Small College America Interviews Dr. Stefanie Niles, Pres. Cottey College

Small College America Interviews Dr. Stefanie Niles, Pres. Cottey College


In this week's episode of Small College America, we talk with Dr. Stefanie Niles, President of Cottey College in Nevada, Missouri. Cottey College in the Fall of 2022 has an enrollment of 311 full-time students.
Joining us today is Dr. Stefanie Niles, President of Cottey College, with an enrollment of 311 students, She is a national leader in her field, and she has been a successful, strategic, and innovative leader at multiple outstanding liberal arts institutions. Dr. Niles came to Cottey from Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio, where she served as the Vice President for Enrollment and Communications. 
In 2018-19, Dr. Niles served as the president of the National Association for College Admission Counseling. In 2017, Dr. Niles was the recipient of a Fulbright International Education Administrators (IEA) award and participated in a cross-cultural exchange examining the higher education systems in France and Belgium. 

Dr. Niles holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia, a Master of Science degree in education from Indiana University, and a doctor of education degree in higher education management from the University of Pennsylvania. 
Questions asked included

  • Let’s start off by speaking about Cottey College. Can you give our audience a brief history of the origins of your institution, your students, and your programs? 
  • In 1927, the founder of the school, Virginia Alice Cottey, bequeathed the college to an organization titled the P.E.O. Sisterhood, making it the only nonsectarian college owned and supported by women. Tell us about the P.E.O. and this rather unique relationship in today’s world.  
  • There are less than 100 private four-year liberal arts colleges with less than 500 students in the United States and I image even fewer that are all women. Some people argue that small colleges are not sustainable and should close. What, in your opinion, is the reason why schools like Cottey are important to society? 
  • In preparing for our conversation today, we learned that besides having international students from over 20 countries, your students at an early stage in their college career get to travel to another country with classmates and faculty for no tuition fee, and the airfare and hotel is covered. That’s quite a commitment. Why does Cottey believe this is so important to the student? 
  • Dr. Niles, this is a series of questions I’ve asked many of our guests. First, what attracted you to a career in higher education? Second, did you have mentors, and how did they help you; finally, what lessons did you learn from them about being a leader of an organization?
We like to thank our special guest Dr. Stefanie Niles President of Cottey College. That concludes this special episode of Higher Ed Without Borders, Small College America.  If you would like to comment on today’s show and suggest a future guest, please go to Comments section.