Student and faculty schedules alike get busier and busier. And the same goes for President Collins, who likely is the busiest of us all.
However, Collins said he always has made students his No. 1 priority. He even is carving out a time in his schedule each month to meet with The Lorian to provide an update from the best resource on campus.
Mid-terms are underway, and Fall Free Days are soon to follow. Homecoming is over, but Collins said he is still receiving praise from alumni that enjoyed the weekend’s festivities. Homecoming is one of his favorite parts of fall, and he enjoys seeing that “everyone” is outside while the campus is changing colors.
Nonetheless, the president can’t shake the recent safety concerns that have taken place in areas surrounding campus, in the larger Dubuque area. There are things, however, that are happening at Loras that are combating these concerns, he said.
For instance, there is a group in the Honors Program that is coordinating with local law enforcement, residents and city leadership to work toward crime prevention. Dean of Students Art Sunleaf also sent out an e-mail regarding ways students can protect themselves, especially at night on the weekends.
“We’re all in this together,” President Collins said, remarking on the coordination of the Dubuque community to work toward creating a safer environment for everyone.
Another issue that has been on the tips of everyone’s tongues is the opening of the newest facility on campus: The Welcome Center that will house Einstein’s Bros. Bagels and the Loras Spirit Shop. Because of construction delays and corporate training requirements, the opening of the cafe portion has been delayed, but the bagel shop should be opening for students and the public within the next few weeks. The spirit shop will be open later in the semester and will offer apparel and accessories similar to the bookstore’s.
There have been recent renovations made to the Science Hall, but because of additional gifts there will be another renovation of a classroom or lab. Loras also completed fundraising for third-floor Keane, and it has received additional funding for the entry of Keane Hall. Additional work on both of these projects will begin soon. There also are plans to work on the fourth floor as well.
In addition to these physical changes to campus, there will be some within the curriculum as well. In the next few months, there will be both an institutional strategic planning process and a curriculum review process to improve the experience on campus.
“We are going to be very transparent in these processes to keep everyone involved,” Collins said.
The review will involve collecting information from and for students and faculty in an effort to investigate which parts of the campus calendar, program, gen-ed curriculum and the other aspects of academics are doing well and which are in need of improvements.
“In terms of other things, my encouragement would be for students to continue finding ways to support each other, both in terms of keeping focused on academics and simultaneously finding ways to come out to support friends in athletic competition, theatre, choir, liturgies, etc.”
Look for another update from President Collins in November.