St. John’s Tenure (Tenure Headline, continued from Page 1) When a tutor is first appointed at the College, she is given a contract for a single year. After this, they receive their first evaluation, and then they are possibly granted a two-year contract. When this is complete, they receive another evaluation, and possibly a three-year contract. At the end of this third contract, a period of six years will have elapsed, and the tutor will be considered for tenure. There are multiple stops along the road to tenure at which strict attention is focused on that tutor’s possibility of permanent employment at St. John’s. The criteria applied with each successive reappointment become more and more rigorous with each round of evaluation. Though reappointment only establishes the possibility of tenure, candidates who reach six years are seldom denied tenure. The College doesn’t invest six
years in a tutor who is not to be retained permanently, and an individual will not waste six years of her time pursuing a job she won’t be keeping. Hopefully three successive evaluations will have vetted a candidate sufficiently so that by the time tenure appointment comes around, the decision is clear. It’s a long road to a tenure appointment, but once that hurdle is clear, tutors can rely on their position in the St. John’s community as long as they wish to keep it. Though there are no tenure appointments this year, certain valued members of our faculty won’t be returning. We can only wish the junior members of our teaching staff the best of luck in facing the six-year struggle for security. Jack E. Smith IV is a Freshman at St. John’s College, Santa Fe. He can be reached at jacksmithiv@ gmail.com
MAY 17, 2010
Catah on the Line
Any particular authors? Not really. He’s not exactly a favorite, but I do like Dean Koontz. I also liked One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich [by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn]
rancheros, but I like more cheese.
One piece or two piece? Oh, uh. [laughs] Two piece, I suppose.
Sweet or unsweetened tea? Unsweetened tea.
Which Zimmer? What?
Pirates or ninja? Ninja, but I have a story why. When I worked for the marketplace, we got What’s the involved in the most requestEarth Day Paed number on rade, and our campus? mascot was a It’s a tie befrog. So, one tween about a those years, I was dozen of them, the mascot, and but I can’t say I wore the frog which, because suit, and I was that’s a privacy waving to people, issue. and this young, kid, like, five, six Do you have years old, rushes any hobbies? up to me, grabAdolf Catah holding down the fort. Photo by Jamie Wrobel. I like hiking, bing hold of me biking. Ketchup or catsup? because he thought I was a Ketchup. ninja turtle, and his mom tried What sort of product do you to get him to let go, but every use? Boxers or briefs? time we tried, he’d start cryBaby shampoo. Briefs. ing.
Favorite food? Enchiladas. With eggs over easy. Kinda like huevos
Pancakes or waffles? Waffles.
Denny’s or Waffle House? Waffle House. Pepperoni or sausage? Pepperoni.
What’s your soul color? Purple. And if anyone asks, I’m a Libra. Felipe B. Motta is a January Freshman at St. John’s College, Santa Fe. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Reflection on Self-Selection
By Lonnie Monka
Qualification for acceptance into the St. John’s community is as clear as the greatness of the books we read; in general, we faithfully accept the very complex decisions about greatness. Some members of the Board of Visitors and Governors (BV&G), and the student body are openly discussing issues that arise from considering this qualification. For members of the BV&G, the issue of qualification raises a problem relative to financial aid. Mr. Perry A. Lerner, chair of the BV&G Finance Committee, said, “We are not strategic with choosing which students will succeed here. We are not wise with giving them financial aid.” Over the last three years the applicant pool has dropped about 30 people per year. The projected freshman class of ’10 is only about 5 students less than that of ’09, which in turn is about ten less than that of ’08. So, the applicant pool is dropping faster than the class size, and the percentage of people accepted to the college is rising. Those concerned with the qualification of students can only pray that the dwindling applicant pool will provide an increase in
students that can succeed at St. John’s. Acknowledging the problem with offering financial aid to higher risk students, another BV&G member, Mr. Austin Ligon, proposed a solution; he suggested “offering aid only to student that look like they will succeed.” Yet, the BV&G only discussed this issue briefly and came to no conclusions. Other than the concerns of the BV&G, current sophomores are raising another problem about the issue of qualification. According to Mr. Matt Summers, a member of their class, about 15 sophomores have collaborated to form a petition that claims they will drop out if certain class mates of theirs are enabled by the college. Mr. Summers supports the students, but has his doubts as to whether they will follow through with their claims. When asked about the current state of the sophomore class, assistant dean, Mr. David Carl, noted that there are 89 sophomores registered for junior year, and that everything seems normal. He added that every year there are rumors started by “two or three people [who] decide to leave, and make a big stink about it.”
