President Alexander speaks on Vision 2017 and diversity

President Michael Alexander discussed Vision 2017 and other issues at the town meeting on April 17. (Photo by Tina Nalepa)
President Michael Alexander discussed Vision 2017 and other issues at the town meeting on April 17. (Photo by Tina Nalepa)

Tina Nalepa – 1851 Staff

President Michael Alexander addressed the topics of Vision 2017 and diversity in the Lasell community at a town meeting held last month. The meeting was in de Witt Hall where a large audience of faculty, students, and members of Lasell Village came to listen and discuss the future of Lasell. 

Alexander focused on the student values and the community including education, integrity and honesty of the community, and social responsibility.

The current standing of Vision 2017 was also discussed. Lasell currently has eight master’s programs and will be adding a Professional MBA program this fall. The Hospitality and Casino Management major was approved this past fall and has since then enrolled many students into the program. Lasell is also entering its third summer for offering undergraduate summer courses.

Alexander said: “Almost all students at Lasell are on a four year plan and graduate within a four year period.”

Another positive from Vision 2017 is 75 percent of freshmen at Lasell return for their sophomore year. However, the college is looking to increase that statistic and increase the number to 1,800 undergraduate and 500 graduate students, according to Alexander.

In regards to renovations of the campus, he mentioned the expansion of the Edwards Student Center including the addition of an elevator, which will begin construction during either winter 2014 or 2015. The college is also looking to renovate Wass and Wolfe Halls and is currently in the design stage as well as a new athletic center, which is still in the planning stages, said Alexander.

Brennan Library and Woodland Hall will also undergo renovations and all classrooms will be outfitted with SMART technology.

Lasell also wants to achieve several short term goals for the college. Alexander said: “We want to increase the employment on campus by 10 percent, and design and implement academic programs.”

During the open forum with students, many were concerned about the acceptance of different races and groups of people on campus. Alexander had the room break up into four groups to discuss and come up with ideas on how to confront race issues.

Some ideas that the four groups came to agree upon were to implement mandatory diversity training for students and staff, have a day where students can mingle with different races over lunch, a multi-cultural office, sharing stories on diversity and race, and distributing stickers identifying people as “allies” of diversity.

“This is just a start but we want more discussions like this on campus so we can be open to discussing and accepting diversity…and to remember the values we live by: We live by accepting differences. Do not be afraid to look around campus. New people lead to new experience and new friends,” said Alexander.

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