By Bailey Klingaman– 1851 Staff
As of September 2019, Lasell’s School of Health Sciences has been directed by a group of leaders including Dean of the School of Health Sciences Cristina Haverty, Program Chair of Exercise Science and Fitness Management Dr. Marisa Hastie, Program Chair of Science Dr. Monica Hall-Porter, Program Chair of Forensic Science Professor Leanna Farnam, and Program Chair of Math and Information Technology Deirdre Donovan.
According to Dean Haverty, this was an unplanned result of the structural changes to Lasell’s five schools in late 2017. Due to the qualifications of the applicants for program chair positions, the majority of the spots were filled by women.
With the arrival of Farnam last September as the program chair of forensic science, the School of Health Sciences was officially headed by a full female staff. “This is probably one of the first jobs where I haven’t felt like I need to prove myself because I’m a woman,” said Farnam.
The notion of enforcing women as role models, especially in a scientific field, enriches our culture. In addition, Dean Haverty points out the open-minded and collaborative environment of Lasell. “Yes, we have strong women leaders in this area. But it’s not to diminish the exceptional male leaders that we’ve had in the area as well.”
As a diverse university, many of the chairs agree with Dean Haverty, the inclusive environment of their departments will “inspire change in the workforce.” STEM fields are heavily male-dominated industries, but the School of Health Sciences is looking to provide the foundation for an expanding group of future professionals.
According to Dean Haverty, many of the health sciences programs are heavily female, but the industries are dominated by men. Her reasoning for this is the potential difficulty in finding a work-life balance. “I’m a working mom and I have three children. I watch five basketball games a weekend, I go to clarinet recitals, art shows, rugby games, concert choruses,” said Dean Haverty. “It’s a hard balance if you don’t have an environment at home that allows you that flexibility. And that’s really where the challenges lie… I think for some individuals, they can’t find that balance or it’s not worth the effort.”
Hall-Porter adds, “the School of Health Sciences [has] a common goal within our faculty group: to provide optimal educational experiences to students,” of every identity. As a collaborative group of faculty, they work to achieve this goal for all students.
“I am always trying to advocate for young women who are questioning whether they can do it all. They can totally do it all,” says Dean Haverty.