It is with mixed feelings that I announce that Margaret C. McCarthy, PhD, vice president for academic affairs, has decided to step down from her administrative position and return to the faculty.
Since assuming the role in 2015, Peg has been at the forefront of difficult, but transformational decisions affecting the college’s direction. She was instrumental in Canisius’ successful Middle States reaccreditation and in completing several cycles of academic program review. Curricular and program revitalization has been a top priority for her. Under her direction, the college initiated nearly a dozen new academic programs, established several new 4+1 programs, and is moving forward with the development of programs in cybersecurity and physician assistant. She also worked with faculty on the difficult task of suspending, discontinuing or restructuring low-enrolled programs and led the faculty during a difficult period of transition as we faced strains on enrollment and budgets.
Peg also worked closely with Student Affairs and Enrollment Management to make our new service centers – the Griff Center for Academic Engagement and the Student Records and Financial Services Center – effective vehicles for improving retention and the student experience. She undertook efforts to bring an essential spotlight on issues of diversity and inclusion and established the first office dedicated to this work.
The affinity groups she fostered have resulted in numerous new initiatives including the IMPACT Center and the Institute for Global Engagement. The annual Grant Writing Workshop has given faculty access to resources to expand grantsmanship, and the first Writing Retreat open to all faculty will take place this week.
There is never a perfect time for a transition, but Peg informed me recently of her desire to step down from her role and return to the faculty. Even under the best of circumstances, the job of the Vice President for Academic Affairs is extraordinarily demanding, but she has done a truly remarkable job in a resource-challenged environment. There are few who have worked harder or with more commitment to Canisius than Peg, and she has always faced the challenges and opportunities of her role with optimism, fairness, humility, and above all, great compassion for the colleagues and students she serves. For that, we should all be in her debt.
Effective July 1, Peg will return to the faculty and will also remain available to work with me on special projects in the year ahead.
I have decided to appoint Sara Morris, PhD, associate vice president of academic affairs, as the interim vice president. Dr. Morris has done an exceptional job in her administrative role. Among her accomplishments, she has led the college onto critical new platforms, such as Courseleaf and Degree Works, championed the development of the Physician Assistant Program, and has been a leading voice in enhancing the college’s appreciation and expression of Canisius’ Jesuit mission and identity through the Canisius Colleagues Program. She will be working with Peg on the transition over the next several weeks and I ask that we all be patient during the transition process. She will announce a process for selecting an interim associate vice president for academic affairs.
Please join me in expressing our thanks to Peg and our best wishes to Sara.
Submitted by: John J. Hurley, President, Canisius College