University of South Dakota Provost Chuck Staben may be contending for the president position at Wichita State University, but a recent interview session on the Wichita campus has caused some students to question Staben’s attitude toward USD.
According to an article by The Wichita Eagle, Staben said his reason for applying for the Kansas-based position was because it would be a big city for him and a better climate.
USD sophomore Kyla Kemp said it seems obvious Staben does not want to stay in South Dakota.
“A better climate? What does he mean by that,” Kemp said. “He seems quick to put down USD. If I was at Wichita, I would wonder how long it would take him to say the same thing about our campus when he went on to pursue another job.”
Staben said when he was referring to a better climate, he meant the weather, not necessarily the university.
During his hour-long address at Wichita, Staben also made an example of a USD biology course to answer a question referring to how to make the university more student-centered. According to The Wichita Eagle, Staben said 50 percent of the students in an introductory biology course were getting D’s and F’s or withdrawing from the class, and that the two possible reasons were because USD is not admitting the right people, or there was something wrong with the class.
On his return to USD, Staben said he was trying to make an example of how universities should use information available to them, like class grades, to improve the curriculum and make the classes more student-centered. Staben also said the course in question has improved its D, F and W records with a reduction of 46 percent to 26 percent.
Sophomore Joshua Rahn said while he understands where Staben was coming from in referring to the need for improvement and the difficulty of the course, he was put off by Staben’s terminology.
“Reading his words, he seems to almost point the blame at students,” Rahn said. “By looking at the numbers rather than the class itself, he didn’t put that much investment into the problem to solve it in the first place.”