The Council of Representatives (COR) brought in two guest speakers at its meeting Tuesday to discuss the Strategic Plan initiative within the College of Science as well as the new service that will allow Notre Dame students to rent their textbooks.
Dean Gregory Crawford from the College of Science discussed the strategic plan that is in the process of being implemented within the College. Crawford said he was there to see what the student leaders thought about the effort.
“This is a really important step in having student input in academic decisions,” student body president Catherine Soler said. “This is about moving forward and forming good relationships.”
Crawford said his talk would be centered on developments the College of Science is making in order “to enhance and expand research and enterprise.”
The plan features seven goals, most of which are centered around creating and providing more research opportunities for students within the College of Science.
“The first goal we have is to enhance and expand undergraduate research in our core disciplines,” Crawford said.
This includes creating a new institute within the College for 2011 focused on pure mathematics. The institute “will bring in the best math professors from all over the world for a semester.”
“That way every year will be different and it will help to expand our international collaborations,” he said.
Crawford also said Notre Dame recently was awarded $3.5 million to build a new nuclear accelerator for the federal government.
“A lot of universities like Michigan, Stanford and [the Massachusetts Institute of Technology] were fighting for this opportunity,” Crawford said. “This is the first accelerator the U.S. government has invested in since 1982 and Notre Dame is going to build it.”
Crawford said one of the goals was to cultivate Catholic tradition in the field of science. This particular initiative will be centered on the three Catholic pillars of truth, service and the common good.
“We’re going to be launching a program called Compassionate Care, largely for our pre-med students,” he said. “This will have our students partner with hospice care on the local level, but we will also be participating on the international level with sending a few students to Africa to do work in those communities.”
Crawford said even with the individual proposals, the College will continue to be involved in continuous development.
“We’re really excited about this,” he said. “We’ve done a lot but we’re still not quite there yet.”
Director of Retail Operations for the Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore Keith Kirkpatrick then took the floor to talk about a rental system for textbooks for the 2010-2011 academic school year.
“The rental idea came up on the national level,” Kirkpatrick said. “We did a pilot study in fall 2009 and we’re going to be implementing across the country next academic year.”
The program will allow students to pay a fee to rent the book for a semester for a price that is up to 50 percent off the price of the new book.
“The biggest plus to this program is the upfront savings,” he said. “This program also provides the incentive for professor to make the books more affordable for students because they verbally commit to use the same book for four semesters.”
Kirkpatrick said he believes the price of textbooks is “out of control” and the rental program will help drive costs down.
“We don’t want to see this program fail,” he said. “We don’t want you to feel violated when you buy books.”