our president

for more information

Lisa F. Tedeschi
Chief of Staff and Director of Strategic Planning
(603) 526-3451

president's messages

Focused on Our Strengths and Aspirations

February 2011

After an intense period of community-wide strategic planning, Colby-Sawyer College is focused on our strengths and aspirations. As you know, I have articulated four strategic themes: Engaged Learning, Living Sustainably, Linking to the World and Dynamic Devotion to Excellence. These themes highlight our priorities and deepen our commitment to teaching and learning, as well as to building a stronger, more diverse and inclusive community; creating an environmentally sustainable campus; and connecting in positive and meaningful ways to the world. I'd like to share some recent thematic developments with you.

First, I have exciting news to share about our art center campaign. The college recently reached out to some distinguished architectural firms to gauge their interest in designing a signature building for Colby-Sawyer's new center for the arts. We were particularly impressed with The S/L/A/M/ Collaborative, a firm with headquarters in Glastonbury, Conn., and offices in Boston, Atlanta and Syracuse.

During the February Board of Trustees' meeting, trustees, senior staff and members of the arts faculty met with representatives of the firm to further explore our vision for the new building and its location. The S/L/A/M/ Collaborative has agreed to move forward quickly and will submit a design proposal in time for review at the next Board of Trustees meeting in May.

Engaging our Students in Learning

In and outside the classroom, on and off campus, Colby-Sawyer seeks to engage our students with experiential learning. Last spring, our students took part in the college's new on-campus maple sugaring operation, applying their knowledge and skills in the sciences, arts and business to make, package and market the college's own maple syrup. In a welcome sign of spring, buckets are hanging from the mighty maple trees on the college's front lawn and soon steam will be rising from Sue's Sugar House. The Sugar House, converted from the former well house, was made possible by a generous alumna.

Last fall, the National Institutes of Health announced its $15.4 million grant to fund a five-year biomedical research network involving students and faculty from nine New Hampshire colleges, including Colby-Sawyer. Our students in Biology, Nursing, Environmental Science and Studies, Exercise Science, Psychology and Health Studies —working with Professors Bill Thomas, Nick Baer and Leon-C. Malan—are already conducting research projects, thanks to this extraordinary opportunity.

In the last year, the college has also strengthened our partnership with Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. Our Nursing Program is the center's undergraduate nursing education program. This partnership provides our student nurses with vital professional learning experiences through clinical internships and preceptorships, and in turn, the medical center is able to hire many of our well-trained nursing graduates.

Five of our student nurses recently participated in the Interprofessional Root Cause Analysis competition at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC). Junior nursing students Kara Gulezian, Erica Cornellier, Erika West, Brianna Poulin and Melissa Quinn were members of three-person interprofessional teams, each of which included a student nurse, a medical student at Dartmouth Medical School and a public health graduate student from The Dartmouth Institute.

The teams analyzed a case of medical error and presented their analysis and recommendations to a group of expert evaluators from DHMC and New London Hospital. Kara Gulezian's team was selected as the winner and will travel to Minneapolis in April to represent the Colby-Sawyer/Dartmouth team in a national competition. One of the evaluators, Dr. Gautham Suresh, a neonatologist and patient safety researcher at DHMC, told our Nursing Department Chair Susan Reeves that, “If this exercise were being graded, I would give each team an A+.”

This summer, the college will launch a number of new online and on-campus summer teaching and learning opportunities for our students. These programs, which address our students' interests in pursuing additional course work in the summer, will take the college in exciting new directions.

Academic Dean and Business Management Professor Beth Crockford, who has been instrumental in designing and implementing these programs, will serve as associate academic dean and oversee the programs during the transition of a new academic dean. I am grateful to Beth and to the other faculty and staff members involved in exploring and delivering a Colby-Sawyer education in new ways.

Living Sustainably on Campus and Beyond

Colby-Sawyer has made significant strides toward our long-term goal of becoming an environmentally sustainable campus. Last spring, the college's Board of Trustees approved a Climate Action Plan that calls for college-wide collaboration in such areas as introducing sustainability principles to the academic curriculum; reducing consumption and waste; investing in green practices and products; and lowering energy and water use.

