In 2008, Amanda Lippincott began working as a counselor for Ithaca College’s Higher Education Opportunities Program. In fewer than eight years, Lippincott has held several positions at the college and is currently the new assistant to the president. In her four months in the Peggy Ryan Williams Center, Lippincott has worked on developing new and monitoring existing initiatives at the college.
Staff Writer Elena Piech sat down with Lippincott to discuss how she was appointed to her position, her job responsibilities and her involvement in having an administrative role and responding to issues of race on campus.
Elena Piech: Online your biography says you’re a strong believer in a liberal arts education. Why is that so?
Amanda Lippincott: Liberal education, for me, is about making kind of the best version of yourself and the most well–rounded citizen, so that way you can go out there and be global and make the good change that we need in the world. I believe that with my heart — liberal education is so important.
EP: Why did you apply for this position? What responsibilities did you think this job included?
AL: When I applied for this position, I knew … that things were evolving and things would be changing, which is what every person wants to hear about a position. I knew I’d be working with a lot of vice presidents, and the provost, and the associate provost, and the deans, and the schools and the students.
EP: How would you describe the work you’re doing now?
AL: I do a lot of things now. I do project management, troubleshooting, government and community relations work with everywhere from federal to the local government levels. I serve on several different committees that work with the college or at the college, and I do some work with students, but not a lot because this role is really assisting the president and working kind of on project-based things of that nature.
EP: How has it been working with the president these past four months?
AL: I serve on the President’s Council, so I’ve worked closely with and been in the conversations with moving our diversity plans forward.
EP: What is it like to be on the inside when it comes to working and developing these diversity plans?
AL: It’s rewarding because I firmly believe that we are going to be a leader in change in the nation, especially for college campuses. These issues are near and dear to my heart, and I feel like Ithaca is moving forward, and we are trying to do everything we can to build an inclusive environment.
EP: How do you build that inclusive environment?
AL: I think we’re all working on campus climate. I’d like to think that, as a community, we’re all trying to move that forward. Project–wise, specifically, mainly the diversity plan and how we can work to get those initiatives off the ground and get forward there.
EP: Earlier you mentioned setting a national standard. What does that mean? What does getting forward mean?
AL: I don’t know exactly what that means, to be honest. I think that setting the national standard is really going to depend on where the trends go in the nation and where the focus goes in the nation. And given the national media, this is something we really need to be aware of and something we need to work on. Do I have an idea on what it means to be a leader in this area? I’m not sure yet, only because it really is about how we are going to decide to move forward as an institution and how we as a community are going to make those changes.
EP: What do you think of your four months here so far?
AL: It’s been an exciting job to take on only because this is an institution that I love. I’m not an Ithaca grad, and I love it here. I believe in the work that we do here in the institution. I believe in the college. I believe in our students. They are some of the most talented students that I’ve ever encountered. I truly think that this place is what I will call home forever, despite wherever I go. People always ask, “Are you a grad?” And I always say, “No, but I hope someday. I hope someday to very much not just say I’m a Bomber, but to have the degree to back all of that up.”