President Barbara Mistick acknowledged and appreciated the feedback received in previous sessions. She answered a number of concerns that had come up before Prof. Michael Cornelius, Program Director; MA in Humanities, presented the recommendations. The alumnae participated in this session with as much enthusiasm as the second Commission meeting held in October.
Many alumnae pointed out that the current recommendations presented should have been implemented long ago. A current student questioned why a recommendation of changing the one hour credit to a three credit system, which would make transferring credits much easier, is not being considered. To this, Corneilus replied that fixing credit system was a time consuming and expensive process.
Changes will take time
The change will happen but it will take time. Alumnae wanted to know how Wilson College was to remain women-centered if it would be co-educational. When the current faculty is retired in 25-50 years, would it be possible for Wilson to still remain women-centered?
“You have so many really good ideas here. The community is really excited to see some of those play out. We keep hearing concerns about going co-educational, it seems most people are worried about. I wonder if the commission had considered the possible loss of alumnae financial support as a result if this change is decided upon,” questioned one alumna from the class of ’89. Cornelius replied that according to their research, the impact of withdrawal would be minimal.
Amy Ensley, Director of the Hankey Center, assured the audience that they are working to incorporate stories of Wilson Women along with contemporary women issues. This will teach students to use their voice and help the college maintain its women-centered focus. “We, at the Hankey Center, feel extremely blessed to have the stories of these women and are working to share them on a broader level,” said Ensley.
Alumnae also have a large online presence concerning these issues. Evidence of this is their Facebook group, "Wild Wilson Women” which has more than 1,400 members. The group formed with the aim of keeping the alumane updated regarding the happenings at the college. Alumnae and current students mainly use the Facebook group to exchange and brainstorm ideas that could impact the future of Wilson positively.
Alumnae and supporters of WIson College, 536 individuals, signed a pledge stating, “It is in this small but mighty institution that we developed a passion for our alma mater that is the stuff of legend.”
Wilson College alumnae believe that women’s colleges play a vital role in higher education. Sharon Falk ’93 suggests that Wilson should use social media to attract prospective students. Using social media is a cheaper option and one that can have a major impact if used effectively.
“The Board of Trustees needs to know we are focused on the final goal – remaining a thriving, prospering women’s college,” says Erin Shore ’97.
Carol Noon ’87 believes that not much time has been given to the students, alumnae and supporters to ask questions.
Cornelius, at the end of the meeting, confirmed that there will be action and infrastructure will be attended to. He said if we do not go co-ed, we will still be in deficit. What worries him if what if the college does not make it. He believes in Wilson’s ability to create a unique women-centered school, if it goes co-ed. Much remains to be done, but one thing is clear: Wilson has an immense number of supporters willing to do what needs to be done for her to survive and thrive.