The Ithaca College Board of Trustees held its fall meetings on South Hill from Wednesday, October 18, through Friday, October 20. In addition to attending to college business, trustees also enjoyed several opportunities to get out of the boardroom to meet with students, faculty and staff.
At the annual Tenure and Promotion Dinner on Thursday night, we joined Provost Melanie Stein, the President’s Cabinet, and department chairs in recognizing the more than two dozen faculty honorees, as well as two professors who were celebrated with professor emeriti status: Srijana Bajracharya, who taught health promotion and physical education, and Jerry Mirskin, who taught poetry and composition theory.
Trustees also received an update about the launch of the Campus Climate Survey, which will identify strengths and opportunities as we strive to be the best institution for all of our community members. Thank you to those who have completed the survey, which closes November 14.
The trustees attended a luncheon with students from several of the college’s scholarship programs, getting to know MLK Scholars, Park Scholars, BOLD Scholars, and Leadership Scholars, as well as the programs’ respective directors. Trustees welcomed the opportunity to learn more about both the programs and the recipients of these scholarships.
After the meetings on Friday, the Board Chair and Vice Chair continued a tradition of hosting an open conversation with members of the IC community. Board Chair Dave Lissy ’87 and Vice Chair Jim Nolan ’77, Parent ’01 shared summaries of the fall meetings and then fielded questions from students, faculty, and staff. The conversation included such topics as the current landscape in higher education and Ithaca College’s place in it, how the college balances its sticker price with a significant financial aid component to provide greater value, how the expansion of graduate programs meets the needs of students while also bringing in new revenue streams, and how leaning into who we are will help us not just survive but continue to thrive.
Presentations to the Board
Each slate of board meetings includes plenary sessions, where trustees hear directly from members of the college community for a closer look into important topics. The first was Thursday, October 19, titled “Artificial Intelligence at Ithaca College: Opportunities and Challenges.” Provost Stein and Vice President and Chief Information and Analytics Officer Dave Weil ’87, MS ’89 shared an overview of how Artificial Intelligence has impacted—and is anticipated to impact—instruction and overall education. This rich discussion of AI will continue at the next BOT meeting with a broader focus on the potential impact of AI on College operations.
Provost Stein also led a discussion on facilitating interdisciplinary learning, along with Associate Provost Stacia Zabusky. They provided an overview of the college’s efforts to foster instruction in ways that span disciplines. The trustees then saw presentations by several different students who had experienced interdisciplinary learning in meaningful ways. In two different immersion experiences, trustees left the Peggy Ryan Williams Center to watch demonstrations of interdisciplinary learning. In the Performing Arts Wellness Clinic in the Center for Health Sciences, Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy Dr. Mike Costello led a demonstration of his PT students working on student performers, and at Entrepreneurship/Demo Day in the School of Business, Brad Treat, Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship, hosted pitch sessions by student entrepreneurs.
In the final plenary session, Director of Title IX Compliance and Title IX Coordinator Linda Koenig also shared some updates to the legal landscape surrounding Title IX, a federal law that protects individuals from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance. She also outlined efforts the College is taking to comply with anticipated new regulations.
Other key sessions for trustees included reports on enrollment and finance.
Cost of Attendance for Academic Year 2024-25
On Friday, the Board approved Tuition, Room and Board for the 2024-25 academic year, with modest increases planned for both new and returning students. This represents our ongoing efforts to keep an Ithaca College education affordable and accessible for students and their families while continuing to invest in the resources necessary to provide the best possible learning and living environment. The average tuition increase for returning students across all class years will be 3.8% for next year with housing and room and board each increasing 1%. The actual increment varies somewhat between class years, in line with the four-year price cap guarantees, which began several years ago and offer incoming students cost predictability over the course of their time at IC.
The board also affirmed its ongoing commitment to financial aid for students. About 93% of current students receive some form of institutional financial aid, representing approximately $117 million in funds provided directly by the college.
We are proud that Ithaca College continues to be recognized as a “best value” for providing a high-quality private college education and experience at an affordable cost, and we greatly appreciate all of the hard work that our campus community continues to put in to ensure that the college retains that designation.
We look forward to meeting again in February. Thank you to all of those who work so tirelessly to welcome us to campus and make these meetings productive.
David H. Lissy ’87
Chair, Board of Trustees
La Jerne Terry Cornish