WorkinCT #CTConfident: Quinnipiac University’s new president looks at school’s future

Doctor Judy Olian is still settling in her office at Quinnipiac University, but she’s already learning about what QU offers. She says she has a natural curiosity and loves interacting with the school community.

“I spent the first few months really meeting with as broad a portfolio of individuals as possible to learn and listen,” said Dr. Olian, who started as Quinnipiac’s President on July 1.

That’s why she has office hours every three weeks. She says she’s already been impressed with what she’s learned.

“This institution is very nimble, very agile. The faculty are committed to the skill set of the future,” said Dr. Olian.

She’s already put a strategic planning process in motion to figure out a five-year plan for the University on where it will invest resources.

“You can’t be everything to all people, you have to choose where you’re going to be distinctive and truly excellent, and I see several opportunities here. We have eight professional schools including medicine and engineering and business and law. We have a wonderful allied health program, communications, education, and of course the arts and sciences faculty,” said Dr. Olian.

She says Quinnipiac is in a position to bring fields together across schools and disciplines. However, there may also be programs on the chopping block.

“We may end up saying alright, a field of the past is no longer going to shape our future. It’s no longer as much in demand,” said Dr. Olian.

She says Quinnipiac needs to be in a position for the evolving careers of the 21st Century. It also needs to address the challenges of all higher education institutions like access to education and the changes in society.

“It’s not just keeping up with the technological changes in society, but making sure that we are embracing and advancing and sometimes provoking discussions that are uncomfortable, but absolutely important in a broad and enlightened society,” said Dr. Olian.

That also means holding Quinnipiac to a higher standard. Just months into her new role, Quinnipiac suspended its lacrosse team through December 31 following an investigation into alleged violations of the University’s student conduct policy involving hazing and drinking.

“You never want to have situations where there are uncomfortable outcomes, but you cannot divorce yourself from the core values of the institution, and the values are around integrity, civility, safety, assuring that individuals behave responsibly, not just to themselves but to others, and you can’t get to a 90 percent conformance to your values. It has to be 100 percent all of the time,” said Dr. Olian.