Karalee Manis, Managing Editor

Ask anyone about Lakeland and nine times out of 10 they will mention how much they love the community aspect of the college.

But what is happening to our community? The college is worried about student retention, but what about staff retention?

By the end of this academic year, Lakeland will have lost at least 14 members of its staff or faculty – that’s a significant number.

The majority of these are staff members, people like Rick Herian, student success and engagement coach, or Lucas Dulmes, Great Lakes Internship Grant coordinator. Additionally, Whitney Diedrich, another success coach, will be leaving the college on April 15.

These are people who students have grown to trust, have learned that they can be counted on if they have a problem.

If the people filling such roles become a revolving door of faces with which students find they cannot connect due to the fact that the college cannot keep the position filled for a long enough period of time, why would anyone want to go to them in the first place?

When I came to Lakeland last year, Kay Voss was my success coach. She left at the end of the last school year.

Rick Herian filled her position. He left earlier this year, not even staying a full academic year.

I’ve had two success coaches in not even two full years, and I’m supposed to what, ignore the fact that I don’t even technically have one right now and just be open to discussing my school issues with whoever may be free or new in the success office?

No. That’s not fair to students. It’s not really even fair to the other staff members, either, having to try and pick up the slack left in the wake of employee absence.

Part of the appeal of Lakeland is that, as a small school, staff and faculty get know students. When, in my case, an assigned student resource is no longer in that role, then what is the point?

I’m lucky that the professors and advisors in my areas of study are able to fulfill most of my needs, should I have any questions or concerns.
I like that Lakeland is a community. I just wish that some parts of it didn’t feel like it was turning into a way station community.