Dear faculty, staff, and students,
I am writing to share some important news about changes to student affairs, the provost’s office, and to my office. At the last All-College Gathering, I described my intention to enhance these three areas. These enhancements will help us provide the best possible student experience and help me be a leader who is present within our IC community so that we can fully collaborate on a shared, strategic vision for the college. I offer my deepest thanks to the campus community for giving me your honest opinions, recommendations, and support early on in my tenure as president.
Student and Academic Affairs
From the beginning of my time here, I have had many candid conversations with a wide range of campus stakeholders: members of the Student Governance Council, student groups, and individuals; members of the Faculty Council and Staff Council; faculty and staff in each school and division; our deans, vice presidents, and other administrators. I have also relied heavily on conversations I’ve had with the directors in student affairs, whose feedback and opinions have been very insightful.
Without fail, a salient theme emerged over and over again: the need to further enhance the unique strengths of both student affairs and academic affairs. These conversations align with the results of the Campus Climate Survey, reports about student success and retention and about shared governance, the Middle States accreditation self-study, and other recent analyses the college has conducted.
They also align very well with what I have observed and developed in my own experience as a leader in both student and academic affairs. My career has been driven by a student-centered approach that equally values a high-quality experience for faculty and staff and an affirming experience for students both inside and outside the classroom. In order for us to offer an outstanding residential student experience as well as a challenging curriculum taught by an innovative and engaged faculty, both of these areas must be strong.
Creating two divisions
To continue our work in this direction, I am announcing, effective Monday, October 30, the creation of the Division of Student Affairs and Campus Life, which will be independent of the provost’s portfolio.
I want to thank everyone who contributed so thoughtfully to this discussion, and in such a condensed time frame. It was striking to see how many students, faculty, and staff held a strong belief that this change was not only wise but urgent. By making this change early in the academic year and early in my tenure, I hope to accelerate the college’s efforts to enhance this critical part of the IC experience before we begin our long-term planning for both academic and student affairs.
The provost role will continue to serve as a chief academic officer and will lead the Division of Academic Affairs as the provost and vice president for academic affairs. This tighter focus will enable the deep work of partnering with deans and faculty to develop and refine the college’s curriculum and academic strategy, and to create pathways for increased faculty support and success.
I am deeply grateful to Provost Linda Petrosino for her partnership and her frank counsel throughout this decision-making process. Linda’s deep commitment as an alumna, faculty member, and administrator at Ithaca College has been unwavering since she arrived to serve as dean of the School of Health Sciences and Human Performance. She has always put the college first, and I am deeply grateful for all that she has done for the IC community. As many of you already know, Linda agreed to serve as provost until the end of this academic year, and I am swiftly moving forward with plans for a search for a newly defined provost role and portfolio. Multiple ongoing conversations with faculty, students, staff, deans, and vice presidents are helping me define what we most need in the provost portfolio, and I will share plans with you soon about the search.
Increasing support for student health and wellness
I am very pleased to announce that the college has approved the addition of one case manager in student life and two counselors in the Center for Counseling and Psychological Services, inside the Division of Student Affairs and Campus Life. At IC and nationwide, the demand for counseling and support among students is increasing sharply. To be truly student-centered, we must offer the support our students need to thrive, both in college and after they graduate. The senior leadership team and I enthusiastically approved a proposal to increase staffing to accommodate the increased case load. These positions will be posted and filled as soon as possible.
Announcing Dr. Rosanna Ferro, Vice President, Student Affairs and Campus Life
As we focus on improving our students’ well-being and sense of belonging, and intensifying our efforts to offer holistic learning in our residential campus community, I am pleased to share that I have had the unusual opportunity to appoint a leader whose expertise perfectly aligns with our needs and aspirations. I am thrilled to announce that Dr. Rosanna Ferro will be joining our campus community as the vice president of the Division of Student Affairs and Campus Life effective Monday, October 30.
Rosanna currently serves as associate dean of the college at Williams College, one of the top liberal arts colleges in the nation. She holds a doctoral degree in education, a master’s degree in social work, and a bachelor’s degree in sociology, and she brings more than 15 years of experience and leadership in student affairs, gained at large public universities as well as private residential colleges like ours. She has launched and developed widely successful programs in the areas of student success; student retention; diversity, equity, and inclusion; and the first-generation college experience. Rosanna is a talented emerging leader who has been heavily recruited by other institutions and has the multifaceted experience needed to lead within the complicated landscape of higher education today. I have been watching her career closely for many years, and I am thrilled that she has agreed to bring her leadership and expertise to Ithaca College.
