Dr. Susan Wolff, the dean and CEO of Great Falls College-MSU, has announced that her retirement will be effective on Monday, June 30. Wolff has been the leading the college since 2012. Her higher education career includes time as an instructor and administrator in Oregon and Washington before coming to Montana.
Wolff, 69 years old, said her decision was also impacted by the recent passing of her 99-year old mother. “I’ve got to take advantage of my time,” said Wolff. “I plan on living to be 100, but I’ve got to get going on the things I want to do.”
Wolff says in addition to working with great staff and students, she was proud of helping forge a partnership between the college and Canadian based ADF International. Early on during her tenure at the school, she joined community leaders, GFC-MSU staff, and representatives from the City of Great Falls and Great Falls Development Authority on a week-long trip to ADF headquarters in Ontario.
“We landed them to come to Great Falls,” said Wolff. “I think that was really the first bright spot in the economy, something new in Great Falls for a long time.”
Another successful venture during her time at the helm is the recent expansion of the school’s dental program. “That was the result of bi-partisan support through the legislature, they’ve been an amazing group to work with," said Dr. Wolff. “So, we’ll be able to intake 25 people into the dental hygiene program rather than 18. And those are high paying jobs, so that’s a highlight.”
Wolff is also proud of how the school changed its educational delivery mode of 16 weeks to two, eight-week blocks.
“We’re really seeing some success in students,” said Wolff. “In eight weeks, they’ve earned credits, they feel that success,” said Wolff. “They’re sticking with it. The retention rates are going up. Students are taking more credits. They’re able to get those with less time, spending less money.”
Wolff also she was impressed by the school’s response to the COVID-19 crisis.
Wolff says MSU president Dr. Waded Cruzado will take a couple of months before moving ahead with the process of finding a replacement.
Wolff says that even though she’ll be retired, she plans on remaining in Great Falls and staying active with several community organizations.