Michell Tollinchi-Michel has been appointed assistant vice president for student transitions. Reporting to Interim VP of Student Life LeNorman Strong, Tollinchi-Michel will collaborate with community partners to ensure high-quality programs and services that will contribute to the successful transition of students from pre-college through graduation. Tollinchi-Michel will supervise The Arch and Transitions Programs, Registrar, International Services for Students and Scholars, and the Center for Career and Professional Development.
Prior to joining Rensselaer, Tollinchi-Michel was the associate dean for academic enrichment and community initiatives at Barnard College, Columbia University, where she was primarily responsible for the oversight of access and opportunity programs for a diverse student population. Additionally, she worked in collaboration with various departments and units, Barnard faculty, and the local Harlem community to provide opportunities that enriched and complemented the lives of all students with a particular emphasis on underrepresented minorities and first-generation students.
In collaboration with the Admissions Office at Barnard College, Tollinchi-Michel advanced the recruitment of underrepresented students and helped improve enrollment by 5 percent over five years. She developed the First Generation Student Advisory Board to assess the academic needs of students that were first in their family to attend college. In order to bridge the gap with the diverse student population and mental health services, Tollinchi-Michel developed an “in-house therapist program,” where students could receive therapy in the Enrichment Office as opposed to the counseling center.
Prior to Barnard, Tollinchi-Michel served as the director of the Gateway Academy at the City College of New York, where she led advising initiatives and programs for students who had not declared a major. Before City College, Tollinchi-Michel spent six years at Fordham University, where she led the STEP/CSTEP program. During her time there, she assisted in the creation of the first CSTEP Summer Program for incoming freshmen interested in STEM and the health professions.
Tollinchi-Michel received a B.A. in psychology and Spanish from the State University of New York at Albany, a master’s of social work from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and she attended Fordham University, where she obtained a Ph.D. in social services. Her research there was focused on college persistence among Latina undergraduate students. Tollinchi-Michel has dedicated her career and life to supporting minority and women students who strive to achieve their full potential, no matter what their backgrounds.
Tollinchi-Michel served on the advisory board for St. Mark’s the Evangelist School in Harlem. She has also served as a consultant for the Partnership for After School Education (PASE) in New York City. In 2015, she received the Educational Leadership Award from the National Puerto Rican Day Parade Inc. and the New York Coalition of Black Women-Beacon Award.
She is relocating from New York City with her spouse and two children. She is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.