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Inaugural Week unfolds on Regis campus
Dean Lisa Lynch of the Heller School, Brandeis University, brings inaugural greetings to Regis College and President Antoinette Hays
October 5, 2011
Members of the Regis College community, honorable guests, and President Antoinette Hays -- on the occasion of your investiture, I bring greetings on behalf of the academic community of the Greater Boston and New England area.
I was asked to speak briefly today about some of the key challenges and opportunities that you as the new president of Regis College will face. For almost 85 years Regis has been a significant educator in our region. We all know Regis as a community that pursues knowledge and wisdom for the betterment of society based on Catholic values and it has been blessed with extraordinary leaders who have not shied away from innovation. During your presidency I am certain that Regis College will continue to extend its reach in graduate as well as undergraduate education through the cultivation of new partnerships with different types of institutions and by promoting student-centered, interdisciplinary learning.
However, as new technologies transform how, when, and where people can learn, as our population ages and more people realize that they need to return to school to reinvest in their human capital, and as households struggle to find the financial means to invest in more education, it is time for all of us in higher education to re-imagine learning. We need to do this so that our colleges and universities are more accessible and affordable, so that they utilize the advantages of new technologies in how we deliver education, and so that they promote an environment of life-long learning.
What does this mean more specifically? As we struggle to recover from the greatest contraction of our economy since the Great Depression there is a great deal of discussion about the need for a more educated workforce. Yet the United States is only ranked fifth out of the 36 most industrialized countries in the world in terms of the proportion of 25-60 year olds with a postsecondary degree. A vision of college education that focuses exclusively on a residential based program for young people in their late teens or early twenties misses a growing need and opportunity to make our learning environments more accessible to those across the age spectrum. So in the context of an aging population with a clear need for more education, distance learning has opened up new opportunities for adults who need to return to school but who also face real challenges to balance their work, family obligations, and educational needs.
The good news is that information technology has transformed the way in which we are able to teach and who we can teach. Already in the United States one out of five students in college takes at least one class via distance learning. The introduction of distance learning along with blended learning programs that mix face to face classroom time with online learning, accelerated degree programs, and part time degree programs has opened up the possibility of a college education to those who might not otherwise have been able to afford it in terms of cost and time.
As our classrooms are filled with a broader mix by age and experience of students, we have the opportunity to augment our traditional faculty to student teaching model with a greater role for peer to peer learning. New technologies have also meant that we can open up our classrooms to students around the world. The creation of global classrooms can enhance the educational experience of our students by providing them with an opportunity to interact with their peers around the world even if they are not able to spend a semester or year studying abroad. The global linked classroom can also promote greater exchanges across our faculty and advance the global reach of their research activities. Finally, new technologies mean that even after graduation, students can continue their learning experience from their alma mater with webinars, open access to courseware and so on. All of this can advance the creation of a life long learning community.
But while new modes of teaching such as online learning can open up accessibility to college for more people across the age spectrum, it presents a challenge for what it means to “be” in college. At places like Regis College and Brandeis University where community is such a defining feature of our schools how we balance the ability to use online learning or new ways of organizing the time to degree to expand the scope of the education we provide while still maintaining the sense of community will be difficult. For example, the very technologies that are meant to open up college to more students can also result in students feeling isolated and remote from their peers and increase the probability of dropping out of school.
The major task then for any college or university president is to figure out the How of all this – how to raise the funds to make college more accessible, how to serve the educational needs of an aging population, how to maintain a spirit of community when students and faculty are not always meeting face to face on campus, how to inspire your faculty to re-imagine how they teach and engage in research, and how to work with partnering institutions.
An often quoted piece of advice for college presidents by Clark Kerr, a former President of the University of California system during the turbulent times of the 1960s, is that to succeed as a president you need to have the stomach of a goat and the hide of an alligator. It is a great line but I actually think that his vision of establishing “an outward-expanding institution [of higher education] that touches the lives of all citizens and is far removed from the cloistered community of scholars” is much more compelling advice for a college president today.
Toni while the stomach of a goat may still be a good thing to have as a college President, I think that your success will come much more from the power of your imagination – how you imagine new partnerships with the community around you, how you imagine new ways to engage your faculty, students, staff, alumni, trustees, and donors, and how you imagine Regis advancing its social mission.
In a time when hope and optimism are in short supply, you will know that you have done your job well when people look to Regis and conclude that this is a place where hope lies for the future betterment of society. With your global vision, infectious good humor, faith, strong values, and let’s not forget your Brandeis education, I have no doubt about your capacity to renew, and re-imagine learning at Regis College.
