Provost Conway-Turner to be the new president of Buffalo State

Provost Kate Conway-Turner announced in this letter to faculty and staff that she will taking on the role of president at Buffalo State College and leaving Hood College in late July. She has served as provost and vice president of Academic Affairs at Hood since July of 2010.

Dear Faculty, Academic Staff, and the Hood Community,

I have been recommended as the next President of Buffalo State College and the appointment will be finalized by the Regents in mid-June.  As I move toward this exciting opportunity, I do so with a measure of sadness as I plan, in late July, to leave my dear Hood community.

However, I cannot resist stating the obvious; the last four years have been awesome.  During my four year tenure, we have together made significant strides that will advance Hood for many years in the future.  At the risk of missing some of the wonderful advances we have completed together, I want to mention just a few.

We saw the need and implemented first year programming to provide a superior transition for our new undergraduate students.  Our First Year Read (FYR) program has enlarged the boundaries of our students and exposed them to internationally recognized authors.  Our first year seminars have provided exciting and rigorous courses that have been well received and have increased the first to second year retention rate of new students.  We have worked across divisions to develop Living Learning communities that have successfully modeled learning outside of the classroom.  I am thankful for all of you who had a part in recommending books for the FYR, developing and teaching first year seminars and leading living learning communities, and I am grateful to all who engaged in leadership roles to support, assess, and promote these special programs.

New academic centers, academic programs, and academic support programs all have sprouted and are now a part of our normal work.  I believe the Center for Teaching and Learning will ultimately make a significant and positive impact on all of our work.

After many energized discussions, the faculty has advanced curricular offerings for our students at every level.  In response to the needs of students today, we have added new majors, minors, concentrations, and certificates to our undergraduate and graduate programs at a rate never before seen at Hood College, revised and implemented modifications to the core curriculum, and made significant and important modifications to existing programs including expanding graduate education into West Virginia.

Our connections regionally and internationally have increased during this same period.  We now have available, for our students, new internship opportunities, new study abroad locations, and international service learning sites.  Just this month our first student landed in Costa Rica for a six month internship in Tambor Bay. In so many ways, we have enlarged the world of opportunities for students to learn, lead, and grow beyond the classroom.

Research has continued to flourish and we have supported the largest number of summer research projects for faculty and students in Hood’s history. In addition, a gift by another donor now supports faculty involved in international scholarly events.

This period has also allowed us to be more efficient in our support offices.  We have streamlined our processes; developed new policies based on best practices, and implemented new technologies that will support our work (such as Smart Catalog IQ, Smart Evals, iPads technology, expanded Chalk and Wire, and much more).  Although we still have more to do, the division of academic affairs is more efficient and more focused than any other time in our history.

It is clear that the many advances we have made together in the last four years are too numerous to put in this one note.  However, I feel it is important for you all to know that as I transition to another opportunity, I am aware of the greatness that lies within Hood College.  The Hood faculty are dedicated and brilliant, the Hood staff are without question committed, hardworking, and collaborative, and the administration team is forward thinking and extremely knowledgeable. The Hood community continues to work together to support our students.

So, as I begin my transition, I do so with the knowledge that I am taking with me wonderful memories, a sense of great accomplishment by us all, and a realization that Hood is a very special place. The programming to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the civil rights legislation will be a memory that I will never forget and although I was only here for one semester of our year long program, I know next semester will continue to provide programming that will elevate Hood’s commitment and standing as an institution that is at the forefront of exploring the civil rights of the past and supporting justice for now and the future.

Please know that although in a few months I will not be with you physically, I will always have a special place in my heart for my friends and colleagues at Hood College.

All the best and cheers,