Our Process

We met for the first time in late November 2000 to formulate the plan that would lead to the completion of our charge.  In this first meeting we reached three conclusions:

    1. We should talk with someone who had a similar experience.  Dr. Danieley volunteered to invite Ed Wilson from Wake Forest University to meet with us early in Spring semester.
    2. We recognized an important overlap between our work and that of the task force charged with assessing how Elon could retain its sense of community while moving to university status.  Nancy Midgette agreed to talk with Deborah Thurlow, chair of that task force, to see if we might profit from some combined efforts.
    3. We recognized the need to have wide participation from all of the institution’s constituencies as we conducted our research and prepared our report.
In early February Dr. Wilson spent nearly half of one day with us, discussing Wake Forest’s decision to retain the name “Wake Forest College” for the undergraduate portion of the institution.   Many of the factors that he outlined as important in their decision hold true for Elon today.  Wake Forest wanted to retain a sense of heritage and tradition as the institution moved to university status.  According to Dr. Wilson, retaining “college” was one of the best decisions that they made at the time.  It was a stand for a set of values.  An institution must remain fully aware of its past, recognizing an indebtedness to those who have gone before.  Wake Forest became a university with the idea that the university would never dwarf the college, which remained the core of the institution.  The college currently has its own budget, a steady enrollment, and small classes not taught by graduate students.

The composition of Wake Forest University is, admittedly, somewhat different from that of Elon University.   At Wake Forest, all undergraduates are initially admitted to Wake Forest College. All components of the undergraduate institution are within the college except for the school of business.   Elon has three professional schools with a significant portion of the total enrollment of the institution.   Nonetheless, both institutions require a liberal studies curriculum that enhances all students’ understanding of liberal arts and sciences, regardless of their major.   Both also remain focused on high-quality teaching and a teacher-scholar model.   Elon, like Wake Forest three decades ago, is determined to preserve the proud heritage of Elon College as a part of its move to university status.

Our next step was to discuss the issue with the faculty, staff, and students of the institution.   Realizing that the task force on Elon’s sense of community would be doing exactly the same thing, we combined forces and created subcommittees that would organize a campus-wide forum, a faculty focus group, staff focus groups, and student focus groups.  All constituencies had ample opportunity to participate in the forum and at least one of the focus groups.   Student focus groups included the SGA, organization presidents, and CDCs.   One of the staff focus groups was held early in the morning so that third-shift employees could attend.   They were eager participants and quite pleased that Vickie Somers and Janet Cooper thought to include them.   Finally, we established a dedicated email address to which people could send their thoughts on the work of both task forces.

Return to Memo from Task Force on the Name of the College of Arts and Sciences.

Continue to Our Findings.