February 1, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 15°F


Student affairs division to undergo organizational changes

Rosanna Ferro, vice president of the Division of Student Affairs and Campus Life, announced organizational changes within the Division of Student Affairs and Campus Life and the creation of an Executive Leadership Team on March 27.

Ferro said in an email that the Executive Leadership Team will work to implement the upcoming changes to the division. In addition, Bonnie Prunty, director of the Offices of Residential Life and Judicial Affairs and assistant dean for first-year experiences, has also taken a new leadership role of Dean of Students, beginning June 1. Sybil Conrad, assistant director of Campus Center and Event Services, is also assuming a new role as the director of the Campus Center. Additionally, Ferro announced the new position of director of religious and spiritual life, which provides the oversight of services and develops new programs in the Muller Chapel.

Ferro said she has taken the past six months to get to understand the campus and student experience through meetings and events. She said the changes in the division are in response to the themes she noticed through these interactions, which are ensuring that Ithaca College is student-centered.

“It has been clear to me that in order for me to move the division towards the common goal of elevating the student experience, we must build on the great work that we have been doing while embracing the need for change,” Ferro said via email.

President Shirley M. Collado announced the creation of the Division of Student Affairs and Campus Life and the appointment of Ferro to head the division on Sept. 21, 2017.

“Last fall, when I announced the creation of the Division of Student Affairs and Campus Life and Dr. Ferro’s appointment to lead this new division, I shared with the community that these decisions were driven by the goal of enhancing the college’s ability to offer an outstanding residential student experience,” Collado said via email. “The changes that Dr. Ferro is making to student affairs and campus life are completely in alignment with that stated goal, and I look forward to seeing how these changes will transform and enhance not only the division and our students’ experiences at Ithaca College, but our entire campus community.”

Ferro announced the members of the Student Affairs and Campus Life Executive Leadership Team who will be working with her to implement the changes in the division. These members are Prunty; Susan Bassett, associate vice president and director of the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics; Doreen Hettich-Atkins, director of strategic planning and administration in the Division of Student Affairs and Campus Life; Bill Kerry, director of the Department of Public Safety and Emergency Management; Roger Richardson, associate provost of diversity, inclusion and engagement in the Division of Student Affairs and Campus Life; and Karen Walls, assistant to the vice president in the Division of Student Affairs and Campus Life. Ferro said the majority of these individuals were chosen because they have been previously involved in leadership roles in the division.

Prunty’s new position as Dean of Students will work on ensuring the college is providing adequate support and resources to students. Conrad’s new role will entail creating a thriving campus hub, Ferro said. Ferro said these positions were filled without searches because they were a result of internal promotions. She said that Prunty and Conrad will take on additional responsibilities in their new positions.

Additionally, the management of the Campus Center is moving to the Division of Student Affairs and Campus Life from the Division of Finance and Administration. Ferro said the division is also conducting a national search for the position of assistant director of the Campus Center, who will be tasked with the responsibility of evening and weekend programming in the Campus Center, including IC After Dark, which is currently located in the Office of Student Engagement and Multicultural Affairs.

Conrad said that she is excited that Campus Center will now be included in Student Affairs and Campus Life.

The heart of our work has always been service to the students and the greater Ithaca College community,” Conrad said via email. “With this change, and the addition of a second full-time staff member, we are well resourced to focus on creative and innovative ideas to better utilize this facility and enhance the student experience.”

Mary Holland-Bavis, assistant director of student leadership and involvement in the Office of Student Engagement and Multicultural Affairs and the current adviser of IC After Dark, said she will be working closely with the new assistant director on programming, but they will take the primary advising role.

“I expect us to be incredibly collaborative and think it provides further opportunities for us to provide awesome and innovative programs on campus, and specifically, in the Campus Center,” Holland-Bavis said.

Senior Matthew Cifarelli, executive chair of IC After Dark, said the organization was not formally told about these changes prior to the announcement in the email, but he anticipates that this change will be positive.

“They’re trying to put more focus on latenight programming, so I think it will be beneficial for After Dark to hopefully put on more events and larger events,” Cifarelli said.

Ferro also said Rory Rothman, associate provost of student life in the Department of Student Affairs and Campus Life, will retire April 13.  

The Office of Student Engagement and Multicultural Affairs will also be divided into three units starting Fall 2018. The Office of Student Leadership and Involvement will focus on leadership development. The Office of Multicultural Affairs and Office of Programs and Outreach will focus on inclusion, diversity, equity and social justice. The Office of the First-Year Experience will focus on transitional phases for first-year students. Ferro said this change was made in an effort to allow for a more specific focus and provide deeper experiences for students in each of these areas.

Ferro said the director of religious and spiritual life position came as a result of leaders of the campus’s faith-based communities working with Richardson to write a proposal to improve the programs in the chapel, which was given to Ferro upon her arrival. One of the suggestions in the proposal was to implement this new position. Ferro said a national search for this position will begin in the coming weeks.

Lastly, Ferro announced there will be an external review of counseling, health and wellness at the college due to concerns of the lack of support of mental and physical well-being for students. Ferro said she wants to address this because she found it was a common concern among members of the campus community. She said the external agency conducting the review has not been finalized yet.

Ferro said the main additional costs for these changes will be due to the creation of the new positions, but the final amount has not been determined yet.

Ferro said she will have more updates in the coming weeks regarding the changes that she will share with the campus community.

“I am excited about all of the changes because they are driven by our goal to ensure every IC student is engaged and have a positive experience during their time here,” Ferro said via email.

Madison Fernandez can be reached at mfernandez1@ithaca.edu or via Twitter: @madfernandez616