By Holly Feola – 1851 Staff
On Feb. 8, President Michael B. Alexander announced that Lasell is transitioning from a college to a university. This comes after the college expanded its graduate program. This president expanded on this message at the town hall meeting on Feb. 20 in de Witt Hall.
The change to a university continues the institution’s trend to reinvent itself, similar to how it changed from a junior college in 1989.
In an email sent by Executive Assistant of the Office of the President Henry Pugh, attachments detailing the meeting’s discussion points were included to provide helpful information about the change to students. One of the attachments was the Lasell College University Status Study Group (USSG) Final Report. This contained information about how a university status would impact Lasell positively and negatively. The USSG is a group made up of 18 people with different roles on campus and is further organized
into five subgroups. The report stated the cost is estimated to be about $589,000.
The opening summary of the report says: “Overall, the group felt that the benefits of this transition outweigh any possible negative repercussions with a decision in the affirmative.”
Some of the potential positive effects the change would bring would be that it would help attract more students, making it beneficial for recruitment, giving the school a more impressive reputation, and the title of university implies that the institution has more research, unlike a college that has more teaching. One other advantage listed in the report was a higher performance from employees as a result of higher expectations.
In addition to advantages, the group also considered disadvantages that the change might bring such as increased confusion with LaSalle University in Philadelphia or La Salle Academy high school in Providence, RI. Another possible negative impact could be removing a distinguishing trait that helps Lasell stand out when compared to other institutions.
The final report also analyzed similar colleges that have made the same change. Colleges mentioned were Simmons University in Boston, Rivier University in Nashua, N.H., and Bentley University in Waltham.
Lasell is known for being a small school with a great sense of community of about 2,000 students. Some believe this change could potentially increase student enrollment, as a “university” status may attract students who want a larger school.
Senior criminal justice major James Phelps agrees with the change and doesn’t think it will deter students, but rather help the school. When asked about the change, he said, “I’m for the school turning into a university because they publicly released our growth and how the school is expanding …a part of our expansion has been our graduate programs so I think that’s more of the growth they are trying to aim for.”
First year student Anna King thinks that this change will help Lasell. “I believe this would benefit our community at Lasell, because it would encourage faculty, staff and students to continue their efforts of creating a wonderful learning environment,” King wrote in an email.
Senior communication major Megan Palumbo said, “I think that it’s a power move because based on all the other liberal arts colleges that are closing, this is a real step for us to remain open and get more people to [enroll].”
President Alexander encourages students to attend a town hall meeting if they have
any questions and want to learn more about what’s in store for Lasell as a university.
*The institution decided to move forward with pursuing university status on Feb 8. The above image has been manipulated with Adobe Photoshop to read “university” instead of “college” by 1851 staff.