College presidents discuss challenges in higher education at women’s luncheon

Hampden County

Higher learning was the focus of Wednesday’s Professional Women’s Chamber Luncheon in West Springfield Wednesday.

Four local women college presidents held a conversation about the challenges they are seeing today in higher education.

The Professional Women’s Chamber Luncheon was held Wednesday at the Storrowton Tavern Carriage House in West Springfield.

The luncheon featured a panel discussion led by women college presidents from BathPath University, Greenfield Community College, Holyoke Community College, and Springfield College.

The four presidents spoke about the career paths that led them to their current positions, as well as some of the challenges today in higher education leadership.

Carol Leary, President of BayPath University said, “One of the challenges here is how do we keep our students until graduation, what can we do to implement persistence in our students through the degree.”

“The timing has worked out incredible in how we are here presenting out stories that are good stories about forging relationships and partnerships within the community and outside the community,” said Springfield College President Mary-Beth Cooper. 

Cooper and Leary also both addressed Hampshire College’s reported financial struggles, by supporting the school’s decision to seek a long-term strategic partnership.

The Professional Women’s Chamber of Western Massachusetts holds events throughout the year to increase leadership development and provide more networking opportunities for women. 

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