Cornish then provided an update on the state of the college and shared her strategic vision for the next several years, which includes a three-to-five-year plan to restore IC to operational and financial status quo, especially the restoration of a robust student experience inside and outside of the classroom; followed by another three to five years to “soar” and re-establish its position as a world-class college, rooted in the liberal arts and sciences tradition with top-tier professional schools.
“We had just embarked on a community-wide strategic plan, powered by energy, excitement, and realism when COVID commenced,” said Cornish. “I need you to know that I'm dedicated to this institution for the long game. The work ahead for us is challenging, but it is not insurmountable. We can only do this if we do it together.”
Cornish also shared the three values guiding her presidency — intentionality, connection, and care — and offered listeners ideas of ways they could get involved and support the IC community, from hosting a Bombers football watch party in their community to bringing an IC student on as an intern at their place of employment.
Next, the event shifted to a Q&A, with Cornish and other senior leaders answering questions directly from attendees.
Moderated by Quincy Davidson, interim vice president of philanthropy and engagement, the other panelists included Marsha Dawson, dean of students; Tim Downs, vice president for finance and administration; Laurie Koehler, vice president for marketing and enrollment strategy; and Melanie Stein, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs.
Q&A topics included everything from the value of an IC education and the IC Annual Fund to the ways Ithaca College invests in the local community and collaborates with Ithaca-area organizations. The speakers also fielded questions about financial aid and plans for continued alumni engagement, and discussed the new partnership with the Cayuga Health System that allows students better access to physical and mental healthcare resources.
Another subject that was covered was the recent joining together of the School of Music and Department of Theatre Arts to become the School of Music, Theater, and Dance. Provost Stein spoke to the excitement and energy she’s been seeing among the faculty and students in support of the new multidisciplinary school.
“In bringing all of these artistic departments together under one roof, we are really putting our students in the strongest position to prepare them for careers in this ever-changing world. It’s a really exciting time, and students and faculty are in a period of identity formation that has been beautiful to watch,” said Stein. “We are so excited about the prospects that this school is going to unlock, both for our students and for the programs that serve them.”
Cornish closed the event by expressing her gratitude and appreciation to the audience for their engagement and continued support. She also extended an invitation to join her for IC In The City: Reunion and Cortaca ’22, the college’s reunion and Cortaca Jug celebration taking place in New York City from November 10-12.
“I'd like to thank each of you who took the time to join us this evening, because this virtual engagement is just great,” Cornish said. “It's getting me ready to get on the road next week as I prepare to engage with alumni across the country. I am so appreciative of your efforts that enrich and enhance the one-of-a-kind experience that IC students and families have.”