Rice University’s Student Newspaper — Since 1916

Monday, November 28, 2022 — Houston, TX

Editorial: Open discussion needed to improve CTIS

For next year’s class, administrators should take an especially hard look at several factors: the scheduling of weekend sessions, large class sizes, instructors from outside Rice and a curriculum that focused more on definitions than on discussions.

By Thresher Staff     10/18/17 12:35pm

It’s inevitable that an initiative on the scale of the Critical Thinking in Sexuality workshop won’t be flawless in its first iteration. Based on the accounts of some freshmen finishing the class, CTIS certainly has problems: lack of student engagement, scheduling issues and difficulties connecting with instructors. It’s vital to try and resolve these issues to make CTIS a success in future years, but that can’t happen if we don’t first acknowledge that problems exist.

While new student feedback calls into question whether CTIS is effectively serving its purpose, many administrators and student leaders seem to have more optimistic opinions on the course. The disconnect between new students and campus leaders is stark; Dean of Undergraduates John Hutchinson claims that students have been enthusiastic and attentive during CTIS sessions, while some new students say most were disengaged. Campus leadership is correct that CTIS has the potential to have a major impact on campus safety, but this makes it even more important that student feedback is used to improve the course. Rather than trying to enforce an overly positive, unrealistic view of the class’s outcome, both administrators and student leaders should create an open forum for new student feelings, suggestions and complaints about the course. It’s only through such a discussion that CTIS could reach its potential.

For next year’s class, administrators should take an especially hard look at several factors. Both new students and CTIS instructors expressed concerns about the scheduling of weekend sessions, which may have inhibited new student engagement and enthusiasm. Another hurdle to involving more students in the class may have been large class sizes (for many, 25 is too large to comfortably participate) and a curriculum that focused more on definitions than on discussions. Some students also questioned whether instructors from outside of Rice were effective, given their lack of familiarity with Rice resources and culture.



All of these issues and more should be openly raised and considered now, while the memory of the class is still fresh for new students. At present, there is no formal feedback mechanism through which new students can share their opinions about the course. This must change. Failure from the Student Association, Dean Hutch and the Title IX office to recognize these issues and to promote an open and honest discussion of the course will prevent CTIS from effectively educating incoming students about sexual assault prevention.



More from The Rice Thresher

OPINION 11/15/22 10:21pm
Where we must agree: the politics of humanness

The words “free speech” will likely elicit groans from Thresher readers. Over the last three years, there have been three articles in the Opinion section bemoaning the need for a “classically liberal” political discourse at Rice. Unfortunately, between their self-righteousness and needless wordiness, they read more like whiny lectures than conversation starters. However, despite their condescension, their existence does suggest something unsettling about not just our campus politics, but politics at large. As the electorates of democracies around the world have become more sharply divided, the way we speak to each other, not just across the aisle but to our similarly minded partisans, has become more accusatory, exclusionary and violent. Put simply: we do not want to talk to each other, and understandably so. It is exhausting, and, more than that, we just don’t seem to know how to.

OPINION 11/15/22 10:16pm
Off-campus students should sublet their rooms to those who need winter break housing

For the first time since 2019, Rice is not allowing undergraduate students to remain in their on-campus housing during winter break. While this is a disappointing development, we understand why this decision needed to be made. Like students, staff need a break after a long semester. Further, keeping students on campus by providing housing over break was originally implemented to address pandemic travel restrictions, which are mostly gone. However, the need for winter housing is not gone. This decision still leaves some international students — or any other on-campus student looking to remain in Houston — scrambling for housing.

OPINION 11/8/22 11:39pm
The Honor Council needs to act more responsibly

For the past year, I have served as an at-large representative on the Rice Honor Council. I have sat through dozens of cases, read hundreds of pages of evidence and spent countless hours working to improve the transparency and fairness of the Honor System. While there are a myriad of issues with the Honor System, as there are with any institutional system, there is one in particular that needs to be addressed with expediency. The Honor Council is currently not an effective deliberative body due to the general lack of engagement from some of its members, which include elected representatives.  


Comments

Please note All comments are eligible for publication by The Rice Thresher.