In the spirit of transparency and dialogue, I thought it best to share Knox College’s reply to my impressions following a recent visit.
Here is the response from the Dean of Admission:
Thank you so much for your evaluation. As you can imagine, colleges each make different decisions about how to allocate their resources. Some invest heavily in campus facilities and grounds. Others invest more in their faculty and the educational programs available to students, e.g. undergraduate research, self-designed studies, study abroad, etc. Although somewhat less tangible than facilities and grounds, at Knox, we have always prioritized the latter.
Nonetheless, your feedback is extremely helpful in understanding how those choices impact the impressions of families visiting our campus. We do have some maintenance issues that need to be addressed and we would be well-served by making greater investments in the appearance of our campus. Your comments underscore the importance of this.
Some of your suggestions, of course, aren’t about financial resources but about how we present ourselves, including during the campus tour. For example, despite the absence of any LEED certified buildings or wind turbines on campus, our sustainability initiatives are very extensive. This includes initiatives such as locally-sourced food for dining services, composting of food waste, retrofitting all lighting and mechanical systems, sourcing electricity from renewable sources, and much more (see www.knox.edu/sustainability to learn more and see why the Sierra Club named Knox as a “Cool School” for our efforts). Despite all that we’ve done, however, your experience suggested that our efforts were limited to recycling bins. That’s a problem. Your feedback suggests that we need to work with our staff and tour guides to better highlight our sustainability initiatives and how those efforts have permeated so much of our campus culture.
Sustainability is just one of the examples you raised. The bottom line is your feedback gives us much to consider and much to act upon. I am very appreciative of your willingness to share your impressions with us.
Again, thank you.