Parents listed Notre Dame as the No. 4 “dream school” for their children in the Princeton Review’s annual “College Hopes and Worries” survey, marking the second consecutive year the University has held that place. The Princeton Review website states “dream colleges” are schools parents wish their child could attend if cost and admission were not contributing factors, and the 2013 list ranks Notre Dame behind Stanford University, Harvard University and Princeton University. Students ranked their own top-10 dream colleges in a different list, and Notre Dame was not included in that set. University spokesman Dennis Brown said the admissions department takes such rankings “with a grain of salt” due to differences in methodology, but this one reflects Notre Dame’s unique appeal to parents. “I think that [the ranking] reflects the basic tenets of the University: a commitment to undergraduate education, a sense of community and an ongoing commitment to faith and religious identity,” Brown said. “The combination of things that Notre Dame offers … is unusual in a lot of different ways, and some parents take comfort in that.” Notre Dame is the only religiously-affiliated school on either list, and Brown said the University’s dual emphasis on faith and academics is ideal for many interested families. “For people whose faith is important to them, the fact that you can come to a place like Notre Dame and practice your faith, … yet still at the same time get a world-class education, is crucial,” Brown said. “You can be a part of a broader University community that will pay dividends throughout your life in terms of the alumni network and the bonds created in the residence halls.” Robert Mundy, director of admissions, said it is “hard to predict” whether the ranking will affect Notre Dame’s future applicant pools, but trends in the past decade have shown parents are becoming more involved in their children’s college selection processes. “Students are ultimately making the decisions, but the influence of the parents has increased,” Mundy said. “Whether it’s generational or financial or due to another factor, parents are getting more actively involved in where [their children] apply and actually attend.” Mundy said comparing the parents’ impressions of a university to those of their children can be an interesting and informative way to interpret such a ranking. “Your parents’ impressions or expectations about your college experience are a little different than your own impressions, and I saw that clearly as I looked through the rest of the Princeton Review survey results,” he said. “It’s all about looking for different things, which depends on which role you’re speaking from. … There’s no disputing that parents have a different view [than students].” Notre Dame’s policies on aspects such as dorm life and parietals are seen differently by parents and students, Mundy said, and this may have contributed to the discrepancies on the two Princeton Review lists. “I really do believe that the nature of the Notre Dame family strikes a chord with the parents, and that’s clearly tied to our mission,” Mundy said. “Things like that appeal to parents in a different way than they appeal to students.” While he said there is no way to determine what the ranking will mean for Notre Dame’s popular perception and future applicant pools, the parents’ increased influence on their students’ college decisions make this “good news all around.” “Obviously, the students are the ones who sit down for dinner every night with their parents, and if they have a positive impression [of Notre Dame] in their minds, that can affect them either apparently or subliminally,” Mundy said. Brown said such rankings serve as “good starting points” for prospective parents and their students but are not weighted heavily in the admissions office. “College surveys are of some use, but people who are serious about their college choice are going to dig in deeper,” he said. “While we’d rather be ranked than not, at the same time we recognize that they’re … just a starting point.”
– Human Resources, Customs Head firedBy Alexis RodneyThe Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) on Monday announced that it has made significant changes in what it said are some critical areas of operation, with the firing of the Heads of the Human Resources and Customs departments.The tax collection body announced also that it has promoted another senior staff to the position of Deputy Commissioner General.These changes, according to chairman of the governing board Rawle Lucas, are being done as the organisation seeks to realise its objective of improving its relationship with Guyanese taxpayers, and increasing the collection of revenues.Head of the Human Resources Management Division Archana Joshi and Head of Customs, Jameel Baksh have been relieved of their duties“We were not satisfied with the extent to which our revenues were being collected with respect to our customs operation and we felt that it was in the best interest of the organisation to make some changes,” he explainedEmanating from an in-depth review by the board and from a number of concerns raised by the business community, Lucas said the GRA has reshuffled the system, taking former head of the law enforcement and investigation division Carol Chapman to oversee the transition programme.The transition programme he said, is the new vehicle now being used, to put the organisation back on its right path. According to Lucas, currently GRA operates as a functional type organisation that essentially reflects functions or tasks that have to be performed by various persons.According to him, it was found that those organisational arrangements are insufficient to enable the authority to maximise revenue collection.At an earlier media conference this year, Lucas said some economic centres have not been generating as much revenues as they ought to. The new transition programmes should help to turn things around.“In the view of the board, the functional structure leaves large amounts of revenues uncollected and communities of taxpayers underserved and the staff demoralised. The new transition programme will focus on the regional approach to revenue collection and focus on taxpayers’ needs, ease of doing business and creating a more acceptable working condition for the staff. All the regions will be more equipped to provide all the services being offered at to persons in Georgetown,” Lucas had said.He shared the experiences of persons outside of the capital city, noting that it costs a businessman in Lethem some $50,000 for him to have a compliance certificate which is given free. He said this is only because the service is not provided in Lethem.Lucas said GRA has moved to extend several services such as the validity of compliance certificates from three to six months, has undertaken a review of the internal policies affecting staff and have begun to examine a number of proposals relating to compensation and education policy.“GRA also looked at some other measures particularly those relating to trade facilitation in order to help with the expediting of the clearing of certain goods.”According to Lucas, the organisation recently held interviews for the position of Commissioner General, which is currently being held by Ingrid Griffith. He said the evaluation of the candidates who took part in the interview is still to be completed as the organisation has been functioning without a substantive head for some time now.He reported that Fitzroy Corlette, who has been functioning as head of projects division will now head the Law Enforcement and Investigative Divisions. Lancelot Wills, an international trade lawyer will take over Customs division.The board also on Monday appointed Hema Khan as Deputy Commissioner General. Khan had worked as the Deputy Commissioner for tax operations and services.Acting Commissioner General Griffith has proceeded on leave, however upon her return she will take up full responsibility of the cooperative services.