Nearly 20 students stopped by University President Joanne Glasser’s office on Wednesday to express concerns they had – or to just say hi.
“[Glasser] created such a relaxed atmosphere,” sophomore social studies and secondary education major Jeff Purple said. “She wasn’t sitting behind a desk, which was awesome. You just got to sit in a chair and talk to the president.”
Glasser said students covered a large variety of topics, and even if 30 or 40 more students showed up, no topic would have been repeated.
“I had students in to talk about everything from recycling to the Pre-law Center to leadership opportunities and residential living,” Glasser said. “Some just stopped by to say hello. There was really no common theme.”
Glasser said she decided to have her own office hours because she didn’t want to lose sight of students’ opinions, something she can only get “through direct dialogue with those students.”
“This was a chance for me to connect and engage with the students,” she said. “That’s something that’s very, very important to me as the president of Bradley.”
Senior electrical engineering major Nick Viera came to talk with Glasser about an issue he wants heard, and he said he thinks she will take steps to fix students’ concerns.
“I like to believe that if she isn’t going to listen to students, she wouldn’t have done this in the first place,” he said.
Although students were limited to only five minutes with the president, Glasser said she thinks students had enough time to get their messages heard.
“I was very impressed with how students presented themselves,” she said. “They were articulate, persuasive, professional and came prepared to discuss very particular issues.”
Glasser also said students are the “heartbeat of the institution,” and she hopes she can have a lasting impression.
“After my students graduate, I hope they remember me,” she said. “Even if they remember me as a tiny lady, I want them to remember that I had a big heart for all my students.”
Senior English and sociology major Alyson Jordan said Glasser seemed willing to talk about anything, and she was very interested in student concerns.
“She seemed very receptive to what we had to say,” Jordan said. “I think this is such a good way for her to get to know students on campus.”
The office hours ran from 4 to 6 p.m., and Assistant Vice President for Communications Shelley Epstein said the flow of students was steady.
“People were here before we even started,” he said. “One girl was here at 3:30, and another showed up before 4.”
Epstein said although they did not know what to expect at first, he thinks the office hours went well.
“It has been very manageable,” he said. “It’s been a constant flow of students since we opened the doors.”
Glasser said, for her, the time spent with students was worth it.
“This has just been the fastest two hours – it just flew,” she said. “From my perspective, the time was very well spent, and I hope the students feel the same.”
Glasser plans to have her office hours once per month, although the times may vary depending on her schedule.
“It will almost always be late afternoon or early evening,” she said. “I’m up to changing it, but I don’t think students will want to come from 7 to 9 in the morning.”
Purple said his time with Glasser wasn’t intimidating at all, and he would “absolutely go back again.”
“I had a very specific matter going on in the dorms that I wanted to discuss,” he said. “I didn’t feel rushed at all. She listened to me and even took notes on what I was saying, and said she will make some calls. I really feel like she listened, and the problem will be taken care of.”