College Track Names Dr. Rosanna Ferro Inaugural Chief of Education
Ithaca College Vice President for Student Affairs and Campus Life Rosanna Ferro will become College Track’s first Chief of Education, overseeing a new chapter of program design and innovation, as well as the expansion of college and university partnerships
Oakland, Calif. – 3 May 2022 – Today, Shirley M. Collado, Ph.D., President and CEO of College Track, announced that Rosanna Ferro, Ed.D., has been named the organization’s inaugural Chief of Education. Dr. Ferro, currently the Vice President of Student Affairs and Campus Life at Ithaca College and formerly the Associate Dean of the College at Williams College, will begin her new role at College Track on June 27.
College Track is a comprehensive college access and completion program that equips students confronting systemic barriers—while in pursuit of a life of opportunity, choice, and power—with the tools and resources to earn a bachelor’s degree. From ninth grade through college graduation, College Track’s 10-year program removes the academic, financial, and social-emotional barriers that keep first-generation students from low-income communities from completing college and thriving in the workforce.
College Track confronts the unacceptable reality that while talent is equally distributed, opportunity is not. Beginning with 25 ninth graders in its inaugural year, it now serves thousands of students.
As a first-generation college graduate and as an Afro-Latina immigrant, Dr. Ferro is a talented leader who embodies the lived experience of College Track students. She brings nearly 20 years of leadership experience in higher education, leading work that supports the academic and social-emotional success of college students with a particular focus on first-generation scholars from under-resourced communities.
At Ithaca College, as the Vice President of Student Affairs and Campus Life, Dr. Ferro’s leadership focused on different aspects of identity in different spaces, including first-generation college students. She also reorganized the Division of Student Affairs and Campus Life, to be aligned with student-centered best practices. Most recently, she was a critical player in launching the Center for Student Success and Retention, a body that provides vision and coherence for Ithaca College’s initiatives to improve the student journey from matriculation to graduation by creating clearer pathways to equitable student success and engagement.
At Williams College, she was the Associate Dean of the College where she developed and implemented Williams Firsts, the first-generation initiatives program. She led this transformative approach, which positioned the college as one of the institutions in the country that best serves first-generation students and those from low-income communities.
“I have watched Dr. Ferro’s incredible career progress across public and private higher education,” said Dr. Collado. “I know that her tremendous skill as a student-centered leader will complement and contribute to the success of our scholars and our organization.” The Chief of Education is a member of College Track’s executive team which reports to Dr. Collado. Dr. Ferro will oversee the program design and innovation team; college advising, including college teams across the country; financial programs and scholarships; DREAMer support; and the expansion of college and university partnerships. She will work collaboratively with the executive leadership team to determine the best strategy, structure, and curriculum for high school, college, and career success throughout our 10-year promise.
Dr. Ferro’s first-generation college journey began at Rutgers University, where she received her bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Spanish and earned her Master of Social Work. Her doctoral dissertation, Proving Them Wrong: Academically Resilient First-Generation Latinas in College, conducted at the Rutgers Graduate School of Education, garnered her a Doctor of Education. Dr. Ferro’s research analyzed the systemic barriers study participants confronted around race, gender, and socio-economic status, and utilized an asset-based theoretical approach to evaluate the impact of unwavering family support, intrinsic motivation, and strong peer networks on the women’s resiliency and academic success.
“I am grateful for this opportunity to address the educational inequities that have historically created barriers for so many first-generation students and students from low-income communities,” said Dr. Ferro. “I believe that these students possess incredible talent and promise and enhance the academic and social environments of institutions of higher education. By creating intentional partnerships and being bold and innovative, College Track will enrich our educational program and facilitate transformative experiences. Our students will not just succeed, but will also thrive beyond college.” Dr. Ferro begins her time at College Track on June 27. She will work from Prince George’s County, Maryland, where she will live with her husband, Dr. Marty A. Ferro, and their children.
College Track serves nearly 3,800 students across 12 communities in California, Colorado, Louisiana, and the D.C. Metro Area, and supports more than 950 alumni nationwide—democratizing potential for all to have a life of opportunity and choice, through the power of higher education.
About College Track
College Track is a comprehensive college completion program that equips students confronting systemic barriers to earn a bachelor’s degree, in pursuit of a life of opportunity, choice, and power. From ninth grade through college graduation, its 10-year program systematically removes the academic, financial, and social-emotional barriers that keep first-generation students from low-income communities from completing college and thriving in the workforce. Today, College Track serves nearly 3,800 students across 12 communities in California, Colorado, Louisiana, and the D.C. Metro Area, with 950+ alumni leading a movement to democratize potential.