Written for The Argo by Victoria Orlowski
On Tuesday, Jan. 31, a Q&A was held by students to talk to the second of three presidential candidates, Dr. Laurence B. Alexander. Dr. Alexander currently holds the position of the Chancellor of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff – a public land grant historically black university (HBCU). He also worked for the University of Florida as a faculty and administrative member. He is also a revisiting member of the South Jersey community, as he lived here while working as a faculty member at Temple University. One of his primary focuses for Stockton is improving the student experience whether through diversity and inclusion efforts or by making college more accessible and providing opportunities directly from college to employers.
When asked about his visit so far, and what struck him most about Stockton University, he said, “I was really impressed with the space first. It’s such a large landmass campus. The utilization of space and the buildings and the facilities are all very impressive. The only thing is I think is there could be more student space for student activities and recreation.” He wants to “give students a high priority.”
He continued, stating, “What also impressed me is that you’re in a growth pattern. In the last several years, you’ve had new construction and new projects coming on board. That’s a very good sign of a growing university that the buildings and facilities are catching up with the growth.”
When asked if he had plans for making sure Stockton remains affordable, as it continues to grow and expand, he responded, “I would want to build on what’s here already. And doing that means trying to focus on the net price….This means getting outside funds and that means fundraising for the specific and sole purpose of assisting students now.”
He expands, “There are philanthropists and donors out there who are interested in student success. They are interested in helping students, especially those first-generation and low-income students.”
When it comes to getting these scholarships though, the interviewer posed the question of whether he would consider dropping the GPA requirement for some scholarships. He commented that he would make no promises, but he would possibly reconsider the case of the GPA requirement. Of course, further elaborating, “It depends on the circumstances. What I have found in my institution, is the greatest need is among students who may not have a GPA. There certainly needs to be a focus on assisting them in some ways. I don’t think in all cases dropping the GPA is going to be the answer.”
When asked about efforts to make sure Stockton remains diverse and inclusive, Dr. Alexander says that “We are an educational institution, and educating people is what we do best. We need to use the tools that we have to ensure that our university is a safe space for everyone to be welcome.”
After the interview, students were able to ask the presidential candidate questions about students’ concerns that may have gone unanswered in the interview. The forum concluded around 2 p.m.
Categories: News and Events, Stockton News