OLEAN — Paula J. Snyder of Olean has been named executive director at the Cattaraugus County Campus of Jamestown Community College.
Snyder has served since 2005 as director of Student Health Services serving both Jamestown Community College campuses.
She started at JCC as the Health Center nurse in 1992 and has been an adjunct faculty member and has worked closely with all college-wide operations.
Her new duties as executive director of the Cattaraugus County Campus begin Sept. 1.
Snyder will lead the day-to-day operations of the campus and help focus resources to improve enrollment, retention and student completion.
“I’ve loved every minute since I came to JCC,” Snyder said in an interview earlier this month after her appointment was announced by JCC President Dr. Daniel DeMarte. “Working with students, I’ve gotten a lot back from them. I’m hopeful I’ve given something back to them.”
Snyder succeeds former Olean Campus Dean John Sayegh, who retired in December. Since then, visiting administrators have served in the dean’s office.
Snyder said DeMarte has evaluated the Olean campus and listened to faculty before deciding that the campus needs a full-time director. Previously, the Olean dean had frequent off-campus duties in Jamestown.
“We’ve got to be bigger and better in today’s collegiate market,” Snyder said. “Dr. DeMarte decided to separate the previous position into a leadership administrator — to concentrate on rebuilding and increasing our presence in the community.”
Rebuilding the college’s enrollment and developing new programs will be vital, Snyder said. She’ll be hitting the refresh button.
“We’re going to continue to do what we do well and look at new programs too,” Snyder said. All this will be done within a very tight budget, she added.
“This is designed to build enrollment,” Snyder said. The Jamestown and Olean campuses have a combined enrollment of just over 2,500 students, down from around 4,800 in the mid-1980s.
Snyder said she plans to re-energize community involvement at the Olean campus with meetings with community and business leaders, students and families.
“I absolutely love the JCC campus — everything about it — and its presence in the community,” Snyder said. She knows the community, has a history with the Olean campus and is a good communicator.
“I’m very excited about this new challenge and a new chapter in JCC’s history in our community,” Snyder said.
“I want to keep the momentum going and look forward to making this a very relevant, forward-thinking institution.”
The new executive director focus will be on the Cattaraugus Campus and the community, Snyder said. “I will be a day-to-day administrator on campus to assist everybody, students, faculty and staff. It will no longer be a college-wide job. I will report directly to the president and be a cabinet member.”
Snyder’s first job will be to meet with faculty and staff prior to the opening of the 2019-20 school year later in August.
Then, in the coming weeks and months, she will be meeting with different community groups education and business leaders and others.
Before starting at JCC’s Cattaraugus County Campus 27 years ago, Snyder was a hospice nurse for HomeCare and Hospice as well as a visiting nurse for that agency. Prior to that she was an intensive care unit nurse at St. Francis Hospital from 1978 to 1992.
“I started as the Health Center nurse for students and faculty focusing on health and wellness,” Snyder said. She worked for director Margaret Cornell, who was one of her many mentors. Snyder was appointed director in 2005 when Cornell retired.
As director of Health Services, Snyder oversaw the offices at both campuses and commuted to Jamestown once a week on Fridays. The other days were spent at the Olean campus.
Snyder served eight years on the Olean Common Council and served twice as council president.
She earned a bachelor’s degree at the State University of New York at Plattsburgh and has provided leadership to several organizations within the Olean area and throughout the state. She currently serves as chairperson of Archbishop Walsh Academy/Southern Tier Catholic School.
Snyder is the recipient of the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service, the HomeCare & Hospice Founders Award, and the Olean YMCA Salute to Olean Award.
(Contact reporter Rick Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter, @RMillerOTH)