Of all the new college presidents assuming their posts this year, the New York Times chose Ithaca College’s incoming President Shirley M. Collado to interview for an article on the issues facing institutions of higher education. She also discussed her ambitions for a college poised for change.
Collado was featured in an article on June 7 that touched on her intention to be an “ever-present force” on the campus, her desire to forge and strengthen local community partnerships, and her philosophy of weaving diversity and inclusion into the fabric of the institution.
In the interview, Collado notes that diversity and equity must become core principles at the heart of higher education if colleges and universities are to be truly inclusive environments. It’s only when those principles are infused in an institution’s operations at every level that it can become truly representative of increasingly diverse student populations.
The article also references recent protests against controversial speakers at campuses nationwide. Collado shares that institutions should embrace the “messiness” and should not shy away from the friction that comes from clashing ideologies or forms of expression.
“I’m not interested in sanitizing academic spaces that don’t push the boundaries of people’s thinking or aren’t going to conjure up some difficult tensions that we see in America,” she says in the article.
The article also highlighted the transformative changes Collado made as the dean and vice president for student affairs at Middlebury College. She sought feedback and ideas from the campus community over meals as part of her “kitchen cabinet,” and she created the “MiddView” program as part of orientation where small groups of students took trips to places like the statehouse.
The article was written by Nick Corasaniti, a 2008 alumnus of IC and a reporter for the Times.
Collado most recently served as executive vice chancellor and chief operating officer at Rutgers University-Newark. Among the personal experiences highlighted in the article is her status as a first-generation college student of Dominican heritage who grew up in a working-class home in Brooklyn. Collado was able to attend Vanderbilt University as part of the inaugural class of the Posse Foundation, an organization for which she later served as executive vice president. She earned a B.S. in human and organizational development and psychology from Vanderbilt, and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in clinical psychology from Duke University.
Collado’s term as president of Ithaca College begins on July 1. Her inauguration will be held during the Weekend on South Hill in November, as part of a celebration of the college’s 125th anniversary. Learn more about incoming President Collado here.