President Carolyn J. Stefanco
After a twenty-five year career in higher education in Oklahoma, Massachusetts, California, and Georgia, and two shorter-term assignments in England and Croatia, I began my tenure as the 11th president of The College of Saint Rose in July of 2014. I accepted the Board of Trustee’s offer to become the College’s first permanent woman lay president because I believed wholeheartedly in our mission of service to the urban community.
We are in the process of re-founding this institution, retaining our commitment to the mission of our founders, the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Carondelet, and building a future-oriented institution based on four pillars I outlined in my inauguration address in April, 2015:
• Positioning Saint Rose as a center for global connection;
• Expanding the College’s reputation and becoming known as a comprehensive university;
• Boosting support for first-generation college students to ensure their success;
• Creating a culture of innovation in teaching and learning for a 21st century education.
My first pillar of transforming our Albany campus into a center for global connection might seem far-fetched, but listen to what we have achieved in just one year. Agreements with universities in France, Poland, Brazil, and the Czech Republic are enabling students to come here to study, and will support our faculty in teaching in these countries. Most important, we created a new Center for International Programs on Western Avenue. This is both a home for our international students as well as a place for all students discuss global issues and explore study abroad options.
The second pillar of the future Saint Rose is expanding the awareness of the College so that we take our rightful place on the national higher education stage. We want to build on our reputation for graduating the most skilled and dedicated teachers in the state and the nation, but also become even better known for preparing students for medical, law, and graduate school; for careers in music industry, graphic design, public health and health policy; and in business and high-tech fields. Saint Rose is already a comprehensive institution, and we need to become known as one.
As a first generation college student myself, I am passionate about how we need to be much more intentional about the ways we support the success of all students—especially our first generation students. My third pillar, therefore, is embracing the diversity of all students and their families, and providing them with the support required for success. We will focus our efforts on student retention and mentoring as well as raising scholarship dollars so that more students can choose Saint Rose and have the kind of life changing experience that we provide.
My fourth and last pillar is innovation in teaching and learning. The ability to champion change is the hallmark of a 21st century education. In the 20th century, learning was largely about following the rules and being rewarded for doing so. The Saint Rose of the future will be about teaching students the value of risk taking, and of creative thinking. In partnership with the faculty, we have enhanced our portfolio of academic programs with new ones that meet student demand.
With the support of our Board, our alumni and the entire Capital Region community, Saint Rose will continue to transform lives, and will become known as a national and international institution of distinction. I am very pleased to report that our first-year 2016 class is the largest in the College’s history and nearly 900 students participated in Reach Out Saint Rose this year—a College record. I am excited about our future, and I look forward to the role all of our students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends will play in shaping it.