By Abi Brown – Arts Editor
The School of Fashion is experiencing some new changes with the news of Dean Potter’s resignation. While she will be missed by students and faculty, Lasell is welcoming back Richard Bath.
The news broke late in October that Potter had accepted a new job “working with the CEO for a non-profit social impact investing firm, with focus areas in climate, justice reform, education, health, and more” as quoted within an email sent to the students and faculty of the SOF.
As Potter steps down, Lasell is welcoming back Richard Bath. Bath is a retired Lasell professor and key figure in founding the department and making it what it is today. He is making a return as interim dean while the university searches for someone who can stay long term.
Bath ran the fashion department before it became the SOF and was a part of many different notable projects such as founding POLISHED Magazine and the annual fashion show. He oversaw the fashion department for Lasell from 1988 to 2009 where he then taught for another 10 years afterwards, remaining in the same department.
“I felt that nobody should be in charge of anything for 21 years,” Bath said. “I created what I wanted to create with the help of faculty and students. We came up with the connected learning theme in fashion… we created the study abroad program, [which] came out of the fashion department. POLISHED magazine [also] came out of the fashion department, and we were the first baccalaureate degree passed in the history of the college.”
Bath is utilizing his experience along with the help of the faculty to find a replacement, but in the meantime he is also going to try focusing on remaking it as the selling point of Lasell. Being at the SOF since its beginning allows Bath to have a very unique perspective on how to get more students enrolled.
“Early on in my career at Lasell, it was ‘how do I best get students to buy into the program?’ And it was simple,” Bath said. “Delegate authority and responsibility. Let them go out and learn for themselves because if they make a mistake, it’s not really a mistake, you just learn how to do it a different way.”
For those wondering what the future of the SOF is, there will be more changes than just a new dean. There is no definitive date for him to step away but the earliest would be in June 2022, according to Bath. During his time here, he plans to find a full time media and marketing person to run the degree, and the same goes for fashion merchandising.
Bath also said that oftentimes he likes to promote and hire faculty that already work at Lasell. He said that a lot of the most current professors started as adjunct professors who work their way up, meaning the new dean could already be a member of the Lasell community.