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!
3 Thoughts to “Future of the University”
I agree with the idea that all building should be ADA compliant and accessible. This is a major problem for a lot of universities including ours. The problem is the money that it takes in order to upgrade facilities. Institutions are hesitant to spend this money for these reasons. I feel that universities want to spend money where students, professors, and administrators can see upgrades and understand where their money is going. It is not ‘flashy’ to spend money on ADA accessibility, therefore it becomes a last item on an agenda. This is a big problem for universities going forward. How can students who need assistance be expected to compete when they have to spend more time finding areas of campus that are accessible. Hopefully this is a problem that can be fixed and will be fixed in the near future. Thank you for you view on this situation it has helped me to understand a different part of what universities can do to help students.
I think you raise two important points that higher education institutions should consider changing. I remember in my undergrad in Lebanon, the countless times we were late for courses, or had to wake up much earlier to find a spot to park and run to the 8:00 am class. I do understand the huge demand on the parking spots, but I think students as faculty, should have the right to find a space to park their cars, and not have to worry about that. I also agree that campuses should take into account the accessibility issue. With all the recent awareness, some universities seem to treat it as a minor priority with respect to other things.
I think one of the reasons why parking is hard on campuses in the United States is because they want to be environmentally conscious and promote green alternatives for transportation such as public transit, and bicycles. Coming from a very hectic city in my home country, I found refreshing to have the opportunity to use these means of transportation instead of my car. During warm weather ride my bike to campus is just lovely, and during the winter, public transportation simply works at Virginia Tech. I understand that if parking is not an issue, using your car would be just practical, but I also understand that the demand to provide this service and the negative impact to the traffic in a small town such as Blacksburg would be of utmost concern.