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Niagara University: Dr. Debra Colley, Mary Borgognoni appointed to new leadership positions


Mon, Aug 17th 2015 11:25 am

Dr. Debra A. Colley is the new executive vice president at Niagara University, while Mary E. Borgognoni transitions to senior vice president for operations and finance at the Catholic and Vincentian institution.

The promotions, which were announced earlier this month to the campus community, are official today.

Colley, who had served as dean of NU's College of Education since August 1999, succeeds Dr. Bonnie Rose, who spent a decade as EVP. With the promotion, Colley will become Niagara University's senior administrative officer under the Rev. James J. Maher, C.M., president. She will directly oversee the institution's sectors of enrollment management and student affairs; international relations; marketing, communications and public relations; university planning and assessment; information technology; and community outreach, including administration of the Rev. Joseph L. Levesque, C.M. Institute for Civic Engagement.

The title change for Borgognoni, who became Niagara's associate vice president for operations and outreach in 2005, reflects increased responsibilities, including fiscal oversight of university operations and human resources. She will also continue to be responsible for the Castellani Art Museum, conference and event management, public grants and private foundation relations.

"I am extremely pleased that we were able to select two bold, entrepreneurial, highly qualified and mission-focused leaders from within our university community to fulfill these critical administrative positions," Maher said. "Debra and Mary bring a significant amount of institutional knowledge to our leadership team, which will help ensure that there will be no disruption in the formidable momentum that Niagara has established toward becoming one of the world's pre-eminent universities."

As part of the transition, Dr. Rose's title will change to professor and special adviser to the president. She will remain on campus and assist with special projects until the end of September, at which time she will take a leave until the fall semester of 2016.

She has been a member of the Niagara University community since 2002 when she became vice president for academic affairs. She was named executive vice president in the fall of 2004.

"On behalf of all us at Niagara University, I thank Dr. Rose for her exemplary record of dedicated service," Maher said. "Niagara University would not be in its current position of strength without her tireless commitment to our Catholic and Vincentian mission and, especially, to our students, alumni, faculty, staff and administrators. Her visionary leadership has paved the way toward a very bright future for Niagara University."

Colley, as dean, guided Niagara's College of Education through numerous national and international accreditations, developed the highly successful Niagara University in Ontario programs, introduced the university's first Ph.D. program and facilitated the offering of fully online degrees. She has formed countless strategic and funded partnerships to leverage change in Western New York through affiliations with human service agencies, P-12 schools and the business community.

Before joining NU, Colley held leadership positions in the New York State Education Department, serving in both the office of higher education and the office of vocational and education services for individuals with disabilities. A passionate advocate for diversity and inclusion at all levels of education, Colley is a national leader in educational policy and accountability in higher education, and previously served on the board and executive committee of the American Association for Colleges of Teacher Education. She has held numerous state appointments from the Board of Regents and Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities, having recently served on the expert advisory panel for the cIcu's faculty development initiative.

Colley holds a bachelor's degree from Buffalo State College and master's and doctoral degrees from the University at Buffalo. She began her career as a bilingual special education teacher and faculty member in bilingual and exceptional education.

Borgognoni came to NU in the mid-1990s when she was hired as an assistant director of institutional research. She was promoted three times during her first tenure at the university, eventually to director of foundations and grants. In 2003, Borgognoni accepted a position at another institution of higher education, but returned to Niagara in January 2005 to work in the executive vice president's office. Beginning in September 2012, she spent nine months as the university's interim vice president for institutional advancement.

Borgognoni has represented NU in the local community, as well as at the state and national levels. Her outstanding track record as associate vice president includes serving as lead negotiator on Niagara's three most recent collective bargaining agreements.

Prior to joining Niagara, Borgognoni held positions at the New York State Division of the Budget during the Gov. Mario Cuomo administration, in the Erie County Division of Budget and Management, and the New York State Assembly, where she served with the higher education committee.

Borgognoni has a bachelor's degree in political science from Syracuse University and a master's degree in public administration from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University.

Dr. Chandra Foote will serve as interim dean of NU's College of Education for the 2015-16 academic year. A Niagara faculty member since 1996, Foote has a bachelor's degree in elementary education and master's and doctoral degrees in psychology, all from Syracuse University. She is a state-certified elementary school teacher who brings a record of scholarship, teaching and service to the college, as well as experience in assessment and accreditation.

The new structure will not increase the number of senior administrative positions at NU.

To learn more about Niagara University, visit www.niagara.edu.

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