President's Corner: Taking a Fresh Look

It is always a good idea to take a fresh look at what one is doing and how it can be done better.

This spring semester, faculty and staff across the campus are taking part in a discussion of our core commitments as a residential, comprehensive college dedicated to providing an excellent educational experience for every student. In every department, program, and office we are asking ourselves how our particular area contributes to achieving the mission of Ithaca College and what we can do personally to better realize that mission.

These discussions are taking place in the context of five guiding principles that represent a synthesis of the mission that has long guided Ithaca College in its journey.

We commit to active learning that develops knowledge and skills through a variety of experiences in the classroom, community, laboratory, and other settings. 

We prepare students for success in college and in life. We believe intellectual and personal growth reach their highest potential in an atmosphere that is both challenging and supportive.

We embrace diversity as an integral part of the educational experience and of the community we create.

We commit to the responsible and sustainable management of natural, human, and financial resources.  

We strive to be recognized for excellence in our educational and operational endeavors.

Through our campus conversations, we hope to gain a renewed understanding of these goals and a sharper focus on how we can achieve them. It is especially important to allow our commitment to excellence to guide this process.

One of my most cherished beliefs is that excellence comes from fearless self-examination, ongoing adjustment, and a willingness to do whatever it takes to continually get better. By reexamining the core principles of our educational mission, we will better understand where to concentrate our resources and our efforts. By centering our efforts on achieving these five guiding principles, we can be excellent stewards of our resources.

Alumni have an important part to play in this self-examination. Take another look at the five principles. How successful would you say Ithaca College was in offering you a blend of professional skills alongside the capacities in critical thinking and communication that come through studies in the liberal arts? Did you have active learning opportunities in the laboratory, studio, or community that gave you a head start on developing skills necessary for your career? Did you have a rich residential and student life experience, in which you made lifelong friends and found opportunities for intellectual and emotional development? Did your experience at Ithaca College prepare you for success in life -- not only professional success but also fulfillment and happiness? Did you find on our campus an atmosphere of openness and diversity that prepared you to navigate the wider world?

As alumni, you can respond to questions like these in a way that no one else can.

Please take a few moments to think about what your IC experience has meant to you. What was excellent, and what could have been better? How well did we meet, in your estimation, the demanding goals set by the five guiding principles? Please write me with your thoughts at

I hope you found your Ithaca College experience to be excellent. But no matter how good it was, more than 1,500 members of the faculty and staff are spending this spring examining ways to make it better.


Read President Rochon’s blog.