Allegheny College’s Board of Trustees named former Provost and Dean of the College, Dr. Ron Cole, as President, on an acting basis, effective September 20, 2022.
Ron Cole became provost and dean of the college at Allegheny College in 2015 after serving Allegheny as a faculty member for 20 years. He held a range of leadership positions at the College including department chair, faculty moderator, a member of the trustee diversity task force, and chaired the natural science division, faculty council, the faculty review committee, and finance and facilities committee. As chief academic officer, Cole promoted data-informed change to improve student success that has led to revisions to first-year curriculum and course sequencing in STEM and humanities fields and new structures to unify and advance holistic student advising. He established student retention as a top collaborative priority at the College through the Gardner Retention Performance Management program, achieving a 5% increase in first-to-second year retention within two years. Cole planned and led strategic work to achieve operational savings while investing in new programs including Informatics, Business, Art/Science and Innovation, the Allegheny Lab for Innovation and Creativity, a new summer academy for high school students, and new internship and research partnerships. Cole advanced diversity of faculty and the curriculum with an innovative interdisciplinary cohort program and a diversity teaching fellowship with emphasis on hiring candidates who intersect ‘traditional’ disciplinary work with race, gender, and/or social justice. Cole has been directly or indirectly involved with securing and managing over $4M in foundation funding in support of institutional initiatives.
Nationally, Cole is a speaker on campus leadership for the Council of Independent Colleges workshop for division and department chairs and has been a panelist at national higher ed conferences on topics that include leading transformational change, crisis communication, global internships, community engaged learning, and the value of the liberal arts. Cole was the recipient of the Council of Independent Colleges Chief Academic Officer Award in 2021.
As a faculty member, Cole taught at all levels of the curriculum, including first-year and transfer student seminars and experiential interdisciplinary travel courses to Turkey, South Africa, and Alaska. He co-led the establishment of a new cohort program funded by the National Science Foundation to increase diversity and success of students in STEM fields. As a teacher-scholar Cole established an active student-focused undergraduate research program with over $500k of funding from the National Science Foundation, National Geographic Society, and the American Chemical Society, has over 100 published articles, book chapters, and conference presentations, and received the Allegheny College Thoburn Award for excellence in teaching. Before his career in higher education, Cole worked in the environmental consulting industry.
Cole is active in his local community, serving on the Meadville Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship Fund Board which manages and invests contributions toward College scholarships for high school students and oversees and coordinates an after-school and summer mentoring program for middle school students to advance educational opportunity and equity. Cole is a certified martial arts instructor having taught classes for youth and adults and has played violin as a member of the Allegheny College Civic Symphony.