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Cornell names Loeffelholz dean of the School of Continuing Education

Mary Loeffelholz

ITHACA, N.Y. — Mary Loeffelholz, former dean of the College of Professional Studies and a professor of English at Northeastern University, will serve as the next dean of the Cornell University School of Continuing Education (SCE).

The university’s board of trustees executive committee on Dec. 8 approved the five-year appointment effective March 1, 2023, according to a news release on the Cornell Chronicle website.

Loeffelholz said her top priorities include developing a new part-time, online bachelor’s degree program and providing pathways for nontraditional students to earn degrees through Cornell. Her hope is expanded online options will increase access to education for those in rural areas, veterans, indigenous people, and those enrolled in the Cornell prison education program.

Loeffelholz predicts the new part-time degree program could provide opportunity for 40 million people who have some college credit but did not complete their degrees. The program will provide opportunity for students to spend time on campus as well.

“Our continuing education programs provide incredible opportunities to connect with students who could not go to college or might otherwise have to go to a lesser college than their talents deserve,” she said in the release.

Cornell’s SCE, founded in 1876, enrolls 7,000 students including undergraduates and high-school students taking credit and non-credit-bearing courses. It supports the prison education program, the veterans summer bridge program, part-time study for Cornell employees and retirees, and the Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar Pre-Medical Curriculum, a two-year course of study to prepare students to meet the educational requirements and rigors of four-year and six-year medical programs.

Loeffelholz holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Stanford University and a doctorate from Yale University. She has served as an assistant professor at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign before joining Northeastern in 1988. There, she served as dean of the College of Professional Studies, vice provost for academic affairs, special adviser to the president, associate dean for the graduate school and faculty affairs in the College of Arts and Sciences, and chair of the English department.


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