In Presidential Address, Dr. Mellon Shares Five Overarching Goals for
her Presidency and Carlow’s Future
Pittsburgh, Pa. –
At her inauguration and installation today as the tenth president of Carlow
University, Suzanne K. Mellon, PhD, shared five overarching goals that will
shape her presidency and affect the University’s future.
In introducing these goals, Dr. Mellon hearkened to Carlow’s
founders, the Sisters of Mercy, who established the school in 1929, just a few
short weeks before the stock market crash that ushered in The Great
Depression. “Starting a college for
women 85 years ago was in keeping with a legacy of boldness and risk taking to
address community need.”
Dr. Mellon introduced the goals by providing a brief
description of the process the University undertook to arrive at them.
“As we move forward, we are finalizing a strategic plan for
the University for the next five years,” she said. “It is based on our history and our sense of
deep urgency that this is a call to action for Carlow to lead and serve the
Dr. Mellon described the five goals as having emerged after
months of work by the strategic planning steering committee and broad
discussion with multiple stakeholder focus groups. The goals are:
1. Accelerate Growth – “We will
strategically position ourselves to increase our enrollment across all our
programs, in undergraduate traditional, transfer, adult, and graduate
programs,” she said. “We will do this
through expanding our online footprint regionally and beyond in offering the
programs that the community needs.”
Developing new accelerated baccalaureate to masters programs
for students who desire to complete a graduate degree in a more expedited and
cost-effective manner, a Center for Excellence in the health sciences,
supplying southwestern Pennsylvania industry with workers who have the desired
skill sets are the ways to accomplish this goal.
2. Optimize Learning - “Carlow is transforming and will continue to
transform into a 21st century, high performance learning university that
focuses on how students learn best, rather than perpetuating the previous
century’s teaching-centered model,” she said.
Expanding opportunities for global study, internships,
undergraduate research, and service learning through partnerships with
community organizations are some of the ways of accomplishing this.
“Such service experiences are deeply rooted in our mission,
affording our students a profound opportunity to connect their education with
active participation in society addressing issues of social and economic
3. Pursue Innovation through Partnerships –
In announcing this third goal, Dr. Mellon said Carlow has a strong legacy of
pursuing innovative projects and forward thinking. To expand on this legacy, Dr. Mellon
announced the creation of a new “Institute for Women’s Leadership and Empowerment.”
“There is a strong need to address the social and health
disparities of women and the role that women’s leadership and voice can have
for our community and the world,” she said.
“[This institute] will increase the capacity of women to become skilled
change agents and social entrepreneurs within communities regional to
global. The institute will help empower
women – at all levels – who will use their voices to advocate for
inclusiveness, justice, and democratized decision-making in their lives and in
the lives of others.”
4. Increase Financial Sustainability – While
Dr. Mellon lauded Carlow for excellent financial stewardship in use of its
resources, she acknowledged that the University is not a rich institution with
a large endowment, and that has an effect on the first generation college
students, many of whom lack the resources to afford a college education..
“We plan to significantly increase our fundraising for
scholarship assistance to keep our education affordable,” she said, adding that
recently Carlow has raised more money than at any other period of time in its
history. “However, we cannot rest on our
laurels, and philanthropy will be an increasingly significant part of the
Carlow culture in the future.”
5. Transform our Environment – Dr. Mellon
said this goal includes the physical spaces on campus, as well as the digital
learning environment. The signature component
of this goal will be the University Commons project, a complete renovation of
the five-story building currently known as Grace Library. The project will begin construction this
summer, and will be completed in August, 2015.
When finished, University Commons will feature a 21st century library –
still known as Grace Library – but it will also include innovative
collaborative centers for student learning and academic support.
“At Carlow University, it is our commitment to our students
that will engage with them in Transforming Lives and Transforming our World,”
she said, citing the theme for her presidency.
“We all have the capacity to transform lives, to inspire hope and to
keep dreams alive. Let us never forget
that education – especially at a Catholic university, is about much more than
granting degrees. It’s about moving
dreams forward, ours and those around us, and in the process making our world a
little better than it was yesterday and a little more compassionate than it
would be without us.”
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Carlow University was founded by the Sisters of Mercy
in 1929. Offering both undergraduate and graduate programs, Carlow University
is a comprehensive master's institution dedicated to learner-centered education
at the collegiate levels and at the elementary school level in the Campus
School of Carlow University.