Interim University President Dr. Philip Way held his third fireside chat during common hour Tuesday on the second floor of the Smith Student Center.
These informal discussions with students are geared towards starting a dialogue with students by hearing their likes and dislikes regarding SRU. It is this direct approach to engaging with the student body that Way hopes to see in Slippery Rock’s future university president.
“Everyone has different styles of leading or interacting with students,” Way said. “I have always thought it was important to go where the students are as opposed to having them come to you to start a dialogue; an office environment just isn’t natural for these informal discussions,” said Dr. Way.
These fireside chats are building off of former president Dr. Cheryl Norton’s initiatives to engage with SRU students. Norton would pick a different place on campus to visit during the week for a meet and greet sessions with students. However, attendance at these events was sparse and they were often poorly advertised by the administration. Way chose the second floor of the Student Center because it is a central location on campus and would be frequented by students during common hour.
“On the whole, communication is the key to building any positive relationship with the students,” Way said. “Attendance for these chats has been minimal so far, but the conversations we are having have been profound and enlightening.”
Way hopes to have the chats every so often throughout his semester-long tenure as interim president. He is also continuing the use of the Twitter account started by Norton last year in an effort to alert students daily through social media. Lunches with various sororities and fraternities and other campus groups have begun as well.
“I am confident that student participation in these chats will grow over the course of the semester,” Way said. “We will continue to have informative talks about the future of our university and what steps we can take moving forward to ensure that future.”
Students can see updates on social media by following Way on Twitter at @SRUPresident.