To the editor,
I hold a PhD from the English department at Kansas University and I am very proud of this. What I am not proud of, however, is the collapse of the Mount Oread Scholars program.
Calling the program “redundant” is reductive; it was a flourishing, successful program for high-ability KU students who wanted, as Kathy Mason points out, a “holistic” approach to their college lives. Students who enrolled in the MOS program this fall were unaware that the program would be dismantled. This was not a decision made with collaboration involving the MOS staff. MOS students are being funneled into Honors and losing connections with the MOS staff. This is problematic. If the program was redundant, the transition should be seamless.
These high-ability students purposefully sought out, enrolled in and succeeded in their MOS experience. Enrollment increased. To read that there is a new plan for a living learning community within the Honors program indicates that the MOS program was shut down hastily, without the collaborative possibility for growth between MOS and Honors.
I am disappointed, gravely, that the administration at KU is not seeking the most dynamic ways to meet students where they are, but is instead insisting programs should be handled from the top down. This effort disempowers the exact players needed to help grow, enrich, and renew this university from the bottom up. If students’ growth, exploration, and academic integrity are values that KU upholds, the administration needs to exemplify them first.