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Slabach and Young discuss the importance of campus tours during town hall meeting

Faculty and staff gather in the Baker Building for the Tuesday town hall meeting. Photo by Hannah Onder
Faculty and staff gather in the Baker Building for the Tuesday town hall meeting.
Photo by Hannah Onder

Faculty and staff packed into the town hall meeting in the Baker Building during free period Tuesday, despite the cold and rainy weather.

The meeting, though packed, was calm; faculty and staff hung around socializing and munching on Halloween cookies after the meeting ended a little early.

President Frederick Slabach mentioned faculty pop-ins, the staff hero award, and made general announcements and updates about groups and projects on campus.

President Frederick Slabach gives campus updates during the meeting.
Photo by Hannah Onder

The center of the meeting was focused on Djuana Young, the associate vice president for enrollment, who talked about changes to campus tours.

Young said the tours were changed to reflect four factors: costs, safety, outcomes, and living conditions which, Young said, Generation Z is looking for when making the investment for college.

“We want to make sure that when a student comes to campus they hear the academic message, but that they also know what our experience is like,” Young said.

The first step enrollment made when revamping the program was setting a goal.

Djuana Young, associate vice president of enrollment, talks about the revamped campus tours.
Photo by Hannah Onder

“It’s a really ambitious goal, but we want to have 1,000 students come to campus this year,” Young said. “That 1,000 students can be made up of tours; it will be students that come to our events or open houses. We want them to come experience what it’s going to be like being a student here at Texas Wesleyan.”

The program then changed the Golden Ram Tour Guides into the Rambassaders, added in matching visitor stickers for parents accompanying students, an online check-in, and a campus introduction video before the tour. The tour then starts with the Oneal-Sells Administration Building.

“We want the tour to cover the entire university experience, so when we stop in front of the administration building we’re going to talk about our history,” Young said. “We want them to know what a rich history we have and talk about the different names the university has had and how it was named Texas Wesleyan University.”

The tour moves on to cover academic research, small class sizes, dorm life, and campus culture, she said.

“But beyond the culture thing, we want our tour guides to be able to share with the students and guest that are here that there’s a lot of personal things that are happening here,” Young said.

Young also talked about the addition of Wesleyan Wednesdays, where visiting students and their families are treated to lunch with a Wesleyan professor.

The marketing and communication department provided Halloween cookies for the Oct. town hall meeting.
Photo by Hannah Onder

“I didn’t know exactly how it was going to work, but I have to tell you it’s one of the most exciting things I’ve seen,” Young said. “Students are able to sit down and ask their questions about their major to a faculty member. It really shows that faculty members are accessible to you.”

Young also said there’s a simple way all faculty and staff can help with visiting students, if they don’t want to volunteer at events.

“But truly how you can help us, is when you see visitors here on campus, just say hello and let them know about your experiences here,” Young said.

Slabach also emphasized the importance of campus tours at the meeting.

“The most important decision-making factor for students in determining where they want to go to college is the campus tour, so this is a very important part of what we’re doing,” Slabach said. “I appreciate all of the work that Djuana and all of her staff have done.”

One unusual thing at the meeting was that Slabach announced two staff hero awards instead of one.

Dominique Brown is awarded the second staff hero award of the meeting.
Photo by Hannah Onder

The winner from the enrollment department was Ongelic Hill, an enrollment counselor who was unable to make the meeting. The other winner was from the athletic training department, Dominique Brown, an athletic trainer.

“She plays an extremely important role in providing the athletic health care to our students athletes,” Slabach said. “Last month Dominique’s planning and emergency care skills saved the life of one of our athletes who suffered from a severe heat illness.”

Dr. Pam Rast, chair of the Department of and director of the athletic training education program, was glad to see athletic training represented in the meeting.

“I thought it (the meeting) was great, and I appreciate the fact that the president recognized one of our athletic training staff for doing a great job saving lives,” she said.

Town hall attendees get up to leave and socialize after the meeting finished a few minutes early.
Photo by Hannah Onder

Rast also enjoyed seeing the video added into the campus tours and seemed to enjoy the meeting.

“I’m glad that the president agreed to do these on a fairly regular basis,” Rast said.

The next town hall meeting is Nov. 13 in the Baker Building during free period.

The marketing and communications department waits for everyone to grab a cookie before cleaning up leftovers.
Photo by Hannah Onder
President Slabach made announcements about the new restaurant, faculty raises, and new staff.
Graphic by Hannah Onder
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Slabach and Young discuss the importance of campus tours during town hall meeting