Provost and Vice President, Academic Services, Monroe Community College
Years in current role: 6
What do you enjoy most about your role?
As provost, I enjoy the many ways we celebrate the success of thousands of MCC students throughout the year, and especially when we all come together with families and friends at Commencement. I also especially enjoy working with our dedicated and knowledgeable faculty to develop new, relevant courses and programs of study. I believe community colleges are social justice institutions that can make the transformative power of education accessible to aspiring students. It is an honor and privilege to be a part of a team that is committed to supporting student success in our decisions, priorities, and actions.
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve dealt with over the past year?
My doctorate in microbiology/immunology provided me with a unique background to help lead MCC during the COVID pandemic. While the pandemic presented unprecedented challenges, it also revealed the resiliency and commitment to innovation by MCC’s faculty, staff, and students. After moving instruction and services to remote formats, MCC is gradually and safely transitioning back to a more in-person campus. While many students were eager to come to campus, there were also a significant number of students who needed or wanted remote or online options. We responded with a course schedule to serve students when and where they wanted to learn.
What do you see as the biggest changes in the higher education industry in the next 3-5 years?
There is a need to change the funding model for community colleges so that we don’t risk the availability of affordable access to higher education, most especially to historically underserved populations. In addition, higher education needs to continue to make critical changes in how it is addressing diversity, equity, and inclusion. There must be a focus not only from the lens of ensuring that students are exposed to an expanded range of representation in content and perspectives, but also that the access to and outcomes of our educational systems are equitable.
What community organizations do you support as a volunteer and why?
I sit on several community boards that help connect MCC to needs in the Rochester community. In addition, I have been involved in the Philanthropic Educational Organization (P.E.O.) for more than 30 years at the local, state, and international levels. P.E.O.’s mission of promoting higher educational opportunities for women has helped women pursue their educational goals by providing over $383 million in grants, scholarships, awards and loans. Multiple studies have shown that investing in educating girls and women transforms communities, countries and the world, and I am proud to do my part in lifting up these opportunities for higher education.
What college class that you haven’t taken would you be most interested in taking and why?
I was fortunate to have attended an undergraduate institution with a rich offering of the liberal arts to complement the sciences and mathematics courses I was taking in my major. Although I took additional courses in subjects like literature, history, foreign language, and music, I wish I had taken an art class to help me to more fully appreciate the great artwork that is available in our community and beyond. MCC offers a number of great art courses, so it’s never too late!