Therefore, on behalf of your alma mater, Brandeis University, and your colleagues in colleges and universities around the world, I extend collegial blessings and sincere wishes for the continued success of Regis College under your wise leadership, guidance, and imagination.
Antoinette M. Hays, PhD, RN
Tenth President of Regis College
October 5, 2011
Thank you, Donna. I accept with joy the responsibility to lead Regis College, and through my service and leadership I will fulfill the confidence that the Board places in me, symbolized by this medallion.
Thank you, Regis Trustees, Faculty, Staff, Students, Alumni, honorary degree recipients, honored guests.
Thank you all for joining me on the occasion of my inauguration as the tenth president of Regis College.
Political wisdom often tries to measure the success of an administration by measuring what happens in the first 100 days. Historians looked at the first 100 days of Franklin Roosevelt and John Kennedy. Recently, pundits have been assessing the first 100 days of Mayor Rahm Emmanuel as he takes on the “daunting challenges” facing Chicago.Mark
I am coming up on day 100 of my presidency, which I assumed on July 1, and I identify with those facing daunting challenges.
We at Regis College are blessed, however, in understanding, as one of our trustees put it several years ago, that transforming an educational institution is a little bit like turning a ship in the open seas. It takes time and patience.
Regis has turned the ship and is moving in the right direction.
I would like to credit publicly my predecessor, Dr. Mary Jane England, and our CFO Thomas Pistorino, for managing the daunting challenges of our budget for ten years, even through this national recession. I would like to thank our trustees, faculty and staff for their collective dedication in setting a course that is good for Regis and for our students.
Now we must all go full steam ahead. Daunting challenges we still have – and they will continue to come, wave after wave. They come with the tectonic changes in higher education today in our competitive region and our competitive economy, and with technological changes setting the pace so that our students, who are shaping us as we shape them, will also be able to help shape the world. When we are overwhelmed with change, with information, with decision-making, let us listen to our students, and they will tell us what they need.
So let me use these few minutes to put our direction in perspective. In virtually every daunting challenge I see creative opportunity. Building on the strengths of Regis – “Building Regis together” -- this administration aims to move forward on all fronts, to take hold of creative opportunities and use them to grow Regis.
Our challenges and our opportunities are revealed in the core strengths that guide our ship and will help us chart our course during my presidency.
First, Regis is student-centered. Regis is a leader in giving educational opportunity to first-generation, minority and immigrant students as well as to the traditional sons and daughters of middle and upper class families, whether at the undergraduate or the graduate level. Regis is a leader in graduate program innovation so that women and men returning to school, re-tooling, or developing a new career have options.
We must hold to this center.
When Regis College was founded by the Sisters of Saint Joseph in 1927, it was a small residential women’s Catholic liberal arts college on a bucolic campus in Weston. Today, the campus is as lovely as ever, but Regis is now a small coeducational university, offering highly sought undergraduate and graduate programs, both academic and professional, to nearly 1800 students. Indeed, we have more graduate students than undergraduates.
We at Regis know that higher education can move people up to be the best they can be, and we do it in a caring, nurturing way. My favorite expression of the values of the Sisters of St. Joseph is “excellence, tempered by gentleness.”Mark
How do we help people be the best they can be? Gently.
Second, Regis is interdisciplinary. Reflecting the interdisciplinary nature of knowledge today, Regis undergraduates often combine two or even three minors with their major in order to capture the synergy among disciplines and put it to maximum usefulness as they strive to enter the marketplace.
Women and men in our graduate programs in nursing, science and health professions arrive at Regis with a liberal arts degree and a career or two already in their sway. They are already problem-solving across the disciplines.
Encouraging new dimensions of teamwork, transcending the methods and language of specific disciplines, leaping the boundaries that have limited people from adequately addressing problems that do not themselves recognize disciplinary boundaries -- all of this is crucial as our graduates approach a job market in which in Massachusetts labor statistics record more people than ever before who are underemployed. According to a Northeastern University study, this number has grown fourfold since 2000. These people are working part-time because they were not able to find full-time work. Their skills exceed their part-time positions, and their salaries fall short of their skills. In the first eight months of 2011, the number of so-called underemployed workers in the Bay State surged 18 per cent.Mark
Clearly, the flexibility of thought provided by informed liberal arts education is more than ever necessary so our students may have the intellectual reasoning, practical skills and creative insights to compete successfully in such a marketplace. Liberal arts are inherently interdisciplinary – cross walking the ways of knowing, the pathways of achievement – and designed to make nimble critical thinkers.
At Regis today, we want to move this tradition to an even higher level.
