Seniors, ever wonder why the library was suddenly open on Sunday after your freshman year? Upperclassmen, do you wonder why the freshmen are taking different Bible minor classes?
The answers to those questions and more are found in a simple acronym, SAAB. SAAB, the Student Academic Advisory Board, is a committee of two students, a junior and senior, from each academic department.
“SAAB’s purpose is to provide a link from the students to the academic vice president when it comes to academic matters related to the school,” said Thomas Cornman, the academic vice president and faculty advisor of SAAB.
According to Malia Amling, president of SAAB, SAAB’s main function is to give student opinions to faculty and staff on academic issues. To do this, they create and distribute surveys that allow the general student body to have input. They also form committees to research certain topics and then present the information to the academic vice president at the end of the year.
For SAAB to be successful, they need student input and they love receiving it, Cornman said. The only problem is few people have heard of SAAB, and even fewer know what SAAB is and what it does.
“SAAB’s whole purpose is to help the students, but the students don’t know about us,” Amling said. “We can advocate for students in an academic environment, but students don’t know about it. Just knowing that we’re there and as they have concerns, we can help address them.”
Amling said because students rarely know what SAAB is, SAAB is unable to receive the feedback that is vitally important for them to accomplish their tasks.
“We actually sit down and eat dinners with Dr. Cornman. We can ask him questions,” Amling said. “We can tell him, ‘People have been saying this, what do you think?’ So students need to contact their representatives with any academic issues or concerns or ideas they have.”
Students need to be aware they can use SAAB as a tool if they have a concern or something they want addressed or talked about, Amling said.
“It’s a good tool students can use to ask questions, and we can take those questions to people like Dr. Cornman who can answer them,” Amling said.
In addition to advising Cornman on a number of issues, SAAB is also in charge of picking the faculty and staff members of the year, Amling said. To achieve this important task, they send out an email for to the students asking them to nominate faculty and staff members. After the survey, they take the top five faculty members and the top four staff members and interview their supervisors. They then review the interviews as a board and vote on them. SAAB then presents the awards to the winners in chapel. It is a way for the students to show their appreciation to those who make their college experience worthwhile, and SAAB is honored that they have the privilege to play a major role in the process, Amling said.
SAAB has several other things on its resume that few have realized was its doing. Amling said a change was made a few years ago to have the library open on Sundays. This helpful change was possible because SAAB took students’ comments to Cornman and the library staff, who in turn made the request a reality, Amling said.
Another change that SAAB helped make was the Bible minor requirements last semester, Cornman said. The board created a survey and sent it to students to get their ideas. SAAB took the information from the survey to the board in charge of changing the Bible minor, who listened and responded in kind.
SAAB was involved with giving student input to the presidential search committee and also helps modify the library’s functions, Amling said. They also had a large role in determining the tutoring the Cove should provide, and they have a continual relationship with the Cove, Dr. Cornman said.
“Every time there is a big change in academic education that affects the majority of students, SAAB is involved,” Amling said.
Currently, SAAB is working on a number of things they believe will enrich the Cedarville experience, Amling said. The biggest issue they are addressing is textbooks: how they are used and in what media they should be available. They met with the Faculty Academic Advisory Council, or FAAC, earlier this semester to get the faculty’s perspective on textbooks and also to give the faculty the student perspective.
FAAC is the faculty equivalent of SAAB. It is made up of one faculty member from each academic department. James Phipps, the meeting convener and chair of FAAC, said FAAC is an advisory sounding board for the academic vice president. FAAC exists to give a faculty perspective on academic issues, much like SAAB does for students.
During their meeting on textbooks, SAAB and FAAC discussed many issues students have had concerning their necessity, availability and price, Phipps said. They talked about professors possibly clarifying the purpose for the textbook and how much it is going to be used. The price and availabilities of textbooks and rentals, including online, and how they might affect learning styles differently were also addressed in the meeting. Both groups are working towards the best compromise for the many issues concerning textbooks.
SAAB is also currently researching several other topics they believe are important to the students, Amling said. Creating training for students to use a program being made by the registrar is one task they are in the process of completing. The program helps students figure out their four year plan, which is a tool students have said they want. SAAB hopes to have a training guide that will help this program be adopted quickly.
Amling said that SAAB is also researching general education. The team doing this is working to come up with questions to ask students about their thoughts on general education. They hope to gain feedback from students so that they may be able to advise Cornman on possibly making changes to better serve the students’ general education needs.
If you have any ideas or concerns relating to general education, you can contact the board at email@example.com.
Jessica Kersey is a senior journalism/public relations major and a reporter for Cedars. She is an absolute geek and loves having conversations about random things with random people.
Art, Design, and Theatre:
Charissa Curby, senior rep for fall 2013
Joy McTaggart, senior rep for spring 2014
Julie Zavodney, junior
Media and Applied Communications:
Deanne Bradshaw, senior
Lauren Eissler, junior – Vice President for 2013-14
Biblical & Ministry Studies:
Sean Powers, senior
Ashley Auch, junior
Music and Worship:
Rachel Coon, senior
Michael James Wood, junior
Corbin Edmonds, senior
Elizabeth Entner, junior
Victoria Smith, senior
Kelsey Weir, junior
Cree Leiss, senior
Allison Gromacki, junior
Laura Cummings, senior
Emilie Bergsma, junior
Engineering and Computer Science:
Malia Amling, senior – President for 2013-14
Andrew Shepard, junior
Haylie Buck, senior rep for fall 2013
Joel Israel, senior rep for spring 2014
Elizabeth Garland, junior
English, Literature, and Modern Language:
Roy Lowrie, III, senior
Helen Hoekman, junior
Science and Mathematics:
Casey Darst, senior
Dylan McKevitt, junior
History and Government:
Andrew Travis, senior
Benjamin German, senior
Rachel Kuiken, senior
Laura Klodnicki, junior
Kinesiology and Allied Health:
Elizabeth Cox, senior
Greg Honchel, junior