named to lead UNE
...Danielle N. Ripich, Ph.D. of Charleston, S.C. will be taking over when Sandra Featherman steps down this summer after an 11-year tenure.Ripich, 60, dean of the College of Health Professions at the Medical University of South Carolina, says she has a proven track record when it comes to pursuing dreams.
"I think I have a good ability to listen and take different perspectives and bring them together," she
said."I think that will be important in a university where there are three colleges and two campus.There will be a diversity of ideas and opinions."Ripich
is largely credited with the effort to restore and develop a vacant historic school building into MUSC's central medical facility.After leaving Case Western Reserve University in 1999, she surveyed students and faculty to get a sense of direction for the school.
The results showed that people wanted to consolidate the school's facilities.With encouragement from Ripich
developed the College of Health Professions' new unified complex.
UNE officials say they were looking for that kind of enthusiasm in a new president."We are delighted that Danielle Ripich is taking over the helm at the University of New England, especially at a time when UNE is poised to make even greater contributions to Maine, the region and to higher education across the nation," said Vincent Furey Jr., chairman of UNE's Board of Trustees, in a press release.
has discussed UNE's
financial issues with trustees and plans to develop more comprehensive liberal arts and athletic programs.
"Bricks and mortar are important, but people come to a university because of the faculty and good educational programs," she
said."I think that looking at creative ways of showcasing some of things that they are already doing is important.The best thing for the university may be to turn and focus on how (to) build our academic programs and how do we structure and change the nature of the university going forward."Ripich is reknowned for her work in language development, with particular emphasis on the hearing-impaired and those with Alzheimer's disease.She is a professor in MUSC's Department of Neurology, has written a number of articles and book chapters and has served as an editorial consultant to several medical journals.
Last year Ripich worked on a project to advance the level of communication between Alzheimer's patients and their caregivers.She
research has been rewarding, but until she
learns the ropes at UNE
it will have to be put on hold. Ripich earned her bachelor's and Master's degrees in speech pathology from Case Western Reserve University and a Ph.D. in speech pathology at Kent State University.
Having grown up in a mill town along the Ohio River and lived in Cleveland, with a grandfather who used to walk to work at the mill, Ripich
said visiting Biddeford
felt like home.She's
grateful to return to this type of climate, especially since she
is leaving behind the crocodiles and the poisonous snakes of the southern U.S..
"I am excited and ready to brave the Maine winters," she
is looking forward to creating a new master plan, but is hesitant to offer ideas until she
listens to her
"Until I go and listen to the people there and get a sense of where the people that have been committed to the university think it should go, then we will prioritize," she