Below are selected achievements in Shirley Collado’s career as a clinical psychologist, faculty member, not-for-profit manager, and higher education administrator.
As executive vice chancellor and chief operating officer at RU-N since January 2015, Collado was a core member of the chancellor’s executive team. In that capacity, she designed and led the implementation of an inclusive and cohort-based living and learning community for honors students at RU-N. This community will include a state-of-the-art facility to house upward of 500 students and includes dining, recreational, and academic space. That building is slated for completion in 2018. The honors living-learning community offers students, many of whom may be overlooked by traditional honors programs, an innovative curriculum centered on themes of “local citizenship in a global world” and is a community that recognizes, honors, and develops the potential that is evident in the wide array of talents, skills, and sense of self that its members possess.
Collado also strove to transform the model of student affairs to make RU-N a national leader in providing a student life experience rooted in the strengths inherent in a truly diverse, urban, public anchor institution.
In addition, she oversaw development strategy and secured gifts and funding for targeted areas of the RU-N strategic plan through engagement with internal and external stakeholders. She also co-chaired the Chancellor’s Commission on Diversity and Transformation as it brought together faculty, students, and staff from across the institution to chart the best ways to leverage RU-N’s considerable institutional diversity.
BOLD Women’s Leadership Network
Collado founded BOLD in 2016 as a college-access and social justice initiative that aims to create greater access to higher education for cohorts of young women and develop a culturally competent and intergenerational network of successful women leaders, change agents, and mentors from all backgrounds. It is a collaboration between California State University–Fullerton, Middlebury College, Rutgers University–Newark, and Smith College.
The network is focused on developing courageous and authentic leadership among young women in higher education—women who possess the skills necessary to move discourse forward on the most challenging social issues. BOLD scholars leverage their own identities, strengths, collective knowledge, and the intergenerational mentor network to create positive social change and foster inclusive campus environments.
Collado has helped develop and lead this multimillion-dollar initiative with help from a $5.4 million grant from Helen Gurley Brown’s Pussycat Foundation.
Creating Connections Consortium (C3)
C3 is a partnership between liberal arts colleges and research universities that is meant to strengthen diversity and innovation through enhanced interactions between faculties. The consortium’s goals are to connect promising underrepresented graduate students (including minorities, first-generation, and low-income) with teaching and scholarly opportunities at liberal arts colleges; to foster an exchange program for underrepresented tenure-track faculty members; to connect underrepresented undergraduate students at liberal arts colleges with graduate opportunities at major research universities; and to build pools of candidates for institutions seeking to diversify their faculty.
C3 also serves as a hub for knowledge and collaboration for partner institutions seeking to improve their capacity to attract and retain women and people of color; to create the institutional conditions enabling these students and faculty to enter, succeed, and thrive; and to create inclusive learning communities.
Liberal arts college members of C3 include Bates College, Connecticut College, Middlebury College, Williams College, and 20 other leading, private liberal arts institutions (all of them members of the Liberal Arts Diversity Officers Organization, or LADO). Research university members include Columbia University, the University of California–Berkeley, the University of Chicago, and the University of Michigan. Collado has served as the co-principal investigator and executive committee chair of C3, which was launched with a $4.7 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Liberal Arts Diversity Officers (LADO)
In 2007 Collado co-founded the national organization of Liberal Arts Diversity Officers (LADO), a national consortium that promotes the advancement of diversity, equity, and inclusion in support of academic excellence at liberal arts colleges. She co-led the consortium until 2014.
Collado occupied several roles at Middlebury. In 2007 she was dean for institutional diversity; from 2007 to 2008, vice president for institutional planning and diversity; and from 2010 to 2015, vice president for student affairs and dean of the college.
During her time at Middlebury, she launched the Center for Education in Action, which united career services, fellowships, and civic engagement under one organizational umbrella. This made key resources more easily accessible to students and greatly expanded on project-based and experiential learning at the college. She also developed the Center for the Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity and helped secure the center’s success by leading faculty work groups in diversity initiatives, faculty development, and curriculum innovation.
Collado also restructured and enhanced the college’s New Student Orientation Program to be more robust. Changes included a new bystander-intervention program, Middlebury Uncensored, which incorporated a series of engaging, heartfelt, and powerful getting-to-know-you conversations among students and mandatory orientation trips for the first-year class.
As vice president for institutional planning and community engagement from 2009 to 2010, one of Collado’s achievements was forging greater connections between the college and the community. This included strengthening the relationships with local municipal officials and offices, community organizations, and local schools.
During her time at Lafayette, she also oversaw a major college initiative in the redesign and honoring of the school’s Kirby Hall for Civil Rights. This undertaking included Collado working closely with trustees and managing very complicated and sensitive debates with internal and external constituencies. The end result of that collaboration was a space that honors the history of the college and respects the cultural pluralism of the modern age.
The Posse Foundation
This national nonprofit organization works to identify, recruit, and train student leaders from public high schools as members of multicultural teams, or posses, of 10 to 12 individuals. These teams then go through an intensive eight-month pre-college program for enrollment at top colleges and universities nationwide to pursue their academic goals and also help promote cross-cultural communication on campuses across the United States.
As executive vice president of the organization from 2001 to 2006, Collado helped oversee and expand the foundation in cities across the United States; helped bring 16 new university partners on board; was an active fundraiser who helped secure monetary contributions from foundations, corporations, and private donors; and played a major role in raising The Posse Foundation’s first endowment fund of $10 million. She also launched The Posse Institute to expand research efforts and share the information the nonprofit was learning about college access and retention.