Passing the Baton

Preparing for Collegium’s Next Phase of Leadership
December 13, 2019

Collegium has always been about preparing for the next generation of leadership in Catholic higher education. After 28 years as the director of Collegium, it seems fitting for me to pass on the leadership baton at Collegium as well. Over the last year, I’ve been talking about this with the Collegium Board, and we’ve developed a plan to move forward.

I’ve decided to time my own transition to coincide with Joyce Gawlik’s decision that she would retire just after the June 2022 summer colloquy, her 20th anniversary with Collegium.

For my part, the decision to pass the baton is alternately difficult and easy. It is difficult because I am always aware of how many wonderful friendships I’ve made through Collegium over the course of 28 years. I regret the loss of the opportunity to keep building more such friendships and to engage in the sort of conversations that I’ve been privileged to have at Collegium. If you experienced that interconnectedness at one Collegium colloquy, multiply that times 27 for me. Leading Collegium has been an extraordinary gift in my life.

My own joy aside, it’s most important that Collegium has accomplished marvelous work over the years. I’ve long been confident that our marvelous Board members, mentors and alumni/ae can carry on Collegium’s work without me at the helm. The easy part about the transition is that I know what good hands Collegium will be in after I step back from it. I have no doubt that the search committee will find a successor who can sustain what’s best about Collegium and take the organization in any new directions that it may need to pursue. This is an opportunity to breathe new energy into Collegium, and I’ve encouraged the Board to take full advantage of the opportunity.

My priority in the next two years will be to continue to provide the best summer colloquy experiences possible, to continue to advance the Board’s strategic initiatives around advancing the role of STEM faculty and diversity and inclusion in Catholic higher education, and to make sure that Collegium is in the best possible condition when it is handed over to a successor. Joyce is committed to engaging in that work with me.

On November 2, Collegium Board Chair Norah Martin announced that the Board had chosen Karen Eifler as Executive Director elect. Karen will overlap our roles to ensure a smooth transition under her leadership, and Collegium will be hosted on a new campus, the University of Portland, for its next five years. I’m excited about this transition and have confidence that Collegium will thrive under Karen’s leadership.