Ahead of Pat Bosco’s retirement this summer, open forum interviews to fill his position began today in the K-State Alumni Center.
Thomas Lane, associate vice president for student affairs and dean of students at Missouri State University, was the first of three finalists to interview.
Lane recalled how a spontaneous decision to apply for a position in a student life office took him from nearly flunking out of college to graduating, achieving a master’s degree, a career he loves and eventually his doctoral degree.
“Never underestimate the impact that student affairs can have on others and the campus community,” Lane said. “Not only did being involved in a program offered by student affairs help me to achieve academically, it provided a learning laboratory for developing leadership skills that have benefited me in many other areas of life.”
Lane proposed his strategy to advance student success at Kansas State University, composed of five focus areas to help students succeed in the same way student life aided him.
The first focus area promotes student success and learning. It also includes development for student affairs professionals. The second focus would aim to create a more inclusive campus.
Lane said the Office of Student Life must ensure all students feel like they belong.
“Student Life needs to play a pivotal role in providing intentional opportunities for cross-cultural dialogue interaction, recognizing and celebrating the diversity within the Wildcat family and ensuring all students know and feel they are valued members of the institution,” he said.
Finalists for Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students to host open forums and student receptions
He then went on to college student mental health. With increases in mental health diagnoses, Lane said Student Life has a responsibility to take action.
“If we’re serious about student success, we must be willing to engage with students in discussing mental health with the same creativity, the same persistence and importance that we’ve had dialogues and discussions about alcohol and other substance abuse educational efforts,” Lane said.
His plan for a more inclusive and open campus impressed Alec Onstad, senior in operations and supply chain management.
“I really liked his focus on inclusivity and mental health,” Onstad said. “He talked a lot about looking at campus life through the lense of minorities, which is so important, so I am glad that’s something he is prioritizing.”
Another priority of Lane’s, the fourth focus area, is fostering a vibrant campus life and Student Life’s role in forming the university’s brand. He stressed the importance of making sure K-State is service-focused and student-centered, a place that students are proud to be a part of.
In the final focus area, Lane identified resources for innovation. Faced with budget challenges, Lane said he looks at how things could be done more efficiently to best meet student needs. He also stressed the importance of engaging alumni as mentors, supporters and inspirers for current students.
“Our division can help look for ways to create a cycle where today’s students are mentored by today’s alumni, those students become tomorrow’s alumni, and we ask them to give back by staying involved with the next generation of students,” Lane said.
The two other finalists, Santiago Solis, associate vice president for student affairs at Townson University; and Derek Jackson, associate vice president for student life at K-State, will interview in open forums on Tuesday and Thursday from 1 to 2:30 p.m., respectively, in the K-State Alumni Center Banquet Room.