“Or certainly the liveliest” said Michael Brown, Producer/Director for Montgomery College Television, at the conclusion of the Town Hall Meeting hosted by the Germantown campus on October 10th. The Town Hall Meeting allowed students, faculty and staff to ask MC President, Dr. DeRionne Pollard, questions. The hour-long meeting flew by with many answers and a collective passion.
Several issues were brought to the attention of Dr. Pollard. The meeting kicked-off with a student question about the two-hour computer limit in the libraries. This led to concerns about distance learning and technical difficulties with Blackboard. One distance learning student stated “ I don’t have a voice as a student,” and felt strongly that a Student Bill of Rights was necessary. Faculty members addressed MC’s current restructuring and how faculty engagement with students may be limited during this time. Another student expressed frustration about the expensive cafeteria prices. Other problems touched on were bullying of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender students, access to scholarship and internship information, faculty favoritism, a safer and practical construction of a bike path, and engaging the community surrounding the college more.
Dr. Pollard responded to each question with interest. Dr. Pollard also was not afraid to say “ I don’t know, but I will make sure to get the answer to you.” She stated she felt that there are lots of opportunities for students to be heard but that the college does not do a good enough job getting that information to the students, she said. Dr. Pollard seemed passionate in terms of faculty/student engagement outside the classroom. Appreciation was conveyed to faculty members who encouraged their students to be at the Town Hall Meeting.
Although somewhat tense moments occurred, a positive tone remained throughout the Town Hall Meeting. There seemed to be a shared energy in the room that pushed for the best interest of Montgomery College as one complete entity, from Takoma Park to Rockville to Germantown.
The last question, which was more of a statement, was by a young male student. He shared his appreciation and pride in attending Montgomery College as well as his frustration with misconceptions he has encountered from others. In response, Dr. Pollard made it clear that MC offers a “world class student experience,” and that everyone involved with the college needs to share this message “loud and proud.”