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  • Writer's pictureAlison Monette

Melanie - Roadmap to College President

Updated: Aug 12, 2020

What do you do for a living? President, Columbus College of Art and Design

What does a day at your job look like?

Everyday is different, however most revolve around meetings and corresponding through emails with my senior team. My job is primarily helping senior leadership do their jobs and meet with external people important to the school (donors, friends of the college). I also get to meet with students and facility on a regular basis.

What path did you take to get to here?

Graduated from high school --> BA in Art History at Stanford --> MA in Art History at University of California Santa Barbara --> worked at California College of the arts (CCA) in the deans office + adjunct teaching at CCA --> started PhD in Art History and completed to ABD --> promoted thru admin ranks at CCA to position of Provost --> completed EDD in Higher Education Management at University of Pennsylvania (during which I was diagnosed and treated for cancer) --> accepted position as president of CCAD

What are the Challenges of your job?

Being dependent on enrollment in an environment where the number of applicants is declining due to increased barriers to college attendance

What are the blessings of your job?

I always joke that nobody’s mom made them go to art school, meaning I'm surrounded by students who want to be there and are living their passion. It's inspiring and rejuvenating to work with creative youth.

What 3 characteristics do you have to possess or develop to do your job well?

1. Leadership - Be able to influence and facilitate the work of others

2. Communication skills

3. Analytical skills - being able to make data-driven, strategic decisions

What are 3 concrete things you’d tell someone on their journey to doing your job?

1. Take advantage of any opportunity for leadership that comes your way

2. Pay attention to who the influencers are in your field and put yourself in their line of sight

3. Stay open to the possibility that your path may not be traditional; be flexible and don’t give up on your goal - whatever path you’re on can lead you to where you want to be

IG: @ccadedu @melanie_corn

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