Rosanna will be visiting our campus on October 3, and we will schedule opportunities for our campus community to get to know her. I encourage you to read more about her and the changes to student affairs and the provost’s office here.
Office of the President and the Senior Leadership Team
There also are important changes to the Office of the President that I would like to share. I have made a commitment to our college community that I will serve our college as fully, authentically, and deeply as I possibly can. To be that leader, I need to be present and engaged within our extended community as much as possible, and my team and I need to be highly responsive to the many needs, requests, communications, and issues that come through our office. Recognizing this, I have made some changes and additions to the Office of the President.
Given the growing nature of our work in federal, state, and local government relations, as well as our dedication to strengthening ties to the local community, I have created the position of executive director of government and community relations. This is a position that is necessary and timely, and reflects an emerging strategic need. This position will manage key initiatives shared between my office and the offices of our vice presidents and many campus leaders, and will be charged with developing and maintaining strategic relationships that promote strong and productive collaborations between the college and the local community as well as state and federal governments.
It was my intention to welcome Amanda Lippincott into this new role, recognizing her wonderful work as chief of staff in the president’s office and her deep experience building relationships and overseeing projects with campus, community, and governmental groups during her many years on campus. I am disappointed to announce that, as of Tuesday, September 19, Amanda made the decision to resign from Ithaca College. As difficult as it was to receive the news of Amanda’s departure, I respect her decision and I am eternally grateful for the support she has given me since I was named president, and for the dedication and talent she brought to all of the roles she held at IC. A search to fill the position of executive director of government and community relations will begin soon.
The chief of staff role in the president’s office will now be held by Melissa Daly, who will join the team on November 6. Melissa has a long history in higher education with over a decade within the Rutgers University system. Most recently, Melissa served as senior executive assistant in the chancellor’s office at Rutgers University–Newark, where she was my trusted partner and supported a large executive leadership team. In the role of chief of staff, Melissa will manage the operations of my office and will work very closely with our vice presidents to help organize and focus our strategic work. Melissa has a strong sense of my leadership vision and working style, and it is an enormous advantage to be able to bring, so quickly, someone to the office who knows me deeply. This critical addition to the team will help me be the kind of present, involved, boots-on-the-ground president that I want to be to help us advance our institution.
Minnie Lauzon has been promoted from administrative assistant to assistant to the president. Minnie’s dedication, organizational skills, and professionalism have been invaluable in my first few months at IC, and I am pleased she has accepted this new role. In this capacity, Minnie will be the point person for my office and manage my calendar, coordinate presidential events, and prepare me for the many tasks and responsibilities that comprise my role as president. Minnie will report to the chief of staff.
We are also in the final stages of the hiring process for an administrative assistant, who will be located at the front desk on the third floor of the Peggy Ryan Williams Center. This person will report to Minnie and will help make our office more welcoming and accessible.
Finally, I am pleased to share that Nancy Pringle has agreed to continue her time at IC for two more years, through June 2019. For these final two years before her retirement, Nancy will serve as executive vice president and general counsel and secretary to the Board of Trustees, a reflection of her strong leadership over 23 years of service. Nancy is the most senior leader on our leadership team, and will serve as senior advisor to me during my critical first two years as president while continuing to oversee the Division of Human and Legal Resources. She will also take on the important work of developing a succession plan for her entire division, which oversees critical areas of the college including legal affairs, risk management, and equal opportunity compliance, and provides support to the Board of Trustees.
I know this is a great deal of information, but I wanted to share not only the announcements themselves, but my thinking behind these changes. I want you to know that I am fully committed to making decisions that will both improve the student experience at Ithaca College and allow our leaders to best serve our entire campus community. I will keep our community updated, too, as we determine the best way to fill other administrative positions occupied by interim leaders.
I encourage you to join in conversation with me around any of these changes. Please visit the Connect with Collado page to see opportunities to meet. New events will be added as the academic year progresses.
Thank you all, so much, for your dedication to this institution and to our community.
All my best,
Shirley M. Collado