While there are numerous things that I believe higher education does well throughout the country, there are several things that I believe could be improved to enhance the experience of not only students, but also faculty and staff of a university.
Something that would be beneficial to all involved is to make parking less of a hassle. This is a problem that is not just specific to Virginia Tech, but is something that numerous colleges and universities throughout the country struggle with. Many universities have been brainstorming ways to make parking accessible and more user-friendly not only to the students actively enrolled, but also for adjunct faculty, perspective students, and returning alumni.
For example, as a graduate student teaching and learning upper quad, it was disheartening to hear that Perry St parking would practically be eliminated for graduate students and that we could take the bus and add 30 mins to an hour to our commute. This feels extremely inconsiderate in my opinion. When you’re a student trying to balance your needs as well as the needs of your student, hearing that two hours out of your day will be taken away because of a lack of parking feels somewhat like a slap in the face.
Another thing that could be done to improve higher education is to make buildings not only ADA compliant, but also ADA accessible. This is an important distinction that not many universities follow. For students who are not able-bodied, injured, or have guests visiting that might be handicapped it’s important that they also feel welcome on campus and that they can take advantage of all that it has to offer. Having a handicap accessible entrance in the back of a building, limited handicap parking options available, or even an egregious amount of stairs on campus provides a number of obstacles for students, faculty, and visitors alike. While I understand that many buildings on campus are old, and remodeling is both expensive and time consuming, it is vital that these changes be made. Although a campus is not going to be able to meet the needs of every individual perfectly, we should at least try!