Three college presidents to speak on 'Changing Face of Higher Education'

imageAs part of the celebration of Women’s History Month, three Central New York college presidents will offer their views on the current state of colleges and universities in “The Changing Face of Higher Education: Challenges and Promises” at 4 p.m. Tuesday, March 22, at SUNY Oswego.

Speaking will be Lisa Marsh Ryerson, president of Wells College in Aurora; Dr. Debbie L. Sydow, president of Onondaga Community College in Syracuse; and Deborah F. Stanley, president of SUNY Oswego. Dr. Susan Coultrap-McQuin, provost and vice president for academic affairs at Oswego, will moderate the session.

The panel discussion, followed by questions and answers from the audience, will take place in the ballroom of Sheldon Hall. It will be free and open to the public. Parking will be available in the lot across Washington Boulevard from Sheldon Hall.

imageRyerson expects to talk about the Central New York Brain Trust, the complex of public and private, two-year and four-year schools in the region, including their positive impact on the economy and culture. She will talk about the need for community partnerships and the importance of providing students with access to quality higher education.

Sydow will address the promise and mission of a community college, which is to provide access to affordable, high-quality education and training that meets the specific educational and economic needs of the community it serves. Despite the challenge of decreased public funding, which jeopardizes student access, she believes this mission remains critical as the Central New York economy continues to evolve.

Stanley plans to discuss the national trend of increasing student engagement in their communities and society at large through such programs as the American Democracy Project and Campus Compact. She will consider how fostering engagement enhances the educational experience of students while stimulating the communities where campuses reside and encouraging collaborative town-gown relationships.

Ryerson has served as president of Wells College since 1995. Her accomplishments include establishing an experiential learning program, refurbishing many campus buildings, increasing student and faculty access to technology and completion of the largest fund-raising effort in the college’s history. She is currently leading Wells’ transition from a women’s college to a coeducational institution, which has resulted in a dramatic increase in student applications.

She was instrumental in establishing the Aurora Foundation, a partnership between Wells and the Pleasant T. Rowland Foundation, which is contributing to economic development in and around Aurora. She chairs the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities of New York State and holds a number of other state and national positions.

imageSydow has served as a community college educator and administrator for nearly 20 years. In her roles as president, vice president, dean, and faculty member at community colleges, she has worked with college stakeholders to ensure curricular quality and program alignment with community need.

Serving as president of Onondaga Community College since 2000, Sydow has guided record enrollment growth, as well as significant increases in grants and gifts, expanded access through distance education and flexible program offerings, and enhanced campus-community relations.

Now in her 10th year leading SUNY Oswego, Stanley has launched academic initiatives that have led to innovative learning programs for first-year students, capstone experiences for seniors, and coveted accreditation for both the School of Business and School of Education. She is a founding board member of the New York State Campus Compact, among other state and national positions.

Under her leadership, Oswego as undergone massive capital improvements and upgrades of campus technological capabilities, externally funded research and programs have doubled, and the college has embarked on its first comprehensive fund-raising campaign.

The March 22 event is sponsored by SUNY Oswego’s Committee on Learning and Teaching, women’s studies program and Women’s Center together with the Oswego chapter of the American Association of University Women.

For more information, call SUNY Oswego’s Office of Public Affairs at 312-2265.

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(Posted: Mar 08, 2005)