Dr. Mary Van Brunt expressed the initiatives she plans to put into action and what challenges she may face while serving as president of Spring Hill College.
President Van Brunt is working with the campus faculty and staff to determine how change can be made so Spring Hill is in a position to thrive and grow. In her first 60 days, she has been working to build relationships with Catholic leaders and other presidents of higher education institutions in the state of Alabama.
“One of my goals for the first 100 days is just to get out there and start building relationships and building partnerships,” said President Van Brunt. She has already spent time meeting with student groups and listening to their concerns. Additionally, she has been working with her cabinet to figure out what areas need focus.
One of the biggest ways to achieve greater success for the college, according to President Van Brunt, is to make sure Spring Hill is working towards enhancing the college’s environment. President Van Brunt explained during her inaugural speech, “Building a strong living and learning community and relevant academic programs with innovative cutting edge technology for our classrooms and a committed faculty remains our steadfast goal.”
Dr. Van Brunt also expressed that another goal as the new president is to increase enrollment numbers and financial responsibility. “My goal is to
reach more students and make sure students know that Spring Hill is affordable and worth the investment,” she said. According to President Van Brunt, increased enrollment not only brings in more revenue, but allows the college to provide a higher level of educational service to incoming students.
President Van Brunt said that the education model has significantly changed since COVID-19. There was a learning curve that Spring Hill College had to overcome navigating the pandemic and online teaching, but she assured that the college is providing what it promised to current students. Students have expressed their excitement to see what President Van Brunt has in store for Spring Hill College. Sophomore Taylor Bledsoe said, “You can really tell how personable she is and you can tell she cares about the community and the students here on campus. I think it is so important to have a woman president because women need more representation in society. We need to amplify women’s voices and, it being Women’s History Month in March, I think it is great that we got to celebrate the inauguration of our new first woman president at Spring Hill.”
President Van Brunt has expressed that even though she has always been in a male- dominated field, she believes she is the best person for this job regardless of gender. She hopes to be a role model to show how women can be successful leaders. “I feel the weight of this responsibility for everything for the students, the faculty and the staff. I think there are a lot of challenges, but I would say opportunities are endless to overcome those challenges,” said Dr. Van Brunt.