Since late last summer, thanks to a new electricity contract and the purchase of renewable energy certificates, the campus is now powered with renewable energy sources. These steps reduced Colby-Sawyer's carbon emissions by 43 percent and have moved the college closer to its goal of becoming a carbon-neutral campus by 2050.

Last summer, through a gift from a loyal alumna, the college planted a tree nursery and organic garden on campus. The garden, tended by students, provides a lovely outdoor classroom as well as free and fresh vegetables for college community members.

New Ways of Linking to the World

For several years, Colby-Sawyer has worked to make our community more diverse and inclusive. Like our efforts to create an environmentally sustainable campus, this initiative requires long-term, campus-wide commitment and engagement for success.

Last August, Pamela Serota Cote joined us as the college's first associate dean for International and Diversity Programs, and by November, she had coordinated the very first celebration of International Education Week on campus, which featured student and faculty speakers, an international film series, and a raffle that awarded three students with free passports. In February, Pamela worked with students, faculty and staff to organize multiple events in celebration of Black History Month.

Pamela's role, like that of Jennifer White, our sustainability coordinator, involves leading an important cultural shift across campus. In her case, Pamela has been charged with engaging our community in the process of globalizing and diversifying our campus, which means opening ourselves to new people and new ideas, perspectives and experiences. These cultural shifts do not happen quickly, and they require efforts from everyone, whether that means sitting down with a new student in the dining hall, holding lively discussions in the classroom, or participating in a committee, a task force or a new event on campus.

Change is sometimes difficult – it can challenge our personal and professional status quo and may demand new actions or levels of commitment that draw us out of our comfort zones. Yet as members of a college community, we are particularly well positioned to welcome new ideas and perspectives, which are necessary for teaching and learning as well as for growth as individuals and as a community.

Last fall we also welcomed our third group of Progressive Scholars – students from urban environments such as the Boston area, Chicago, the San Francisco area and New York City. Twenty-seven new international students also joined us for the fall term, while two faculty members and 26 first-year students spent the semester in Italy and France for the second year of the Global Beginnings program. In 2011, this program will be reorganized as the Global Explorations program, providing sophomores, juniors and seniors opportunities to study in Heidelberg, Germany and Florence, Italy.

Through this and other new programs and affiliations, the college is offering more opportunities for students to link to the world by studying, working or conducting research off-campus in the U.S. and abroad. The IDEA Fund, an initiative of the Wesson Honors Program to support independent student research, awarded several grants, including one to a student who tested American teaching methods in a Chinese school, and another to a pair of students who explored relations between China, Tibet, Nepal and India.

Last spring, our first group of students lived in the nation's capital for a semester to participate in programs through the Washington Internship Institute. Additionally, three seniors were the first students to take advantage of a new affiliation with the School for Field Studies that enabled them to spend a semester studying, travelling and experiencing the cultures of East Africa last fall.

As promised, change has come to Colby-Sawyer College, and we will continue to evolve as an institution of higher learning. Even as the college strengthens its traditional teaching and learning mission, we are responding to the needs of our current and prospective students and to economic and environmental realities. And while these forces may seem to demand that constant change, they also provide us with undeniable opportunities to identify, build on and hone our enduring areas of strength, and to envision and aspire to once unimaginable growth, progress and success.

As Colby-Sawyer evolves, it is vital that our reputation and identity also grow and change. Recently, we have been engaged in market research, surveying our most important constituent groups — current and prospective students; faculty and staff; parents and alumni; friends and community members — to understand their perceptions of the college's strengths and distinctive qualities. In the process, we learned that for some of our constituents, Colby-Sawyer's reputation lags behind the current reality of who we are today.

In the coming months and years, we will pay close attention to raising the college's profile and conveying with clear and consistent messages who we are and what we do. As many of you know, College Communications has coordinated an effort to create new symbols, narratives and images that capture and reflect the college's true identity, encompassing all our strengths and aspirations. Later this year, we will begin to roll out this new strategic identity campaign across campus and in our communications to re-introduce ourselves and tell the latest chapter in the story of this college and community. This effort is to ensure that Colby-Sawyer College is well known and recognized for its genuine strengths and distinctive character.


Thomas C. Galligan Jr.

President and Professor of Humanities