New LU president lays out plans for school

It's move-in month for the new Lamar University President, Dr. Kenneth Evans.

The incoming president is moving into his new home that is nestled in between student living quarters on the Lamar University campus.

While workers spend their days refurbishing the 6,000 square foot presidential home, Dr. Evans is busy getting to know the school. He's spending his first three weeks in meetings with faculty before the busy fall semester.

"I'm seeing what departments are excited about, where they're going with their particular programming and also getting a sense of where their needs are," he says.

Coming to Lamar from the University of Oklahoma, he's bringing along a new marketing member to the team.

"Part of it is making sure that our message is clear and that our websites are effective in directing students and parents to particular aspects to what we offer here at the university," says Dr. Evans.

Once the student is drawn to Lamar, a critical issue is keeping them there. In 2010, the retention rate was 66-percent. Now, it's 56-percent which means more students are dropping out before walking across the stage.

"It's critical. When we admit a student, we have an obligation to that student that we think they can succeed at Lamar," he says.

Dr. Evans plans to help students write their own success stories by implementing a program where students commit to living up to their obligation and where the school monitors the students who struggle with the curriculum.

"It provides an opportunity for us to track that student and engage in interventions that help that student be successful," he says.

Also on his agenda is implementing a "Lifetime Learning Contract" which will keep the student connected once they graduate.

"As a graduate of Lamar, it will provide the opportunity to access continuing education programs. It's something that we're encouraging and building for our alumni to access," he says.

Cardinal fever spread throughout the community when the school brought back football. Dr. Evans feels confident the athletic department is on the right track.

"I know that recruiting was relatively successful. They're bringing in some great additional athletes. So, we're optimistic about this coming year," he says.

Dr. Evans says he hopes to also build the school's honor program along with continuing the relationship with the oil, gas and energy industry.

The school celebrates it's 90th anniversary this year and Evans is hoping to keep the 90 year tradition of success in tact.



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