LaForge conveys ideas about DSU to faculty
by Rory Doyle
Apr 26, 2013 | 2452 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Delta State University's new president, William LaForge, high fives the Statesmen Mascot at a magazine cover shoot on the quad Thursday.
Delta State University's new president, William LaForge, high fives the Statesmen Mascot at a magazine cover shoot on the quad Thursday.
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New Delta State University President Bill LaForge held an open forum and luncheon with university faculty on campus Thursday.

LaForge committed to the event in his campaign for presidency, and the affair was scheduled a little over a week since his initial student forum on April 16.

Faulty members from all departments were on hand to discuss budget and agenda items and present DSU's new leader with questions.

LaForge was prepped to exchange ideas and establish outreach that he said would make the university run efficiently.

"My style is very inclusive, collaborative," said LaForge. "The IHL Board all believes this is a team."

He committed to full transparency of the school's budget process and handed the microphone to Greg Redlin, retiring vice president of finance and administration, who explained how state funding was distributed to Mississippi colleges and universities.

"It's highly important we grow enrollment as much as we can," said Redlin.

LaForge agreed, saying it was time to put an end to the "erosion of enrollment."

"It's important going forward that we have certainty," said LaForge.

And to do this, LaForge said it would take innovative thinking and expansion of unique programs.

He again mentioned forming a Blues music conference, which came up at the student forum, citing that DSU is the academic center point of the Blues.

LaForge also wants to enhance race relations and reconciliation activities, which will involve well-known figures, political leaders and speakers.

Expanding international student opportunities, both at DSU and abroad, will be another focal point. LaForge has teaching experience in Poland and Russia and is working with schools in both countries to strengthen exchange programs.

Questions from the faculty provided LaForge the opportunity to give his insight on a number of topics, including potential expansion of Greek life housing, tuition costs for students and even moving administrative offices back to main campus, south of Miss. Highway 8.

Discussion led to praise of Dr. Ann Lotven, who is stepping down from the important role of provost/vice president for academic affairs.

The university will begin to look for Lotven's successor by forming a search committee in early May.

The goal is to have the three top candidates visit campus during the last two weeks of August, with LaForge making the final call.

Three other significant positions will require employee searches. These appointments include vice president of finance and administration, athletic director and arts and science dean.

LaForge said there is substantial work to be done, but he's looking forward to being the guiding light in an exciting time for the school.

"My role is to bring hens and roosters together," joked LaForge. "My job is to bring people together."