We write to you as members of the Faculty Council Executive Committee and while we do not claim to speak for all faculty, our supervision over the general affairs of faculty affords us a privileged perspective on President Shirley Collado’s forthcoming departure from Ithaca College. As the first Dominican American to be named president of a four-year college in the U.S. and only the second female president at Ithaca College, President Collado leaves our institution having championed values of diversity, equity and inclusion. Our administration and our Board of Trustees is more representative of our society thanks to her leadership and our Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) students, faculty and staff have new opportunities to thrive at our primarily white institution.
At the start of her tenure, President Collado was transparent about the college’s finances — issues that she inherited upon her arrival — and she engaged faculty, students and staff in a dynamic process for developing a bold strategic plan so that Ithaca College would thrive “forever.” She brought the BOLD Women’s Leadership Network to Ithaca College and with it, a BOLD Scholar’s program that is now into its fifth cohort. She helped realize our institution’s new physician assistant program that has once again embedded our institution in Downtown Ithaca, better prepared for forging community partnerships and serving the public good. She was an accessible and available leader who brought warmth and collegiality to campus. She will be missed. We wish her much success in her new position at College Track.
The 2020-2021 AY [academic year] was painful and devastating in unprecedented ways. We have been tested in ways we had not anticipated, at a time when it was difficult to come together as a community. We are, undeniably, at a critical juncture for Ithaca College, regardless of whether one supports or doesn’t support the administration. It is no longer sufficient to criticize a course of action. We must, in good faith, take actions to heal our community from the exhaustion and isolation we have faced. We must lift one another up and embrace our differences. Faculty, in particular, are in a position to lead by example by fostering generosity and collegiality and, perhaps most critically, increasing our awareness of and responsibility for the reputation of our college.
We are grateful that Provost and Executive Vice President La Jerne Terry Cornish will be stepping into the role of interim president. The Faculty Council has worked closely with Provost Cornish for the past few years and we are excited at the prospect of our continued collaboration. We are confident in the Board of Trustees to advance candidates for a future presidential search. The Faculty Council looks forward to participating in the presidential search and to the opportunity, in reflection, that such a process will engender.
Chris McNamara, Chair
Raul Palma, Secretary
Dave Gondek, Faculty Council Representative to APC
Laura Kuo, Member-at-large
Susan Salahshor, Member-at-large