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Lyon College Welcomes Dr. Alexander Beeser as New Spragins House Faculty Mentor

Lyon College's Spragins House is set to have a new faculty mentor this fall, and the campus welcomes Dr. Alexander Beeser, Associate Professor of Biology, who brings a fresh perspective and a willingness to bridge the gap between faculty and students.

When Dr. Beeser first joined Lyon College, he was uncertain about his suitability for the role of faculty mentor.

“I came from a situation where students and the faculty were largely two completely separate entities with really very little overlap,” said Dr. Beeser.

However, as time passed he observed the impact of the previous mentor, Dr. Cassia Oliveira, Associate Professor of Biology. Dr. Beeser realized the critical importance of the Spragins mentor in integrating into the campus community. Witnessing Dr. Oliveira's significant influence changed his perception, making him recognize the value of the program for himself and the students.

“I can say with absolute certainty that had I not witnessed how Dr. Oliveira was able to make such a large impact, I would have kept my initial position that it was a valuable program, but not for me,” said Dr. Beeser.

One of the main reasons Dr. Beeser applied for the faculty mentor position is his personal connection to the experiences of Lyon College students. As a first-generation college graduate, he understands the challenges that many students face.

“More importantly, and one of the main reasons I applied, is that if we as an institution expect our students to be put into uncomfortable positions to grow then we should be willing to do the same,” said Dr. Beeser.

Acknowledging his areas for improvement, particularly his interpersonal skills, Dr. Beeser is eager to take on the Spragins House mentorship role, knowing that it involves risks and the possibility of making mistakes. He acknowledges that growth comes from embracing uncertainty and not shying away from the potential for failure.

One aspect that attracted Dr. Beeser to the Spragins position is the flexibility it offers. The programming can be tailored to the needs and interests of the Lyon College community. While certain events, such as the freshman cardboard race and hosting year one classes for lunch, are part of the position's requirements, Dr. Beeser appreciates the freedom to experiment with new ideas.

“Some of the things I am planning will likely not work and I hope to keep doing the things that work and stop doing the things that won’t,” said Dr. Beeser. “And if I am not sure, I can always rely on Dr. Oliveira to give me her opinion.”

Excited about this uncharted territory, Dr. Beeser is looking forward to engaging with freshmen biology students earlier in their academic journeys. As an instructor for upper-level biology classes, he often meets students who have already formed impressions of him based on the reputation of the challenging courses he teaches. Being a faculty mentor allows him to establish connections with students earlier on, breaking down any preconceived notions and fostering a sense of belonging within the Lyon College community.

“I’m looking forward to being able to get to know students earlier so that my reputation does not always precede me,” said Dr. Beeser.

Dr. Beeser emphasizes that the most important aspect of the Spragins House mentorship role is its non-academic nature. The primary objective is to demonstrate to Lyon College students that they are not only welcome but that they belong. Recognizing that learning extends beyond the classroom, he acknowledges that faculty members rarely have opportunities to interact with students in this capacity.

Although he does not claim to have all the answers, Dr. Beeser aims to serve as an additional point of contact for students and help guide them to the appropriate resources. Furthermore, he envisions breaking down the perceived barriers between the campus community and the wider Batesville community, fostering a stronger connection between Lyon College and the local area.

“The College is a special place, and it deserves someone in this position who will be able to meet the various charges and obligations around campus,” said Dr. Beeser. “I hope to become that person.”

Dr. Alexander Beeser, accompanied by his wife Heather, their daughter Lola, their son Luke, and their beloved cat Jezzie, joyfully anticipate settling into their new home, the Spragins House, during the upcoming summer.

Posted by Colton Strader at 12:00