Speaking with the same tone and enthusiasm as Stephen Harper’s speech about enjoying Netflix and declaring his love for Breaking Bad (it’s available on some online streaming services, if you’ve never seen it), Bill Lahey spoke about why he should be King’s next president.
Lahey is one of two candidates running for the position. He gave a half hour speech in Alumni Hall on Feb. 2 about his experience as a professor at Dalhousie’s Schulich School of Law where he currently teaches.
Lahey received his BA from Mount Allison University and his BA (Juris) from Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar.
George MacLean, the other candidate running for the position, presented his speech on Feb. 1.
“Opportunities and challenges are often hard to tell apart,” says Lahey.
He says his roles in public administration and contributions to legislative reforms throughout Nova Scotia have helped him prepare for the challenges facing King’s.
“Lower enrolment and reduced government funding are some of the issues of the sector as a whole,” says Lahey.
As president, he says he would improve scholarships and student funding, offer students a safe learning environment, access to mental health facilities and “top notch advising.”
“At a personal level,” says Lahey, “the president must embody the academic mission of the college and be the leading advocate for the student experience at King’s, both in and out of the college.”
He also says being visible, approachable and deeply invested in the King’s tradition and school as a whole are all necessary characteristics of a great university president.
During questioning, classics professor Peter O’Brien asked Lahey about the relationship between King’s and Dalhousie. Lahey wasn’t able to give specifics about the future of a stronger collaboration between the two schools, but emphasized the mutual benefit of “exploiting and taking full advantage of the partnership” between King’s and Dalhousie.
Humanities professor Ian Stuart asked Lahey to imagine a scenario in which Stuart came to King’s with his teenage son who was thinking about attending the university.
“How will coming to King’s help my teenager become a better lawyer?”
Lahey responded to the question by saying, “Any top notch education will help anyone not just become a lawyer, but become a good lawyer.”
He says the liberal arts programs King’s offers can help students improve analytical skills, and that a King’s degree can take graduating students down a variety of career paths.
Alex McVittie, a second-year journalism student and student life vice president of the King’s Student Union, asked Lahey about his plans on increasing racial diversity at King’s.
He says he has “no specific plans, but I would make it a priority. I don’t know if there’s only one specific student at King’s, but I’ll take your word for it.”
King’s students, staff and faculty are encouraged to email their thoughts to Anna Stuart (firstname.lastname@example.org) before Feb. 10.