This leads to my third essential strength of Regis. You may ask, how does the interdisciplinary nature of liberal arts play on the larger stage of the competitive higher education environment? The answer is “Partnerships, partnerships, partnerships.” Regis is resolutely committed to partnerships. Partnerships are the wave of the future. Indeed, they are the tide on which Regis is already sailing.
Because of the rapid expansion and multiplication of knowledge – biotechnology, biochemistry, cultural anthropology, public health -
even the most eminent and comprehensive colleges and universities can no longer offer everything to everybody. Our world is changing, and its daunting challenges must become our creative opportunities together. Internally and externally, we can share our strengths, and colleges and universities are already reaching out and working together.
Regis has forged a variety of important partnerships with schools, colleges, universities and industries – working with AP students and secondary schools to encourage science and mathematics; working on specialized graduate reading programs; partnering with hospitals and biotech companies as well as other colleges and universities, especially in social work and nursing; and partnering with the non-profit world in language learning. We are excellent and innovative partners, and we must keep moving in this direction.
Finally, Regis College is committed to extending our local, regional and national impact to global arenas.
In reality, we are already there through our work with the Haitian Ministry of Health for the education of nursing faculty, through our community service trips to Villa El Salvador in Peru, through graduate education experiences in Grenada, our LMH-Regis College Collaborative nursing school in Egypt, and so on.
Our students are already multiethnic, multicultural, and global, and this extension into an international arena is today on this small planet a direct application of values received from our founders – to ask our neighbors what their needs are and to respond accordingly to “the dear neighbor.”
We live in daunting times when, at home, nearly 46 million Americans dropped beneath the poverty level in 2010, largely due to unemployment and a sluggish economy.
But we are educators, and education has always been about creating opportunities, opening doors, finding new paths to improve the human condition.
Last winter when I was considering applying for the job of Regis College president, I reflected long and hard on my dreams for this beloved institution, with which I have been affiliated for over a quarter of a century. In July, when I actually assumed the position, I noticed that the walls of its outer office were decorated with nineteenth and early twentieth century paintings of ships at sea, many of them battling storms. I asked that most of those paintings be moved and replaced with those of a bouquet of flowers, a peaceful bay under a tranquil mountain, and a portrait of families on a pier getting ready to embark on a brave voyage and a ready ship.
I have been privileged to help bring Regis to its current course. This ship has a direction, and we are taking it forward on a beneficial wind. We will not founder, however high the waves or violent the gale!
Regis is moving forward on my passion and on the energy of this community. The creative opportunities that motivate us are already embedded in our history and our practice. Regis College is:
Let us pursue this course together. Join me on a voyage of discovery and growth. For the benefit of our students, our community, our Commonwealth, and our global neighbors.
October 5, 2011
His Eminence, Seán P. Cardinal O’Malley, OFM Cap., Archbishop of Boston, celebrated a Mass of Thanksgiving for Regis and President Hays on October 5. In the rear ground of one of the pictures is Monsignor Paul Garrity, who concelebrated. Msgr. Garrity is a member of the Regis College Board of Trustees. President Hays delivered a post-communion reflection at the Mass, and after Mass she and Cardinal Seán posed for a photo in the Carney Gallery.
October 4, 2011
The Regis community and our guests enjoyed a special evening on October 4 when the José Mateo Ballet Theatre performed in the Casey Theater of our Fine Arts Center after the gathering of the President’s Circle and President’s Associates. A personal friend of President Hays and her family – her daughter was a professional ballerina—Mr. Mateo himself introduced the performance. A champagne reception followed in the Atrium.
October 4, 2011
The evening before her inauguration as Regis College president, Dr. Antoinette Hays enjoyed greeting trustees, friends, and donors to the College at a very special gathering of the President’s Circle and President’s Associates.
October 3, 2011
After enjoying a lovely Chinese dinner with numerous Erat Scholar alums, faculty and staff in the Upper Student Union this evening, the China Explorers with their benefactress, Kathryn Erat, presented a slide show and talk on their trip to China in May-June, 2011. Having studied under Professor Joe Draper (Religious Studies and Philosophy) and Michael Jackson (Political Science) during the previous semester, they were well prepared to discuss their experiences of Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai, not to mention the splendid geography and monuments of China, the making of silk and of tea, the effects of the Cultural Revolution, the growth of modern China, and the experience of Catholic faith and worship in that great country as it struggles with issues of human freedom and human rights. This is the third “Christian immersion” course and trip sponsored by Regis College friend Kathryn Erat, who also joined students on their explorations in Rome and Israel. We are all grateful to Kathryn.
