Allegheny College’s Ron Cole Honored with 2021 Council of Independent Colleges Chief Academic Officer Award

Ron Cole, provost and dean of the college at Allegheny College, has received the 2021 Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) Chief Academic Officer Award in recognition of his significant support of colleagues at independent colleges and universities. The award was presented to Cole on Nov. 6 during the 2021 CIC Institute for Chief Academic Officers (CAOs).

Allegheny Provost and Dean of the Colleges accepts the Chief Academic Officer of the Year Award
Photo courtesy of the Council of Independent Colleges

“This recognition by the Council of Independent Colleges is a well-deserved honor for Provost Cole,” said Allegheny College President Hilary L. Link. “It reflects not only his leadership and commitment to advancing Allegheny’s distinctive approach to learning and the experiences we provide for students, but also his extraordinary service to higher education in general and to colleagues nationally.”

Cole has participated as a presenter at nearly every CIC Institute for CAOs since 2016, led the Mentor Program for New CAOs in 2018 and 2019, and served as a mentor to many of his colleagues as they began their tenure as CAOs. Since 2017, Cole also has shared his knowledge and advice as a presenter for the CIC Workshops for Department and Division Chairs on chairs’ multiple roles and responsibilities. He is chair of the Deans Council for the Great Lakes Colleges Association and is program co-chair for the Annapolis Group 2022 Deans Conference.

After working in the environmental consulting industry, Cole joined the Allegheny College faculty in 1994, holding many leadership positions, including chair of the Department of Geology, faculty moderator, and chair of the Finance and Facilities Committee, the Faculty Review Committee and the Faculty Council. He also served on the Trustee Diversity Task Force.

Cole has served as provost and dean since 2015. During his tenure, he has promoted data-informed change to improve student access and success across the curriculum, leading to revisions in STEM, humanities, and social science fields and initiated work to improve student retention. He led strategic work to achieve operational savings while investing in academic programs and advanced diversity of faculty and the curriculum with an interdisciplinary cohort program in race, gender and social justice.

Cole’s scholarship includes student-centered research on tectonics and volcanism (field and geochemical studies) in south-central Alaska, California and Costa Rica and sandstone petrology in the Appalachian Basin, with funding from the National Science Foundation, National Geographic Society and the American Chemical Society. He has taught at all levels of the curriculum, including interdisciplinary courses and travel seminars to Turkey, South Africa and Alaska that integrate science and humanities.

Cole earned a B.S, in geology from Allegheny College and an M.S. and Ph.D. in geological sciences from the University of Rochester. In 2004, he was the recipient of the Thoburn Foundation Award for Excellence in Teaching at Allegheny College.