Funds given to faculty for entertaining students outside of the classroom have been cut this year, and faculty members encouraged to discuss different approaches to prioritizing the funds they are given.
“It’s hard to tell at this point how much the change in budget will affect programs,” said Associate Professor of Music Nikki Malley. “I personally have not tapped into entertainment funds much if at all in the past but many faculty have made a point of scheduling special meetings or events with classes that involve refreshments.”
Knox College has generally encouraged faculty in the past to make use of funds distributed to the departments and programs in order to provide entertainment for students outside of the classroom, believing that events and interactions add to the educational involvement of students.
In previous years, several departments have made it a priority to host end-of-year picnics for graduating seniors; others have allowed students into their homes during a senior capstone experience.
“I suspect that some of those events will happen without food and drink in the future or faculty will pay out of pocket for some ‘small’ entertainment expenses,” Malley said.
“I can see this having a negative effect on the student experience as a whole simply because Knox advertises itself and prides itself as an institution that has a bounty of those opportunities,” senior Philip Bennett said. “I know students who applied to Knox or made the decision to come to Knox in the spring, only to find out that certain experiences or opportunities were no longer offered, especially field portions of courses.”
However, Bennett believes that professors do a “great job” with limited funds.
Although sophomore Archita Madhusudanan says she was not familiar with the budget cut, she did not agree with the limitations.
“I think you have to think about the overall financial situations of students and teachers,” she said. “It’s an unfair distribution.”
Senior Colleen Boyd said that the quality of entertainment is better than quantity.
“It’s not completely sunk in,” she said. “As long as quality doesn’t go down, it doesn’t bother me.”
“I think the bigger question and potential challenge will be for larger departmental events such as colloquia, capstone events, arts openings, etc,” Malley said. “In those cases, I believe departments will need to work with the administration to address these larger expense-related events, many of which have proven to be significant components of the academic and co-curricular experience.”
Despite the complications with cost-reduction policies, Malley appears positive with the future of the policy.
“I am optimistic that this will have limited impact on the overall Knox experience but if faculty and students feel that it does I am also confident that they will make the case for revisiting this new policy,” she said.