As the new interim president at Lourdes University, Janet Robinson has many plans to advance the university while it looks for a new president. Previously, Ms. Robinson served as Provost and chief academic officer at the college for nearly eight years. She also served on the nursing faculty from 1992-1997.
Ms. Robinson is interim president at Lourdes because the former president, Robert Helmer, left this summer to become president at Baldwin Wallace University in Berea, Ohio. He was president at Lourdes since 2003. Ms. Robinson is expected to be interim for the 2012-2013 school year. A search committee is being formed for the new president during the interim.
During her time as interim president, she hopes to focus on a few major goals to help students and the surrounding community, and creating new student scholarships is one. Ms. Robinson said 84 percent of the school’s first-time, full-time students are recipients of an institutional grant or scholarship.
Two new scholarships have recently been accepted by the school. The Walter H. Chapman Scholarship for Study Abroad will allow art students to travel, while the newest scholarship, the Olga and Ellen Boone Scholarship, is a general scholarship that will benefit students in several ways. Ms. Robinson called it a “zest for life” scholarship, which was given to the university by Olga Boone, who is 103 years old, and her daughter.
“It can make such a difference in someone’s life,” Ms. Robinson said.
As interim president, she would also like to see study abroad initiatives expand. This year, groups of students traveled to Jamaica and England. A future trip to Ireland is currently in the works.
“We really expect we’ll grow that area of the university,” she said.
Ms. Robinson also said the university has plans to take a graduate program off campus and offer it at another site. She said doing so might help students who have jobs get to class easier and also, it might help cut down on traffic in Sylvania.
While she is highly focused on what she can do to help students, Ms. Robinson is also excited about the university’s new First-Year Experience program. FYE is a program that will help students transition from high school into college. It also helps students work in smaller groups to make new friends and participate in activities. Ms. Robinson will host a book talk at her home in the fall for some students in the FYE program.
“The more you can focus on the students, the better it is,” she said.
A final project to increase student success is that of the recently approved Mid-Campus Development project, which is an expansion plan to bring several new buildings, including a new athletic facility and a new academic building, to the campus property. The project is tentatively scheduled for completion sometime in 2013.
“We’re just very pleased that the Sylvania City Council approved our plan,” Ms. Robinson said. “We’re in the process of finalizing. By early fall, we’ll have some details. We’re trying to move forward in a really responsible way.”
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