October 3, 2011
The College was pleased to host its annual Hyland lecture this afternoon with the honorable Marie St. Fleur as guest speaker. Many alumni, faculty and students gathered in College Hall Foyer to hear the former state representative give a thoughtful and passionate talk on why women should be in politics. The Hyland Lecture was instituted by classmates of Barbara Kelleher Hyland ’65 who served in the Massachusetts Legislature for many years. With two of her legislative colleagues, Lida Harkins ’66 and Carol Donovan ’59, Hyland formed across the aisle what was sometimes known as “the Regis caucus” in the Massachusetts House. Harkins and Donovan were n the audience today, as was President Antoinette Hays, who met with St. Fleur before the lecture to talk about the Regis College Haiti Project, among other subjects. In the lecture, St. Fleur explained her working definition of politics as “the allocation and distribution of power” and then explained what power is for – namely, to make life better for the next generation. She addressed current students directly, urging them to take up their responsibility, find their cause, network. Both for current students and for her own daughters in college, St. Fleur noted that “we are all proud of you, finding your voice early… You have so many choices and you are willing to explore them.”
October 3, 2011
On the morning of October 3, Regis faculty presented two interdisciplinary symposia illustrating how conversations among the disciplines proceed today. Cultural guru and historian Raffaele Florio moderated SNSHP (School of Nursing, Science and Health Professions) Prof Laura Burke and SLAESS (School of Liberal Arts, Education and Social Sciences) Prof Lorna Rinear in an animated discussion about food, nutrition, cultural expectations, public health, and markets at 9:30 am. Health administration savant Mary Ann Hart of SNSHP moderated an equally animated discussion of the ethics of sports teams as a microcosm of life and work. This discussion, which largely focused on the differences and similarities between “family” and “team,” was conducted by religious studies and philosophy professor Bernard Jackson and athletic director Marybeth Lamb, PhD. at 11:30 am, also in College Hall Foyer.
October 2, 2011
Inauguration Week at Regis College got off to an appropriate start on Founders' Day, October 2, with a field hockey game, hoop rolling, Cap & Gown for seniors, and Sunday liturgy. Given the roll of the front hill of the College, it looks like hoop rolling went on uphill, downhill, and sideways with lots of fun for all. And the joy in the faces of seniors receiving their caps and gowns is unmistakable.
Tradition, culture and dialogue to highlight Regis College inaugural
Antoinette M. Hays, PhD, to be installed as 10th President
September 27, 2011
From hoop rolling on the front lawn and a field hockey game against Wheelock College to academic symposia, a lecture by famed author Tracy Kidder and a dance performance by the José Mateo Ballet Theatre, all aspects of Regis College will be engaged to mark the installation of Antoinette M. Hays, RN, PhD, as the 10th president of the College. Dr. Hays, formerly Dean of the Regis School of Nursing, Science and Health Professions, assumed her presidential responsibilities on July 1.
Inaugural week coincides with Regis’ annual Founders Day celebration, which commemorates the arrival in Boston in 1873 of the Sisters of St. Joseph, who founded Regis College in 1927.
On Tuesday, October 4. Tracy Kidder, author of Mountains beyond Mountains and Strength in What Remains, will deliver the annual Founders Day lecture. The day is capped off by a performance of the acclaimed José Mateo Ballet Theatre, the only dance company in New England whose repertory is created by its own choreographer. The Cuban-born Mateo’s mission – serving as a high-quality academy with a humanistic approach to ballet training that fosters diversity and inclusion throughout the community – echoes that of Regis, which, through arts, sciences and the professions, pursues excellence in the education of the whole person while embracing diversity.
Inaugural week starts on Sunday, October 2 with the women’s field hockey game and traditional hoop rolling, followed by a senior cap and gown ceremony and Catholic liturgy. Regis faculty will fill Monday morning, October 3, with interdisciplinary academic symposia on the topics of “Big Brother Is Watching…WhatYou Eat. Protection or Intrusion?” and “Ethics in Athletics:Team as a Microcosm for Life.” That afternoon The Barbara Kelleher Hyland, ’65 Lecture will feature former State Representative Marie St. Fleur, formerly of Haiti. Beginning in 2007, well before the massive earthquake in 2010, Dr. Hays worked tirelessly to establish an international nursing education program aimed at educating nursing faculty in Haiti.
The culmination of inaugural events will occur on Wednesday, October 5. “We are very pleased and deeply honored that His Eminence Seán P. Cardinal O’Malley will preside at the Inaugural Liturgy on Wednesday morning, October 5,” said Donna M. Norris, MD, Chairman of the Regis Board of Trustees. Investitu