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Focused on the Mission
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Focused on the Mission

At Notre Dame, the mission defines the College. It directs programming, ties it to its historical roots, and provides a framework to create a vision for the College’s future.

Because mission holds such an important place in the culture of the College, Notre Dame has hired Sr. Carol Ziegler, Ph.D., SND as special assistant to the president for mission effectiveness.

“My formation as a Sister of Notre Dame has contributed significantly to who I am as a professional,” said Ziegler, who began working at the College in February. “There is an educational heritage that was part of my early formation, and a commitment to a thoughtful and ongoing regular prayer life that is important to my development as a woman and then as a religious woman.”

Early in her academic career, Ziegler spent one year at Notre Dame College as a second year novice during her initial formation as a Sister of Notre Dame. She ultimately earned her undergraduate degree in elementary education from St. John’s College and has since earned her M.A. in language and literacy from Virginia Polytechnic & State College and her Ph.D. from Boston College in curriculum and instruction.

She began her career in education as an elementary teacher at St. Margaret Mary in South Euclid. Over the course of 20 years, she became a specialist in reading and science, teaching first through eighth grade students at diocesan schools in Cleveland, Chardon, Elyria and Canton, Ohio.

In 1990, she took a position as principal at St. Agnes School in Arlington, Virginia. “That was a rich opportunity to put into practice the vision I had for a Catholic elementary school,” recalled Ziegler. “When I began there, the school was on the verge of closing. I initiated shared leadership with the faculty community and as a result enrollment almost doubled by the time I left. It was very exciting to be a part of a turnaround for an elementary school and to still see that school flourishing today.”

Prior to coming to Notre Dame College, Ziegler was the program director for elementary education at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She oversaw program development and administration of the university’s elementary education licensure program and was part of the university’s educational leadership team. “It was very involved. I was responsible for 75 fulltime and adjunct faculty members and approximately 700 students both on and off campus,” she said.

She was also a member of Lesley’s faculty, serving as an associate professor of teaching, learning and leadership, and assistant professor of curriculum and instruction.

As she begins her new role at Notre Dame College, she sees three levels to her work: assisting the Education Department with coordinating the visit of representatives from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education; working with Dr. T.J. Arant, Vice President for Academic Affairs, along with full-time and adjunct faculty members to develop an adjunct faculty orientation program carefully aligned with the Notre Dame College mission; and developing and serving as chair of an ad hoc committee for faculty and student development around the College mission.

“Our mission and who we are as a college rests on the premise of caring for people, one person at a time,” said Ziegler. “The College could not have a better mission. It connects us with Sr. Julie Billiart, Sr. Maria Aloysia, and the educational heritage of the Sisters of Notre Dame. If there is anything these women were about and Jesus was about, it was tending to people one person at a time.”

Steve Ruic is the writer and editor for Notre Dame College.