May 5, 2011
Shawnee State University will be welcoming Dr. Mary Oling-Sisay, the new vice president for Student Affairs, beginning July 1, who comes to Shawnee with more than 10 years experience in higher education and working with students.
"Mary will be a great addition to the leadership team of Shawnee State University," Dr. Rita Rice Morris, SSU president, said. "Her experience in the areas of student development, relationship-building, and creating a student-focused culture is an ideal fit with our focus – and will help us keep the momentum we have going here at SSU. She will help us strengthen the role that Student Affairs plays in student retention and success, something that is critical to us as we continue moving forward."
Following a recent campus visit where she met with administrators, students, staff and faculty, Oling-Sisay commented on her initial impressions of Shawnee State and the community.
"Everyone here is looking to the next level of excellence, and I am very much impressed by that," she said. "The students with whom I met value the education they are receiving here and the personal attention from faculty and staff. They also have incredible ideas of how to make student life even better. The faculty and staff want to move the institution to the next level. I'm excited to be a part of this team and am eager to collaborate with everyone to create a shared vision for an enhanced student life that will support the work being done inside the classrooms. I have a sense that Shawnee State is a place where everyone is dedicated to the personal and intellectual development of students. That, above everything, is what attracted me."
Oling-Sisay has more than ten years experience in higher education, serving most recently as vice president for Student Affairs and dean of Students at St. Norbert College in Wisconsin. She has previously served as director of Student Judicial Affairs and Special Projects at California State University, Chico, Calif., and higher education assistant in the Office of the Provost at City College of the City University of New York.
A fellow of the American Council on Education, Oling-Sisay received her doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of Southern California, her master's in Public Communications from Fordham University in New York, and her bachelor's in Literature and Linguistics from Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda.
She is moving to the area this summer with her husband, Dr. Hassan Sisay, professor emeritus at California State University, Chico, Calif., where he taught U.S. history and government.