Michael Latham, Ph.D., interim dean of Fordham College at Rose Hill (FCRH), shared his goals for the college, elicited student input and listened to student concerns on March 3 at Rodrigue’s on the Rose Hill campus.

Latham opened “Coffee and Lunch with the Dean” by outlining three areas he has targeted for development: undergraduate research, international education and science programs.

According to Latham, increased funding for undergraduate research and the continued development of the annual undergraduate research symposium are crucial to getting students involved not just in absorbing information, but in producing it themselves.

On the subject of international education, Latham laid out a threefold plan, which included:

– more financial support for study abroad;

– more diversity in foreign language study to reflect future business, political and economic needs; and

– expanded student participation in internships with non-governmental organizations, such as the United Nations, UNICEF and World Vision, which are aligned with the Jesuit mission in their work to promote human rights and end poverty and hunger.

Some key areas of interest and concern raised by students included: grade deflation, research resources, advising, national ranking, language courses and funding for travel abroad.

A spirited debate arose when Latham asked students for feedback regarding the core curriculum, which is the center of the FCRH education. While some students felt that taking required courses across disciplines helped them to define their interests and expand their background, others felt the program was restrictive or repetitive.

Latham encouraged students to see the value in their diversified requirements. “In many fields an employer can train you in how to do a specific job, but they can’t teach you how to write, they can’t teach you how to think, they can’t teach you how to analyze,” he said. “But a liberal arts education can do that, and something like the core curriculum can help do that.”

“Coffee and Lunch with the Dean” was sponsored by United Student Government, the Dean’s Office at FCRH, Rodrigue’s and Fordham Club.

– Nina Romeo