Students appreciate the new energy and direction President Teresa Amott brings to Knox.
With any change in leadership come new goals and priorities, but according to sophomore Jess Ranard, the values of the institution and the values former president Roger Taylor held will not change.
Although Ranard feels that Amott will “guide the school in a new direction,” she theorized that “part of the reason [Amott] was interested in Knox was because of Roger’s values … She’s interested in furthering that.”
Amott’s priorities include repairing Alumni Hall, improving sustainability on campus, growing the connection between Knox and the Galesburg community and developing a strategic plan for the college in the coming years.
“They correspond pretty well with student priorities,” junior Anna Novikova said. “I absolutely think that if we pursue these goals then a lot of other stuff the college is struggling with will be made easier.”
“I think it’ll change the energy and vibe around the school,” sophomore Jmaw Moses said. “They’re smart goals, attainable … they’ll improve the college as a whole.”
When Taylor was beginning his time as president he formulated three goals: nurturing academic excellence, strengthening institutional self-confidence and charting a course towards financial impregnability.
“Roger set up a foundation to address these [Amott’s] goals,” Novikova said.
Sophomore Caitlin Stone saw Amott’s priorities as a change, but a necessary one, commenting that the college should “work on some things and the next couple of years we work on others — It’s a balance.” She said that Amott’s proactive attitude will “make Knox a more productive place.”
Although many students are eager for change, many, such as senior Natalia Cipolla, hope to see Amott continue focuses Taylor had. She saw financial aid for students as one of Taylor’s priorities and said, “I hope that priority wouldn’t change, although I have faith that Teresa would continue that as well.”
One of Amott’s priorities, Alumni Hall, which she referred to as a “dead elephant” in the Oct. 13 issue of The Knox Student, has been out of use for 30 years.
“I’m really excited about her repairing Alumni Hall,” senior Emma Swanson said. Swanson, who gives tours to prospective students, added, “it’s embarrassing.”
“It’s such a prominent building on campus and it’s hard to look at when it’s so run down,” sophomore Drew Diaz said.
Not all students agree that this is the best way to spend our resources, however.
“I think it’s great that she’s getting stuff done on Alumni Hall, but I think there are a lot of programs on campus that could use that money and have been promised that money in the past,” junior Sarah Zagotta said. “There’s a lot to do and not a lot of time.”
The Alumni Hall project will relate to Amott’s second priority of environmental sustainability, as she hopes the building will be LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified.
Knox has already been working toward environmental sustainability with the Green Fee money set aside for sustainability projects, instituted by Taylor in 2008. Many students see the president’s support of the issue as a matter of principal.
According to Novikova, it is “important that we as a school put our beliefs into practice.”
Swanson believes that environmental sustainability is “in line with the liberal arts and Knox’s tradition … We’re a progressive school.”
“I like that she’s for sustainability because it’s one of the most pressing issues,” Ranard said. “[I like that] she’s concerned not only about issues at Knox but global issues.”
Amott’s third priority, growing the connection between Knox and Galesburg, is another goal that will have impact both for students at Knox and beyond.
“The college and Galesburg have so much to offer each other and students are missing out … anything we can do to bring the college and Galesburg closer will be beneficial for both,” Novikova said.
“I want to feel not only welcome to Galesburg, but to call it my home, to feel like I can rely on Galesburg,” Ranard said.
Creating a strategic plan for the school is Amott’s final priority.
Novikova believes it is important to “have a sense of where we’re going as an institution,” and a strategic plan will allow us to “keep in mind things Knox has been putting on the back burner.” She gave the example of increasing faculty compensation as one of these things.