Gatton keeps up with the times with student discussion


A general overall view of the new lobby of the Gatton College of Business and Economics building in Lexington, Ky. on Wednesday, August 26, 2015. Photo by Michael Reaves | Staff.

Christie Netherton

The student voice was heard on Wednesday at UK’s Gatton College of Business and Economics.

The college hosted students and faculty in three discussion sessions titled, “These times they are a changing,” to gauge the level of student comfort and inclusivity within the college.

“In order to make change come about, you have to come and voice your feedback and your opinions for your voice to be heard,” Marketing major George Bell said.

Attendees addressed positive and negative experiences they have encountered as business students at Gatton.

Students were asked to begin the discussion by expressing what drew them to Gatton with one another in a conversational manner. Answers ranged from the beautiful new building to the opportunities for networking with other business students as well as accomplished faculty in the field.

Students said they are engaged in lectures and are learning from experienced professors who have an exceptional network. Students also expressed that they feel a sense of belonging in the college with so many diverse organizations for almost every major offered within Gatton.

“There are so many caring students and faculty, and especially, Gatton cares enough to hold this event. I think that’s important,” business major Arya Shoa said.

Even with so many positive experiences in Gatton, students explained that there is still much room for improvement.

Students touched on what the college could do to continue improving and creating an inclusive environment, including making sure that students are continuously aware of events hosted by the college, whether they are being regularly promoted by professors or better marketed to students.

In addition, students felt that there should be a bigger effort by the college to recruit both professors and students of color as well as to incorporate lessons on ethics and keeping a check on microaggressions and subtle racism into the curriculum so that students of color are able to feel comfortable and involved.

Executive Associate Dean of Gatton College, Dr. Nicole Jenkins, organized the discussion for students to express their thoughts about what is happening within the college. The event is the front-end of a process that Gatton hopes will eventually create further inclusion for students within the college.

“It’s kind of part of the process that we have to engage our staff, faculty and students in conversations around inclusion. It’s kind of a discovery process,” Jenkins said. “This is the first step of a year-long process that we’re engaging in.”

The faculty involved in the process will be meeting with the discussion facilitator in the coming weeks to go over details and feedback from the student discussion to move forward and create a more enriching and inclusive environment for students at Gatton.