The University of Lynchburg has a new vice president for institutional effectiveness. Christy Cole comes to Lynchburg from Wytheville Community College and will begin on Nov. 15. Cole replaces Dr. Debbie Driscoll, who retires at the end of November.
“I am so pleased to welcome Christy to the Lynchburg family,” President Dr. Alison Morrison-Shetlar said. “Her depth of knowledge in institutional research and effectiveness makes her a perfect fit for this position, and she brings considerable experience integrating data sets from across campus units to support data-driven decision-making.
“Debbie has transformed the IE office and its functions, and her excellent data work over the last 19 years will put Christy and her team in a great position as we move the University forward.”
Cole has extensive experience in institutional research and effectiveness. She spent nine years at both Ohio Northern University and Sweet Briar College, followed by three years at Tusculum University in Tennessee. At all three institutions, Cole held director-level positions and oversaw strategic planning initiatives and student assessments. She also worked closely with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) for reaffirmation of accreditation.
“It’s fantastic to be coming back,” Cole said, citing the city’s ongoing growth and the changes happening on campus.
“I’m a long-time admirer of the University of Lynchburg as an innovator in higher education and an asset to the Lynchburg community,” she said. “It’s an exciting time for the institution as it launches a new strategic plan with Dr. Morrison-Shetlar’s three pillars at its core, all of which are significant ideals to me. Debbie Driscoll has done an outstanding job during her time here, and I’m honored to carry on her legacy.”
The past 18 months, Cole added, have posed not just challenges, but opportunities to do things a little differently.
“I’m most intrigued by the chance to be part of higher education as we take what we’ve learned — and continue to learn — from the pandemic and apply it to a world that has fundamentally changed, and in turn developed new expectations for just about everything in life, including the way we provide education,” she said.
“The University of Lynchburg has great things in store, and I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to experience them.”
At Tusculum, Cole led an academic and enrollment management planning initiative that resulted in a multiyear strategic plan to grow the university’s program offerings. She also spearheaded a comprehensive effort to rework the university’s mission, vision, and values statements, which culminated in a new branding campaign for the institution.
At Sweet Briar, Cole provided research support for a six-week academic reenvisioning process, which led to a new core curriculum, the creation of three interdisciplinary centers of excellence, and a revised flexible course calendar to better accommodate experiential learning opportunities. She also modeled institutional financial aid strategies to support student success. Cole has a BS in business administration from Methodist University and an MEd from Capella University.