Congratulations on your appointment as the fourth president of Quinebaug Valley Community College. What was your reaction when you were offered the position by the Board of Regents?
Sheer exhilaration! I cannot begin to tell you how excited I was to receive the offer.
After visiting the college in May, what were your impressions of QVCC and why did this opportunity appeal to you?
From the moment I arrived on campus, I could sense that QVCC is a special place. The students, faculty, and staff exude a palpable passion for the College, and I knew that I wanted to be a member of this community.
What are you looking forward to the most in terms of coming to QVCC?
Saying farewell to Chicago’s three seasons: almost winter, winter, still winter! Seriously, I am looking forward to helping students succeed – whether they are seeking a degree or a certificate – and identifying new learning opportunities for the residents of Northeast Connecticut. I also am eager to partner with the Foundation to build on its momentum of transforming lives.
You have a varied background that includes teaching, marketing and communications, fundraising, and consulting. How will your strengths in these areas benefit QVCC?
As a former faculty member, I have acquired a deep understanding of engaging students, employing effective teaching methods, and assessing learning outcomes. My advancement background enables me to tell the QVCC story to diverse constituencies –helping them understand the power of community college education.
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing community colleges today?
A number of challenges face community colleges today including declining enrollments, underprepared students, and exploding technological advances. Of chief concern, however, is uncertain funding and the need to secure new sources of revenue.
How is Oakton Community College, where you have worked for 13 years, similar to QVCC? How is it different?
Oakton and QVCC share the ethos of preparing students for meaningful lives in the 21 st century. Both colleges have first-rate faculty and staff who deeply care about the institution and fostering student success. Oakton and QVCC also have robust Foundations with Directors who work tirelessly on behalf of students, and both colleges have a second campus with different needs and challenges.
With respect to differences, Oakton’s campuses sit in an urban environment and enroll more ethnically diverse students. (At last count, students speak 55 languages!) Oakton’s male/female ratio is 48/52.
You are originally from Ohio, but you’ve lived on Long Island and outside Chicago. Are you looking forward to the slower pace of life in rural northeast Connecticut?
I am looking forward to being back in New England. And, as the new President, I doubt if the pace of life will be slower!
It’s important for the college president to become a presence in the community. Any thoughts about how you plan to get involved?
During my tenure at Oakton, I attended Chambers of Commerce and Rotary meetings; served on a number of community and philanthropic boards; maintained relationships with business, civic, and political leaders; and met regularly with high school superintendents, principals, and guidance counselors. I will continue that kind of involvement. My husband Michael and I also are active volunteers at our church and other organizations such as Feed My Starving Children.
Tell me about your family.
Michael is an architect, fine artist, photographer, and videographer. We have been married for 40 years and have a spirited, rescued Airedale Terrier named River. My mother, a retired accountant, lives in Ohio and is looking forward to visiting us in our new home.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
My day begins with a two-mile walk that enables me to do my most creative thinking. I enjoy playing the piano, reading, studying Spanish, practicing yoga, and kayaking. I also look forward to experiencing the Connecticut landscape on my bicycle.
When will you be relocating?
As you know, I will be on campus beginning July 1, and we are currently exploring real estate options in the area.
What is the last book you read?
I just finished The Piano Shop on the Left Bank by Thad Carhart, a must-read for anyone who loves the piano and/or Paris. I also recently read What Excellent Community Colleges Do by Joshua Wyner.
What would people be surprised to know about you?
I am a private pilot, so it goes without saying that flying should be included in the answer to question 10!
Any final comments?
Heartfelt thanks to the students, faculty, and staff who reached out to make me feel so welcome. I am looking forward to collaborating with everyone in the QVCC community!