Published: Jan 23 2017 12:00AM
<i>James Kennedy is a student representative on the Academic Services Council.Currently president of the Renaissance Scholars Society, James is studying cultural anthropology and political philosophy.</i>
<b>Montgomery College (MC): What motivated you to serve in governance?</b>
James Kennedy (JK): I was motivated to serve on the Academic Services Council when I realized that most students don't know who their administrators are and don't have any way to advocate for themselves when they want to see change. In particular, many nontraditional students are voiceless, even though they make up a large percentage of Montgomery College's population. My goal is to represent students who feel that their concerns are not being heard.
<b>MC: What is it like to be on a council? What do you actually do?</b>
JK: Being on the Academic Services Council is exciting. It's very structured and fast-paced, but every member is friendly, open-minded, intelligent, and dedicated to doing right by the community. This semester, we started by coming up with an agenda of things to investigate, ranging from student gym hours to low math scores. From there we've been discussing possible solutions to these problems. Once we've made a recommendation, we either refer it to another council, or it moves up the chain where it's reviewed and a decision made.
<b>MC: What would you consider a few of the most important accomplishments of the Academic Services Council?</b>
JK: The council has been presented with a variety of issues so far, such as increased security in the evenings and better lighting in the parking lots, student gym hours, and Math 080. We've already taken the security concerns to the Operational Services Council and the concern about student gym hours to the Student Council. Our goal is to provide an opportunity for topics to be heard and moved forward to gain either a response or action that aids in student success.
<b>MC: What impact do you think governance makes on the College?</b>
JK: Governance creates a link between the student body and the administration that we often feel doesn't exist and is a vehicle for real change. Governance has the ability to take ideas from the ground level and bring them to the people who can make a difference.
<b>MC: What are some ways that the Academic Services Council can have an impact on student success?</b>
JK: Our council has a fairly open objective--helping the academic success of students. If the community gets involved with governance, by sending in queries or coming to speak with us, we can review the issue and either come up with a potential solution or send it to a more fitting council. Either way, the concern would never get left dead in the water, meaning that the student's or faculty member's concern will be addressed. Our council is focused on helping students and professors alike, and everyone on the council is there to assist and listen however we can.
<b>MC: What advice would you give to someone considering whether to serve in governance?</b>
JK: Governance on any level is a fantastic leadership experience. It's great to get involved with if you want to contribute to the College in a real way and support the MC community. If seeing change motivates you, it's definitely something I'd recommend getting involved in.
<b>MC: Are there ways for people who aren't formally on a council to participate?</b>
JK: Absolutely! You can send us an e-mail or attend a meeting any time. We need more active voices on campus, and unfortunately not enough people engage with governance right now. We're here to take your thoughts and put them into action, and we would love to hear from you!
<i>This article is one in a continuing series. To read about the experiences of other governance members, please visit the governance website:</i> http://cms.montgomerycollege.edu/mcgovernance