The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

New first-year class dean named

Smith hopes to work closely with students this semester. (Photo courtesy of Lafayette Advising)
Smith hopes to work closely with students this semester. (Photo courtesy of Lafayette Advising)

Alexis Smith has recently been named the new first-year class dean, a development necessitated by a shuffling of the advising office staff.

Smith previously worked at St. Johns University as a freshman advisor and the head coordinator of the Student Support Services (SSS) program. The SSS program helped first-generation students, low-income students and students with disabilities. While she enjoyed her 15 years in New York, the long commute across state lines motivated her to look elsewhere.

“I had been there for almost 15 years and my daily commute was five hours … which was just killing me. I was spending a lot of money,” Smith said. “I just need something different but I still wanted to be in higher ed … My aunt moved to Reading, Pennsylvania, and on the way coming from her house, I saw signs for Lehigh and Lafayette … and that’s how Lafayette got on my radar.”

It was Smith’s second interview at Lafayette, when she spent the full day talking to different members of the campus community, that convinced her to take the job.

“I just felt like everyone was genuinely interested in me, and what I can do for the Lafayette community, but also they really wanted to know about me,” Smith said. “I felt like everyone was warm and welcoming. And it was a bit overwhelming in the beginning … but I really felt like this was a great fit.”

As first-year class dean, Smith will be in charge of working with first-years inside and outside the classroom as they transition into college life.

“I’m the first stop. And then if I need to outsource to another resource I can,” Smith said. “I always have the students’ needs first. I’m always one to be their advocate … and things don’t always go the right way, but I would like students to know that they have a place here.”

Smith credited her work with the SSS program as a valuable experience that will allow her to handle students’ issues more effectively and empathetically.

“I’ve been told that the university is taking in more students, and the demographics are shifting just a little. So I guess having someone who has experience with those particular demographics or small areas is helpful,” Smith said. “And I feel like I can also use it to my advantage in other ways because I’m just sensitive to those needs.”

Smith said that her main goal this upcoming semester is to continue working closely with students and learning more about the Lafayette culture.

“I want to make sure that I continue to keep students’ needs first,” Smith said. “I hope that for the rest of this semester, and throughout the summer, I’m able to explore a little bit more of [the] Lafayette way, and the students and the way things are done here.”

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About the Contributor
Emma Chen, Managing Editor
Emma Chen (she/her) is a senior studying Anthropology & Sociology and Government & Law. She has been writing for the paper since her freshman fall (Zoom interviews galore). On campus, she is a POSP director, Mentor Writing Associate, President of the Panhellenic Council, a Kaleidoscope coordinator, works in the A&S office, and is involved in her sorority. Emma has very strong opinions about crust, has never eaten a blueberry, and is a staunch hater of AP style.

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