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Ursuline announces appointment of Dr. Kathryn M. LaFontana as new Vice President for Academic Affairs

April 20, 2017

Ursuline College today announced the appointment of Kathryn M. LaFontana, Ph.D., to vice president for academic affairs. Dr. LaFontana comes to Ursuline from The College of New Rochelle (CNR), in New Rochelle, New York, where she has served in academic leadership roles since 2011. She will assume her duties at Ursuline on July 5, 2017.

“We are very pleased to welcome Dr. LaFontana to Ursuline College,” said Sister Christine De Vinne, OSU, Ph.D., president of The College. “Dr. LaFontana brings a breadth of experience in academia, including more than 16 years as a faculty member and well-published researcher in psychology, and more than 15 years as an administrator in roles of increasing responsibility. Her background makes her an ideal fit for our needs at Ursuline.”

Sr. De Vinne said that the College was particularly impressed with LaFontana’s expertise in new program development, data management, innovative instructional technology solutions, and strategic planning aligned with CNR’s mission.

Said LaFontana, “I am delighted to join the Ursuline College community and I look forward to working with everyone as we plan a bright and successful future for the College. Ursuline is such a special place and I am so excited to work with faculty, students, staff, and others to strengthen what is best about the identity and traditions of the institution while simultaneously adapting to the rapidly changing environment of higher education.”

As CNR’s associate vice president for academic affairs for mission, new programs and assessment since 2016, LaFontana has been responsible for responsible for leading efforts to establish new academic programs and refresh and revise existing curricula, implement new data management systems, and manage grant activities. She joined the CNR faculty in 2011 as associate dean of the school of arts and sciences and associate professor of psychology.

CNR was founded in 1904 by Ursuline Sisters as the first Catholic college for women in New York State. Ursuline College was founded by the Ursuline Sisters of Cleveland in 1871 as the first Catholic college for women in Ohio.

Prior to her tenure at CNR, LaFontana served at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut, from 1995 until 2001, rising through academic ranks from assistant professor of psychology to associate dean of Sacred Heart’s College of Arts and Sciences. She earned a doctorate in social psychology from University of Connecticut.

Widely published in academic journals she is the author of more than two dozen peer-reviewed presentations and serves on the Board of Directors for Collegium, an initiative of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, which provides an annual colloquy for faculty from across the U.S. and Canada to discuss the Catholic Intellectual Tradition and their vocation as teachers and scholars.

Last spring, LaFontana was one of 30 administrators in higher education nationwide selected by the Council of Independent Colleges to participate in the 2016–2017 Senior Leadership Academy.

LaFontana replaces Elizabeth Kavran, D.D.S., who has served as interim vice president for academic affairs since 2015. “We are tremendously grateful for Dr. Kavran’s dedicated service to The College in this role,” said Sister De Vinne.

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