Andrea Talentino

Andrea Talentino

Andrea Talentino

Provost, Nazareth College

Years in current role: 4.5

What do you enjoy most about your role?

The best part about my role is helping both faculty and staff at Nazareth realize their goals. I often compare myself to a coach — I need to move the whole institution forward, but I also want to make sure that the individuals can create and innovate to reach their goals as well. It’s not always easy to keep everything going in sync but that challenge is what makes it fun. And when we get it all going together, like we did for the last couple of years, it’s really exciting to be part of.

What has been the biggest challenge you’ve dealt with over the past year?

Transitioning to address COVID was obviously a challenge, but I would say the biggest part of that was not the logistical pieces — it’s not easy to suddenly move everything to virtual, but it’s not impossible. The hardest part was definitely keeping everyone supported and motivated and addressing the anxiety everyone felt. There were so many times when we couldn’t provide answers or tell people what would happen next, and that accumulated as we went on. Trying to plan in a way that made sense and that accounted for all the concerns that people had was definitely the toughest thing we faced.

What do you see as the biggest changes in the higher education industry in the next 3-5 years?

Trying to become more adaptable and student-centered. Institutions always talk about being student-centered but I think the pandemic showed that in a lot of cases that’s just rhetoric. Now, responding to student needs and expectations, which have changed a lot in the last 3-5 years, and introducing nimbleness to the institution are the most important needs. Having the traditional and static approach to education is not going to be successful anymore, so helping faculty and staff expect change and be open to adjusting and perhaps adjusting frequently will be important. The biggest change is what business already knows — expect change!

What community organizations do you support as a volunteer and why?

I’m on the board of the Schottland Family YMCA, and I really value the organization because of its community approach and its commitment to helping all people access its programs. From recreation and summer camp to learning opportunities, the Rochester-area YMCA and Schottland in particular are always working for kids and adults. The Schottland branch is one of the engines for raising money for the entire area system and it’s really meaningful to be part of making that happen. Plus, I have really great colleagues on the board!

What college class that you haven’t taken would you be most interested in taking and why?

I really love wetlands biology, so I think something related to that would be fun. The other thing I really would like to be able to do, and my one regret in my own education, is that I never took a language through to fluency. So taking language classes would be my other choice.