Ithaca College President Shirley M. Collado has announced the creation of the Division of Student Affairs and Campus Life, distinct from the Division of Academic Affairs and outside the Office of the Provost, and the appointment of Rosanna Ferro to lead the division. This change will be effective on Monday, October 30. Ferro will be on campus on Tuesday, October 3, to meet with members of the college community.
“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,” President Collado said. “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.”
Ferro comes to Ithaca College from Williams College, where she holds the title of associate dean of the college. Williams, consistently ranked as one of the nation’s top liberal arts colleges, was recently named by U.S. News and World Report as the number-one liberal arts college in the nation. Prior to joining Williams in 2013, Ferro held various positions at Rutgers University–New Brunswick, including leading the Office of Multicultural Engagement and serving as assistant director of learning communities.
“Ferro is an extraordinary person and leader,” said Sarah Bolton, president of Wooster College. Bolton worked with Ferro at Williams, when Bolton was dean of the college. “She is passionate about the thriving of every student and brings to her work both a deep interest in the experiences of individual students and broad expertise in best practices for supporting them. She is tireless in her pursuit of an equitable and excellent college experience for all students, and she will be a wonderful and inspiring vice president for the Ithaca College community.”
At Rutgers and at Williams, Ferro launched and developed widely successful programs in the areas of student success; student retention; diversity, equity, and inclusion; and the first-generation college experience. Throughout her career, she has received numerous awards and recognitions including the Access and Inclusion Award from the New England College Personnel Association; the John Hernandez Leadership Award from the American College Personnel Association; and the Human Dignity Award from the Committee to Advance Our Common Purposes from Rutgers University.
Ferro holds a doctorate in education with a concentration in education, culture, and society; a master of social work with a concentration in administration, policy, and planning; and a bachelor’s degree in sociology, all from Rutgers University–New Brunswick.
“I am honored to be joining the Ithaca College community and the incredible team in student affairs and campus life,” said Ferro. “To join any college at a time of new beginnings and fresh energy is a rare opportunity, and to get to work with a student body as engaged and dynamic as Ithaca College’s is even rarer. I’ve been deeply impressed with how sincere everyone at IC is about the importance of the full student experience inside and outside the classroom, and I feel a strong connection to the college’s commitment to improve the experience of students from every background.”
Ferro and her husband, Dr. Marty Ferro, are looking forward to their move to the Ithaca area next month. Dr. Ferro, a surgically trained podiatrist, works as a medical science liaison for Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals.
Creating an Independent Division of Student Affairs and
President Collado said the establishment of the Division of Student Affairs and Campus Life will position the college well to enhance its ability to offer an outstanding residential student experience as well as a challenging curriculum taught by an innovative and engaged faculty.
She emphasized the collaborative process that led to the changes, citing the many groups she’d had discussions with during the decision-making process. Among them were the directors of programs within student affairs; leadership of the student, faculty, and staff councils; individual students, faculty, and staff; and deans, vice presidents, and other administrators.
“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,” President Collado said. “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 of these areas.”
At IC and nationwide, the demand for counseling and support among students is increasing sharply. To meet that need and be truly student-centered, the addition of one case manager in student life and two counselors in the Center for Counseling and Psychological Services has also been approved. These positions will be posted and filled as soon as possible.
President Collado said a tighter focus in academic affairs will enable that division to do “the deep work of partnering with deans and faculty to develop and refine the college’s curriculum and academic strategy, and create pathways for increased faculty support and success.”
President Collado also thanked Provost Linda Petrosino, who will serve in the current role until the end of this academic year, for her support and counsel during the process and for her service to the college.
“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,” President Collado said. “She has always put the college first, and I am deeply grateful for all that she has done for the IC community.”
A search will be conducted to fill the position after Petrosino steps down. President Collado emphasized that she is continuing discussions with faculty, students, staff, deans, and vice presidents to collaboratively define the portfolio for the next provost and vice president for academic affairs.