The Presidential Search committee brought Dr. Angela Durante to Cabrini College on Wednesday, Jan. 29, and Thursday Jan. 30. During her visit she spoke to students, faculty and staff in multiple town-hall-style meetings. Durante is currently a professor of sociology and education at St. Xavier University in Chicago, Ill. She was previously provost until last July and served as Interim President from 2009-2010.
The main idea that Durante presented was the importance of liberal learning and a liberal arts education, stating that “liberal learning is the language of the workplace” and that it powers the workplace and economy. According to a study done by the American Association of Colleges and Universities, four out of five employers said that their employees should have a broad knowledge in the liberal arts and sciences. Durante cited that by 2018, 40 percent of all jobs in the United States will require a post-secondary degree and that by 2025, 24 million degrees will be desired. These degrees are needed in the long range plan for the United States to retain a competitive edge in the global market.
With a liberal arts education, there are skills that are gained in addition to the knowledge from the academic major. Durante also spoke about how a strong core curriculum is a critical piece of what will bring an institution forward and a key element of education. When speaking about the opportunities that are available, or could be available at Cabrini she noted that the “career focus still has to be there, we still have to attend to those students, especially those first generation students, who see this opportunity for an education to really be transformative in their lives.” There are opportunities for new programs, but they have to be market responsive and should build on the strengths already present in the institution. In order to do this, “we look internally and see where we are strong and where do we have expertise and how can we take that forward.”
Durante also spoke about the importance of technology, partnerships and programs during this time. In order to move the college forward, technology should be incorporated into traditional programs. This could include having courses that meet fewer times but have part of the course done online. But this incorporation needs to work with the college to increase and sustain enrollment and retention. “Without the visibility, without being able to contend with the competition, without being able to stabilize enrollment, it’s very hard to plan the big idea of the innovations.”
Durante is confident of what she is capable of doing and implementing at this institution. “I think I know this institution,” Durante said. “I think I understand how it got here, how it is, what it has to offer and where it might go. I say that based on my work in similar institutions where I have very much been involved in moving those institutions forward, growing them, developing them, having an impact on their communities and region. I think Cabrini speaks to me in all of this and certainly in the mission.”