Dr. Kara Kolomitz, the current Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Regis College in Weston, Mass. visited Canisius on Wednesday for the third and final finalist forum for the school’s president.
Kolomitz started at Regis College nearly 20 years ago in student life and has progressed up through the system to her current role. She has been an advocate for student voices throughout her career and as a part of that, headed the college’s COVID-19 response in 2020.
Her vision for the school incorporates many themes, but in essence is “to preserve and advance the distinctive, transformative, Catholic educational experience for current and future generations of students,” she wrote in her presentation during her forum on Wednesday.
She wishes to be transparent with her leadership, something that she stressed throughout her presentation. An example of that is her COVID response and making clear her plan for everybody. She also wishes to gain the trust of the community right off the bat through things such as campus engagement, external advocacy, service to society and her own leadership as a whole. She also wants to increase diversity on campus, something that Regis has won awards for in the past, earning the First-Gen Forward Campus Award for 2021-22 and two straight years with a Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award in 2020 and 2021. She noted that there is “still an issue of white privilege on college campuses.”
As for student advocacy, she wants everyone within the campus community to be supporting the work that is going on in the classroom. Her background is in student affairs, but also wants to make sure that faculty always has a seat at the table when it comes to campus issues.
This includes improving campus morale coming out of the pandemic.
“Effective college presidents have an inherent sense and pulse of a campus… when a campus is hurting, a president is hurting,” she said during her forum.
She said that another goal of hers is to find a way to halt the fall of enrollment at Canisius. Regis has tripled its graduate enrollment in the past four years, so she would look to have it be the job of everyone on campus to attempt to increase enrollment. Regis has an undergraduate enrollment of 1,352 according to usnews.com, but a total enrollment of over 3,400 according to the college’s website.
“Enrollment is a holistic job. It’s one of the reasons that small institutes have become smaller,” she said.
With her reveal, the finalists for the president job are two females and one black male. Canisius has never had a female president nor a black president in the school’s 151-year history.