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Highlights of a busy year: 2017 brought new programs, partnerships, focus on leadership

December 22, 2017

Urusline College launched new academic programs, new faculty appointments, a forward-thinking strategic plan, and much more during 2017. Below are the highlights with links for details. Happy reading and happy new year.

Leadership Matters

In September, the Ursuline College Board of Trustees voted unanimously to approve Leading a Legacy: The Ursuline College Strategic Plan, 2017-2020.  President Sister Christine De Vinne, OSU, PhD thanked the board for embracing the plan, which reaffirms Ursuline’s identity as a women-focused college and calls for re-invigorating efforts to promote women’s leadership.

Speaking of leadership, Kathryn M. LaFontana, Ph.D., was appointed vice president for academic affairs and assumed office in July.   Dr. LaFontana came to Ursuline from The College of New Rochelle in New York. 

Four community leaders joined Ursuline’s Board of Trustees at the end of 2017. They are: accounting firm partner Lori Kalic, health system president Cynthia Ann Moore-Hardy, insurance company president Eddie Taylor, Jr., and canon lawyer Father Gary D. Yanus.

Ursuline appointed its first two faculty diversity fellows in 2017, thanks to a generous grant from the KeyBank Foundation. Kristie M. Williams, who recently completed a Ph.D. in counselor education and supervision at the University of Akron, and Lisa R. Brown, who recently completed a Ph.D. in adult education, learning, and organization development at University of Georgia, each joined the faculty for two overlapping semesters.

Suzanna Schroeder-Green was promoted to director of Ursuline’s Ralph M. Besse Library, succeeding Betsey Belkin, who retired last spring after 37 years at Ursuline. 

Leadership will be celebrated again when the College bestows its new Women Who Light the Way award on author and political commentator Cokie Roberts on Tuesday, March 6 at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. The evening will feature the award presentation, on-stage interview with Ms. Roberts, cocktail hour, hearty appetizers, luscious desserts and an opportunity to explore the Rock Hall after our program. Proceeds will support scholarships for students who will light the way in the future.

Partnerships Open Doors

Ursuline leaders last summer signed partnership agreements with Duquesne University School of Pharmacy  and The Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law for students’ direct admission into these graduate programs after three years of successful study at Ursuline. “We are delighted to be able to offer students these opportunities to begin their college career with us, in a women-focused, supportive environment, and then move into these rigorous, graduate programs well prepared to succeed,” Sister Christine said. 

The Breen School of Nursing added new partnerships with Lakeland Community College  and Ashtabula County Technical and Career Campus (A-Tech). Both programs are designed to open doors of opportunity for students and help meet Northeast Ohio’s demand for nurses with the bachelor of science in nursing (BSN).

Academic Milestones

Ursuline’s new, 40-credit core curriculum rolled out in August and includes seminars rooted in the teachings of St. Angela Merici, the 15th century saint who founded the Ursuline order. With 31 credits in the arts and sciences, the new core curriculum demonstrates “a commitment to teaching in the Catholic intellectual tradition that is lifelong, interdisciplinary, inclusive, collaborative, socially responsible, and spiritual in nature.” 

In response to the significant and growing need for skilled and compassionate mental health care providers, the Breen School initiated a post-master’s degree Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) program which prepares students to take the board certification examination for PMHNP.  

And thanks to a $147,734 grant from the Cleveland Foundation, the Breen School also introduced a new pre-nursing program aimed at students who want to pursue nursing but require additional instruction and coaching to prepare for the rigors of nursing school. 

Through its Fenn Educational Fund, the Cleveland Foundation also supported First Year to Career,  a program that helps motivated first-year students prepare for life after college with workshops, site visits and “micro-internships.” 

Ursuline’s graduate program in Counseling and Art Therapy is now accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), in recognition of the fact that the program has met rigorous, national standards for quality.

Art & Culture

Thanks to a generous grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, Ursuline presented a series of public cultural events celebrating the 2016-2017 academic year as the 50th on the Pepper Pike campus. One highlight was Letters from Anne and Martin, staged by professional actors from The Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect.

Another high point in the CAC-funded series was Designing Ursuline, which opened in March 2017. The exhibition explored the architecture of the College’s five historic locations through photographs, maps and architectural plans and featured samples from the College’s Historic Costume Study Collection and artifacts including dance cards, nurse uniforms and class rings.   

To close out 2017, the CAC grant funded Glitz & Glam: Highlights of the Ursuline College Historic Costume Study Collection

Visiting speakers at Ursuline in 2017 ranged from novelist, poet, critic, human rights advocate Marjorie Agosin, who spoke at Ursuline in April, to Olympic medalist and inspirational speaker Nia Ali
Athletics achievements

Last May, senior Janelle Perry put an exclamation mark on another historic year in Ursuline athletics by capturing the school’s first-ever National Championship in the 100m hurdles in track and field. Perry added the national title to her already impressive resume that included four All-American honors between indoor and outdoor season over the last calendar year. She was once again named the Great Midwest Field Athlete of the Year for the second time in her career. 

Ursuline's basketball team won the Great Midwest Athletic Conference regular season championship and advanced to the NCAA tournament. Senior Laney Lewis was named to the G-MAC Player of the Year for the second time while the Arrows finished 14-1 in the league. 

The lacrosse team hosted the G-MAC tournament after winning the regular season title and made it to the championship game for the second year in a row. The Arrows lost a thriller to Alderson Broaddus in a rain-soaked championship game but senior Cydney Bartlett won her second-straight Player of the Year award while junior Emma Barnes won the Defensive Player of the Year. 

The 2016-17 athletic year helped build on an already established pattern of success both in the world of athletics and in the classroom for our student-athletes. Over 40 athletes were selected to the Great Midwest All-Academic team and the department had a 3.4 GPA for the year. 

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