Sandra J. Doran, President of Bay Path University

Article By: Kayleigh Thomas – Staff Writer

Bath Path University ensures women get the education they deserve and prepare them to make an impact. By providing women with a practical, skills-based, career-focused education. The Guided Pathways model is to implemented into a Bay Path education through embedded career development and coaching a student’s college journey throughout their college experience and beyond.

Bath Path University President, Sandra J. Doran understands the impact and value of an all-women’s education both personally and professionally. Her grandmother and mother attended women’s college, her daughter attended an all-women’s high school. Most recently, she was priorly the president of Salem College, which is a women’s college in North Carolina. Doran said, “I’ve seen first-hand the ways women’s institutions empower women and help them build the independent and critical thinking skills and confidence necessary for thriving in their careers. I also have experiences in my career with adaptive learning and online education, and I am an entrepreneur and lawyer. The opportunity at Bay Path brings it all together, and I can’t imagine being anywhere else!”

Doran discusses her first year as Bay Path University’s President, “the opportunity to meet students, faculty, staff, donors, trustees and community members and learn about the rich history of Bay Path this first year has been an absolute joy. Although I look forward to a fully-operational in-person campus this fall, zoom meetings allowed me to connect with a lot more people and a broader audience quickly upon my arrival. It also allowed for a more robust, integrated community connection because we were able to have frequent conversations with those who reside and teach remotely in our online programs.”
Bay Path University offers at the undergraduate level, a campus experience for traditional students along with an online college for adult women who may need flexibility. Fully-online graduate programs are also offered with a cutting-edge health science center for graduate students in education, healthcare, and psychology.
Doran has prioritized goals for Bay Path University programs based on students values and needs. She says, “we are looking at our curriculums to make sure they are reflective of the diverse world we’re living in; we’re looking at our school culture to ensure it is welcoming, comfortable and safe for all; we’re looking at the research and data we use to measure student satisfaction to make sure we’re uncovering and addressing any blind spots. This is absolutely our priority.”
Students will choose their majors and their careers based on guidance from “informal social networks;” family and extended family, friends, friend’s parents, etc. She says, “students who lack access to the sorts of guidance these networks provide are already starting from a different place,” she said, “and many times the discovery process can lead to switching majors and adding more time—and money—to getting their degree.”

Money can be an obstacle to completion, but Bay Path University wants to ensure students complete their degrees, and have satisfying professional lives. Guided Pathways allows for a certain level of exploration and for students to learn through a variety of experiences, while keeping them on track to graduate. “This approach, in addition to our Women as Empowered Leaders and Learners (WELL) program, helps them discover their talents, what gives them satisfaction, what they are curious about and motivated by and helps them select their major, develop career plans, seek internships and connect to mentors. It all ladders up to making sure we give them what they’re here for—a career-centered education and the means to pursue a fulfilling professional life,” said Doran.

Bay Path University launched a 2021 Strategic 3-year Planning Process from fiscal years 2022 through 2025, titled Building One Bay Path. The plan is to strengthen aspects that are fundamental to the future of the Bay Path Community that includes diversity, equity, and inclusion; an irrefutable pledge to keeping students at the center of our work and decision-making; financial sustainability based on a model of innovative growth; and a collective commitment to working as One Bay Path. Doran said, “while the pandemic has forced an academic, social and financial reckoning at so many institutions, at Bay Path, we had already set our sights on developing a new blueprint for higher education, one that empowers the students we serve to learn in a way that makes the most sense for their individual learning styles and goals.” Doran inspires to build on the momentum that has been created through many innovative initiatives over the past years and look to a future with tremendous optimism.
“Study after study shows that women’s colleges serve the most diverse student body, in terms of racial and economic backgrounds,” said Doran. “The population of students that attend women’s colleges is demographically similar to those who attend public colleges,” she said, “and yet the graduation rates at women’s colleges are similar to those at small, private liberal arts schools, which tend to serve the most privileged populations.”
Doran expresses that Bay Path University has a distinct and dedicated space for women to build intellectual confidence, enduring community, and unwavering tenacity that will lead to a successful career.
According to Doran, the professional world has not been kind to or fair to women. “Our experiences as workers are fundamentally different from men’s. Women have been impacted most by the pandemic, and we need to adapt and prepare women for a post-pandemic workforce. We think that the culture and values students bring and take from attending Bay Path will help them navigate the workplace in meaningful and hopefully new ways. A change is long overdue, she said.”
Bay Path University president shares how the University is the perfect for women, “from our small class sizes, caring and supportive community, dedicated faculty, career focused education, practical experiences brought to the classrooms, the opportunity to build a network, whether you are studying on campus or online, and leadership thats’s engaged and invested in students’ success, Bay Path is truly a unique place for women to learn and succeed, said Doran.”

By Published On: May 3, 2021Categories: Cover Showcase

About the Author: Dee Ferrero

Ms. Ferrero is the CEO of Western Mass Women Magazine as well as the founder of several women's mentor and advocacy groups along the east coast.

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