The Path Forward in Emergency Preparedness

By Rosanna Ferro, May 13, 2021
Christina Moylan to transition to former Role in HSHP; Samm Swarts appointed assistant director of emergency preparedness and response.

Dear Campus Community,

We have finally reached the finish line of what has truly been an extraordinary academic year in the history of Ithaca College. There is so much we have learned from the challenges of this past year, perhaps most importantly the incredible feats we can accomplish when we all work together. Throughout this time, each and every one of us has stepped up in their own way to help us collectively navigate through the unprecedented impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the forefront of this monumental effort has been the steadfast leadership and dedication of Christina Moylan.

Christina Moylan

Christina Moylan, Associate Dean in the School of Health Sciences and Human Performance. 

When the pandemic emerged onto the international scene in the early months of 2020, Ithaca College was already engaged in a critical process of reorganizing its approach to emergency preparedness. As our needs drastically pivoted to address the particular complexities of the pandemic, we were so fortunate for the willingness of Christina Moylan to step into the role of directing our institutional response to this mounting global crisis. Serving as Associate Dean in the School of Health Sciences and Human Performance (HSHP), her expertise in public health, problem solving and building strong collaboration across various campus partners made her an ideal fit, and we are grateful that she made the selfless decision to meet this challenge head on. 

As Director of Public Health Emergency Preparedness, Christina made her impact felt everywhere. Whether it was working with our facilities and operations team to optimize learning and living spaces on campus for use during the pandemic, building collaborations with community partners to establish a robust surveillance testing system for students, faculty and staff, or educating our campus community on how to mitigate COVID-19 risk through the weekly public health columns, there was no challenge too great nor task too small that she did not answer the call. Our ability to successfully return to South Hill this spring and maintain uninterrupted operational status throughout this semester is certainly a testament to Christina’s direction and guidance.

A Team Effort

Of course, every good leader has a dedicated team, and Christina has certainly had that during her time in this crucial role. Although there are countless staff members who could be named in this message, I would like to give particular recognition to several key areas of support for Christina this past year. Special thanks go to Alex Devers, Beth Greene and Chris Griffin, who stepped into pivotal roles as case managers within our quarantine and isolation support team; Eileen Roth for her amazing work in supporting a complex move-in process and building meaningful connections with our off-campus student community; Bridget McCann for her tireless work as our Testing Coordinator this spring; and Jennifer Metzgar and Diane Rogers, who served as our contact tracers and patiently communicated with and supported students, families and employees through the tracing process, which was key to minimizing the spread of the coronavirus. I would also like to recognize our talented and devoted staff at the Hammond Health Center, led by Dr. Ellyn Sellers-Selin, who continue to remain at the forefront of this critical public health work.

As we begin to turn our attention to the future, it is with bittersweet feelings that I share with our campus community that, as planned, Christina will be returning back to her role as Associate Dean within HSHP by July 1, 2021.

Emergency Preparedness Continues

While this transition marks another step in Ithaca’s path towards a traditional fall semester, our emphasis on the safety of the campus community remains foremost in our minds. Samm Swarts, who I also thank for serving in a critical role this past year as a case manager helping coordinate quarantine and isolation housing and related policies, is taking on the newly created position of Assistant Director of Emergency Preparedness and Response.

Samm Swarts

Samm Swarts, Assistant Director of Emergency Preparedness and Response.

Housed within the Office of Public Safety and Emergency Management, this position will be tasked with overseeing remaining steps that may be necessary in Ithaca College’s COVID-19 response, while also encompassing a broader charter of planning for and responding to the variety of threats that could impact the IC community. I want to assure you that many key areas of our pandemic infrastructure, including quarantine and isolation, vaccination, and testing, will remain in place as this new position is leveraged with strategic internal and external partnerships. You can read more about Samm and his new role.

I encourage you to please join me in expressing the sincerest of thanks to Christina for all she has accomplished during this past academic year, and in continuing to observe all of the health precautions that will allow us to be just as successful in the year ahead.


Rosanna Ferro, Ed.D.
Vice President for Student Affairs and Campus Life