Emilie Eustace

Tyler Rak

Editors in Chief

Ellen McAllister

Managing Editor

Between Dec. 13 and 27, 2023, a faculty survey was carried out on behalf of the Committee on Conference with Trustees, posing three open-ended questions to its participants: “What are ‘positive developments’ at the College that faculty would like to share with the Trustees?”, “What ‘challenges’ face the College that faculty wished to communicate?” and “What they’d like to share about the Academic Program Review.” The survey had 52 responses with very little demographic data collected to protect the privacy of the individuals.

 The findings of this survey were not discussed until the March 4 faculty meeting. The Voice was able to access this survey and the faculty meetings’ minutes in Special Collections.

The Voice also fielded a survey asking students about their thoughts on the state of the College and on certain departments on campus. This survey was conducted between Jan. 30 and Feb. 2. Paper surveys were handed out at Lowry Center to any student who wished to participate. The Voice collected over 330 responses, which were reported in the Feb. 16 edition of the Voice.

There were several themes that emerged from both surveys. One of these was transparency and decision making. 56% of faculty disagreed with the statement that “the College communicates well with faculty on matters of importance,” while 17% agreed with the statement. 54% disagreed with the statement that “I am given the opportunity to participate in decisions that affect me.” Concerns also extended to the board of trustees.

“Communication has been terrible: major policy changes and news about important campus resignations have been too little, too late — and sometimes nothing at all,” one faculty member said. Another faculty member stated that “we are feeling burned out, overstressed, and underappreciated by the institution.” 

Many students wrote similar comments in their survey responses. One student said, “I also think there is a huge disconnect between faculty + admin, and there needs to be wayyy more transparent communication so that faculty, staff, admin + students are all on the same page: ‘Independent Minds, Working Together.’” 

This perceived lack of transparency has led to some faculty having a low sense of morale. 90% of faculty disagreed with the statement that “Faculty morale is positive” with nearly two-thirds of faculty strongly disagreeing with the statement. 

“This has become a toxic, fearful workplace,” said one faculty member. Many students and faculty mentioned campus morale in their survey responses. These faculty members expressed feeling both overworked and underpaid. 

Many faculty members reported negative feelings towards the College and their departments. However,  a few felt that “My department is the only reason why I am still here.” 

Faculty members also expressed apprehension in their survey about President McCall’s  decision-making process. 47% disagreed with the statement that the “President provides good leadership,” while only 14% agreed with the statement. The remainder of respondents neither agreed nor disagreed. “I have grave concerns about our new president. She is making hasty decisions with little knowledge of the College, she doesn’t listen well, and she has alienated nearly every constituency at the College and in the Wooster community” one faculty member wrote. 

Similarly, most students voiced discontent about the performance of the president’s office. Only 6% approved of the president’s office’s performance, while 58.5% disapproved. Many student concerns stemmed from perceived poor communication, particularly regarding her response to student complaints, protests and the closure of the College of Wooster Nursery School. “Anne McCall needs to listen to students (stop getting mad when they call out issues),” one student wrote. 

In the April 4 faculty meeting, faculty were asked, “Would you be interested in a faculty-wide meeting to think about ways to move forward with addressing the concerns expressed in the Faculty Survey?” The results were 60 in favor, 11 against and five abstentions.

To some students and faculty, there are pressing concerns regarding transparency, communication and morale within the College community. These surveys brought to light shared tensions and discontent among faculty and students.