JA selection defense

Sometimes reading someone else’s opinion about something that you possess a good deal of knowledge about is an eye-opening experience. Sergio Espinosa’s article regarding JA selection committee (JASC) had this effect on me. Craig Tamamoto and I both served on last year’s JA selection committee and chaired this year’s committee and thus have a good understanding about how the system currently works. I have no intention of proclaiming it is a perfect process; no peer selection system can be, especially with an overqualified pool of applicants and limited number of positions. In fact, during the two years that I have been involved with JASC, members of the committee have been extremely self-aware of the flaws of the process and have attempted to improve the system.

Much of the misconception about JASC being a closed, secretive group stems from the emphasis placed on the need for committee members to maintain confidentiality. However, this policy applies only to the discussion of a specific candidate’s application, not to general information regarding the way committee works. We are more than happy to share the details of the selection process with anyone who is interested.

Since the Junior Advisor program is one that affects all Williams students in one way or another, we are always open to field criticism and suggestions from anyone. Informed criticism from those that are affected by the system can go a long way in improving the JA system and the JASC’s procedure. Espinosa’s article was also enlightening in that it has made us very aware of how many misconceptions there are on campus about current JASC policy.

As such, we would like to take this opportunity to encourage individuals to approach us – Craig Tamamoto, Adrienne Ellman, Chris Durlacher and myself (as well as other committee members) – with concerns, questions and suggestions regarding the JASC process. We would also like to invite all interested parties to an open forum we are planning for next Tuesday, April 23, during which we will explain in detail how we do things now and open the floor for questions and comments. Interactive discourse is the best way to approach a topic such as this one, and we want to hear your thoughts.

Please feel free to approach us if you are interested and cannot attend.

Sincerely,

Laurel Bifano ’02 with

Craig Tamamoto ’02

Adrienne Ellman ’03

Christopher Durlacher ’03

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