A student information session about potentially changing Elmhurst College’s name to a university was held on Tuesday, February 12.
The presentation, which was given by Paul Arriola, associate dean of faculty and Tim Panfil, senior director of Graduate Admissions, was the first information session for students regarding the potential name change.
Arriola explained that one of the main differences between a college and university traditionally is that universities hold several colleges, with separate curriculums under one administration.
“If we think of Oxford University, there is a number of individual colleges, each of which sort of have their own foundational curriculum, but, the volume of students they were teaching got to the point where they needed an overarching administration to help manage that educational process,” he added.
Many students at the session questioned what structural changes would occur if the EC’s name was changed.
The presenters revealed that regardless of the outcome of the Board of Trustees’ vote, the conversation about structural changes or any changes to program offerings would occur at a later date.
“We can have the structural reorganization irrespective of the name,” Arriola added.
He emphasized that the school has maintained a university status since the 90s when EC first introduced the graduate studies program.
“As far as the federal government is concerned, we are a medium-sized master’s granting university.”
Both Ariola and Panfil also emphasized that the name is ceremonial, and the institution, if it wants to, has the ability to create any programs that a university has.
“We can do it as a college,” Ariola said answering a question as to whether or not we can have a doctoral program as a college. “It's just tradition. With few exceptions, schools that offer doctoral programs have a tendency to call themselves universities.”
Additionally, conversations about the timeline of implementation are yet to be had.
“The ultimate decision is gonna be done by the board either at the March meeting, or the June meeting. They want to get decided before the end of the fiscal year,” said Arriola. “As far as the implementation process, it could coincide with the 150th anniversary of EC, or it could be by September and first everything could be rebranded. I think that is a decision that has to be made very quickly if the name change is approved.”
While there is also no official conversation about where the money to for the potential name change would come from, the speakers said they suspected the increase to come from student tuition.
“As we continue to to move forward with a model that is built around a balanced budget, Dr. Vanaken is not interested in borrowing money to make our future happen,” said Ariola.
Currently, the administration is working on gathering viewpoints from the different stakeholders regarding a potential name change.
“Faculty have already received surveys, staff will receive a survey, and students will receive a survey asking to share their opinions,” said Ariola.