University provost, deans retire

L-R: Associate Provost Jim Ostrow, Dean Helena Santos and Vice President Steve Bloom prepare to make their exit in the next few months. Photos by Madison Raffone & Casey DiBari.

By Casey Dibari & Madison Raffone– Opinion Editor & Copy Editor

By the end of this academic year, the university will be going through another major change. Starting in March, Assistant Vice President and Dean of Academic Success Helena Santos will retire after 14 years. Provost Jim Ostrow and Associate Vice President Steven Bloom will also retire later this year. Both Associate Vice President Bloom and Provost Ostrow have been at Lasell for 20 years.

For Provost Ostrow, it was the structure of the school that made him want to come to Lasell. “I think primarily the philosophy of connected learning, which at the time needed a lot of development and consistency and refinement by and from the faculty and the community,” he said.

“It was a position that I felt where I could have some impact. So, it just called my name,” Santos said.

The deans say their leaving Lasell will not cause problems for the students, and they hope for a smooth transition. Dean Dave Hennessey said, “I don’t think there’s going to be a gap. I think it’s going to be seamless.”

In fact, not all are leaving completely. Associate Vice President Bloom plans to occasionally teach at Lasell Village.

As they prepare for their departure, the university is currently searching to fill the open positions. A search committee, consisting of President Michael Alexander, Dean Hennessey and faculty has already started the search to replace Provost Ostrow.

“The provost reports to me, so naturally I have more than a hand in it as a final decision under the hire is mine,” said President Alexander. “Thankfully, Provost Ostrow told us well enough in advance, we have the time, we don’t have to rush. And so, we have posted the job first internally and now externally.”

An email sent out by Nancy Anderson on Jan. 30 to student leaders and mentors invited select students to sit in on the interviews for Dean Santos’ replacement.

In December 2019, Dean of the School of Communication and the Arts (SOCA) Aaron Toffler also left to take an energy policy position at Boston Harbor Now. Program Chair of Communication Meryl Perlson is currently acting as interim dean of SOCA.

When asked what each of them will miss most about their time at Lasell, the three administrative members said it’ll be Lasell’s community.

“[I will miss] talking to students, you know, having student contact,” Associate Vice President Bloom said. “Last spring, I directed one of the one-act plays in the spring drama production. So, I really enjoyed my time working with the students in my cast.”

Students will also miss them, according to senior Student Government Association President James Kappatos. “I would say from the students: thank you for your service.”

Kappatos also said the change might be energizing.

“Students are going to be seeing some new changes and I think it’s something to look forward to, because with new people come new ideas and all those members that are retiring this year have served Lasell for a number of years,” Kappatos said.


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