Reflection and Anticipation: A Q&A With the Newman University President

Photo by: T&J Studios, Inc.

Noreen M. Carrocci, Ph.D., recently hit a milestone — 10 years as president at Newman University. Her contract has been extended through July 2020. As she looks to the future at Newman, we asked her to reflect on this past decade and to also tell us what she’s most excited about going forward.

A lot can happen in 10 years. What events have been the most memorable?

It has to be last semester — opening the Bishop Gerber Science Center and finding out about the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) outcome. It is an incredible milestone for Newman, that we met every criterion with no recommendations for improvement. Hardly anybody gets a report like that. And the best part was when the HLC visitors were here and held sessions with the faculty and staff over the different criteria; the faculty and staff could so easily articulate and give examples of the good things that happen here day after day. That was really gratifying.

What is Newman’s most important role in the community?

Producing quality graduates. Our students tend to stay here, so we’re providing a workforce for the community. And I love it that Wesley and Via Christi fight over our nursing graduates every semester. I think we have become known as the school that prepares pre-med students better than anybody with our high acceptance rate to med school, and it’s why the University of Kansas med school partners with us.

What have you learned from your experience at Newman about affecting change?

People will embrace change if they understand it and have a hand in creating it. Our first reaction is often not positive to change. But again, I think if people understand why we need to change, and they can help make that change, it allows it to happen.

What is the best part about being a university president?

It’s hard to say. I like it all. I’ve said all along, ‘Where’s the work in meet, greet and eat?’ I love being out in the community, but I also like doing a freshman seminar with our students, and working with cabinet and faculty and staff. I like working with the board and the ASC sisters. We’ve had the luxury of great boards and board chairs, and the leadership teams from the sisters whom I’ve worked with are terrific. So it’s hard to pick one thing. It’s the best job I’ve ever had!

What are you most excited about going forward?

I’m excited about the programs in strategic intelligence and data analytics that the provost is initiating with the faculty. I think those are going to be a great contribution to the community. I’m excited about the house of formation being here, the first two years of seminary. I think that’s a wonderful next step in our partnership with the diocese. We’re going to start the process of a three-year strategic plan this semester, and I’m very excited about that. I think we’re positioned really well at this moment for continuing growth, and we’re making investments in programs that I think will pay off.