Chat with the Chancellor Conference reveals a challenging future for Delgado

By Seth Mattei

On Wednesday Oct. 15, Delgado’s chancellor, Joan Davis, held a meeting dubbed “Chat with the Chancellor” in the Dolphin Den, a conference room in the Student Life Center at the college’s City Park campus. She spent one hour taking questions from students and the next hour answering questions from Delgado faculty and staff.

Students asked questions about subjects ranging from maintenance concerns to how to better promote the college. Faculty members asked about retention and sustainability of the college, its programs and its personnel. They also asked how the school is adapting to the changing nature of the higher education industry.

“We are, once again, going to ask our employees to do more with less,” said Davis after a student asked her how she was going to “bake more cake with less flour” in response to her saying “We are looking to increase enrollment and retention.” Davis continued, “As we build enrollment up, bring in grants and work more with business and industry, that will bring in funds so that we can have more flour and make some great cakes. ‘If you build it, they will come’ is the way the system sees it.”

The chancellor made it clear that she is looking at building alternative revenue streams and made a point of noting that Delgado used to get about 70 percent of its funding from the state and 30 percent from tuition, and that has now flipped. This forced the school to raise tuition costs and lay off faculty members.

“I know you’ve seen these beautiful buildings going up,” said Davis. “There are funds for buildings, but there are apparently no funds to operate them or to provide salaries and increase our faculty.”

Chancellor Davis told students that they were Delgado’s best marketing tool, and encouraged those present to get involved to help the college build its brand. Student Government Association (SGA) Vice President Vanessa Robichaux suggested encouraging more students to get involved with Phi Theta Kappa, an honor society for two-year college students. “Being part of that made me more apt to stay at Delgado and complete the two year degree just to go on with scholarships that Phi theta Kappa offers.”

Dolphin newspaper editor Kamel Benyahia suggested getting Delgado’s media department involved with assisting the college in building its brand, emphasizing the school’s radio station receiving an FM license and going citywide.

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