard for speed limits but also, the heavy amounts of traffic on any road that is not local. Due to this looming issue, how can the University be sure that professors make classes on time?
The plan states that professors will be required to travel between campuses, but there is no mention as to how the professors are supposed to get from one campus to the other. Will the University provide transport for the professors, or will the professors be expected to transport themselves to the other campus? And if so, then will there be compensation? Any inkling of an answer to such important questions do not seem to be located anywhere in the Consultant’s Report that was given to FDU staff last Spring.
Another issue with this idea is the fact that if professors have to constantly be traveling between campuses, what will happen to their office hours? This would make it even more difficult for students to reach professors.
In many programs, academic advisors also double as professors. If a student wants to meet up with their advisor, but the faculty member has to leave during that time to make it on time for their class on the other campus, how will the student’s needs be addressed?
The Equinox tried to reach out to multiple faculty members to gain their opinion on the matter. All inquiries to an interview were turned down. This may be due to the behind the scenes politics that the faculty members are part of.
Either way, no professors were comfortable exchanging any words regarding the issue. Which raises the question, are professors really okay with this major upcoming change? And what will happen to the professors that may fight back against such change?
In the Consultant’s Report, it notes that FDU’s Silberman College of Business operates on both campuses already, so they will act as a model for the upcoming changes.
In order to gain some perspective on what it’s like to travel between campuses, The Equinox interviewed sophomore Business Administration major, Angela Winkens to examine her experience. Winkens is currently enrolled in Silberman College, and just last semester had to travel to the Florham campus to attend classes.
“The transportation back and forth takes a really long time,” Winkens said. “If you’re taking a class that is going to be an hour and 15 minutes, you’re probably going to spend two hours just in travel. It can be kind of unpredictable when you’re getting back because of traffic.”
While Winkens does agree that having professors travel between campuses rather than students may be “a little bit better,” she claims that this is only due to the professor being one person who has to travel back and forth, rather than a class full of students.
“Talking like timewise, I feel like it would be easier for the professors to do it,” Winkens stated.
Overall this idea of traveling teachers possesses just as many issues as it does questions. So far there seems to be no answers to any questions. As of right now, the students and faculty are still left in the dark regarding some very concerning problems.