- Associated Press - Monday, June 16, 2014

PINEVILLE, La. (AP) - Louisiana College’s interim president hopes to implement strong organizational and planning practices and forge a connection with the college’s stakeholders while he is in the role.

The Town Talk reports (https://townta.lk/1p93GKP ) Argile Smith also pledged his office will be open and transparent, something that some students and alumni felt was an issue under the previous administration.

“I was asked that at an alumni meeting,” Smith said. “I asked the person, ‘what does transparency mean to you?’ He responded with things such as knowing the present enrollment, the financial situation and plans for the school for the future. I think good communication can provide that kind of information. I hope to be able to do that. Disclosure is always a good way to go. There are some things we can’t disclose, of course. I think disclosure is helpful to everybody.”

Smith took over for outgoing president Joe Aguillard on June 1. He officially becomes interim president on Aug. 1, when Aguillard becomes president emeritus for the college. Aguillard will remain a tenured faculty member in the school’s graduate education program.

Smith said it was “humbling and quite a bit overwhelming” when he was asked to serve as interim president.

“I felt that I would be glad to help, but I do not want to be the permanent president,” he said.

The length of the search for the new president has yet to be determined, but Smith should have plenty to do in the interim.

His immediate task is getting the college ready for the fall semester. Smith said response from faculty members whose contracts are up for renewal has been positive. He does not expect recent controversy surrounding the school to affect enrollment next year.

“I want to make sure the door is wide open,” Smith said. “We want students to feel like this is a place characterized by stability, challenge and respect. And we want them to know we’re glad they’re here.”

On building bridges with alumni and students who grew disenchanted with the school’s direction, Smith said, “I think the new president would be wise to embrace these challenges in a long-term way.”

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Information from: Alexandria Daily Town Talk, https://www.thetowntalk.com


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