Mr. Summers doubted whether Mr. Carl is taking these angry sophomores seriously enough; he said, “It’s not personal, but I sympathize with the animosity being that I have had one or more of the problem people in my class – and they hijack it.” Another sophomore, Mr. Tucker Coby, also admitted that he heard through rumors that there is a list. Mr. Coby said that he also sympathizes with his fellow students; he said, “I think it is [explitive], I think it’s stupid that some do and some don’t [get enabled].” Mr. Coby also expressed sentiments suggesting that qualification should not be an issue here at St. John’s: “The point of this school is to fashion men from books, you know, that [explitive]. Someone needs to step up and say that the point of this school is to make better people – whatever the [explitive] that means – I hope we end up better human beings.” Lonnie Monka is a Junior at St. John’s College, Santa Fe. He can be reached at overand email@example.com
The Role of RAs at St. John’s College
By Karolina Richterova
The Resident Assistant (RA) program has changed extensively in the past five years. For instance, now the RAs undergo an extensive weeklong training before the start of the Fall Semester to prepare for situations that
that would help the most people succeed at St. John’s. Consequently, the RAs that are ultimately hired for the position are in a good academic standing. But that is not the only criterion. “It is different for different people,” Mr. Johnston said. Assistant Dean David Carl is appre-
Two of the newest RAs, Madeline Zimmer and Daniel Anderson are the products of the selection process. Photo by Jamie Wrobel.
might arise in the dorm environment. However, the vision of the program and the selection process of new RAs have remained the same. As Matt Johnston, Director of Residential Life, points out, “To know St. John’s is the fundamental thing.” According to Johnston, the premise lays in the promotion of an environment
ciative of this difference among students and their aspirations. “We are deliberately trying to avoid RAs being a certain kind of student, having a certain kind of profile. We try to think of the RAs as a team that would represent the entire student body fairly,”said Mr. Carl. Both Assistant Dean Carl and
Johnston agree on the most important aspect of the RA program: good, solid communication. The fundamental elements of the program at St. John’s should also be present outside of the classroom. Assistant Dean Carl identifies the premise of the RA program in this precise balance between communication and mutual respect between the administration and the students. “I would like the RAs to help overcome some of the obstacles between communicating directly with the administration and the student body. If their job was done perfectly, then they wouldn’t need to exist,” he added. Currently, the RAs are responsible for room inventories and for the overall health of the community. The support system of the RA position consists of the Office of Residential Life, the Student Health Office, senior residents, tutors, and the Assistant Dean’s Office. However, there are many nuances of the RA job that remain invisible to the naked eye. According to Assistant Dean Carl, judgment is one of the core values he looks for during the selection process. “We are looking for RAs who will help students make those decisions: do I need more help than I’m getting? Who is the right person to help me?” However, judgement and the execution of the decisions made by RAs may be controversial. Moreover, the responsibility for poor decisions extends to the whole support net of the RA
position including the administration. Yet, Assistant Dean Carl declares, “I wouth rather have an RA make a mistake than ignore a problem.” Mr. Johnston’s responsibilities include pairing the RA with the appropriate residents. The goal is to create a trustworthy environment in the dorm where RAs are comfortable making decisions and residents see the RA as a necessary support. So the question of the realization of the program transforms into a question of trust. “Do the residents trust their RAs enough to go to them if they need help?”, asked Assistant Dean Carl and simultaneously suggests that the role of an RA is not one of a spy but a resource. Assistant Dean Carl’s term will end this year and Edward Walpin will take on the responsibilities of the Assistant Dean in the next year. With the ongoing transition, the RA program seems to continue in its outlined path and the core values remain the same. “I think Mr. Walpin and I are in agreement about what those core values are,” said Assistant Dean Carl, adding “It’s never going to be a finished project; it’s always going to be an ongoing effort.” Karolina Richterova is a January Freshman at St. John’s College, Santa Fe. She can be reached at karolina.richterova@ gmail.com