New dean to specialize in multicultural and international affairs

New+dean+to+specialize+in+multicultural+and+international+affairs

by Vania Quiroz

Simpson has hired Walter Lain as the assistant dean ofmulticultural and international affairs, adding a new position tothe college’s faculty list.

Creating the new position has been a priority for President R.Kevin LaGree since he arrived at Simpson.

“I had intended to create the position in January of 2000,” saidLaGree. “But that year we had a lower than expected enrollment, sowe had to cut costs, though it remained a priority.”

The position was also recommended by the Task Force ofDiversity, led by Fred Jones, chair of the division of educationand social science. The task force came up with a set of ideas forthe new position, most of them included in the job description.

“Walter [Lain’s] responsibilities will be mostly on campus,”said Jim Thorius, vice president for student development. “He willnot be in charge of recruiting prospective [international andminority] students, but he will be able to help with that.”

Some of the responsibilities of Lain’s position includeproviding and coordinating programs with international and minoritystudents, and supporting the Multicultural Students Alliance andthe International Students Organization. Lain is also expected tohelp solve problems that may arise along the way. Lain said hefeels a special connection between his new job and his own ideasbecause he has had a special interest in diversity since hiscollege years.

“I’m from a large city, and coming to Iowa was the opposite ofwhat I was accustomed,” said Lain. “I think my greatest asset ishaving been a student at Simpson at a time when it was morediversed [40 to 50 black students]. It gives me a good perspectiveof what areas I should start working on.”

Since Lain is a Simpson graduate and has experience as a lawyerand a father, LaGree said he fits well into the Simpsoncommunity.

“All these things make it relatively easier for him to connectwith Simpson,” said LaGree. “These qualities come together and makehim uniquely qualified to help Simpson grow in the area ofdiversity.”

Lain had the opportunity to meet with some minority students andmembers of the two organizations that deal with international andminority affairs during the hiring process.

“It seems to me as he has good intentions for the college,” saidsenior Amber Rumley, president of the Multicultural StudentsAlliance. “Still, I think he has a big challenge in front of him ifhe is planning to create awareness of the different people’scultures and backgrounds on campus.”

Thorius said the campus was fortunate to find someone like Lain,who has the necessary experience and understanding of Simpsonneeded to help create a more diverse environment. “Whether or notyou’re an international or a minority student, the responsibilityto embrace diversity and learn from each other belongs to all ofus,” said Thorius.

LaGree seconds this opinion.

“In order for diversity to work, it has to be part ofeverybody,” said LaGree.