College News

Macaulay Honors College Dean Dara Byrne and the entire staff fondly remember former Macaulay Director of Institutional Effectiveness Diane Phillips, who passed away September 8, 2023.

Diane came to Macaulay during a pivotal time of growth for the college. Recruited in 2008 by then-Dean Ann Kirschner, together they established the Office of Institutional Effectiveness, a department dedicated to evidence-based improvement of student outcomes. Through Diane’s foundational leadership, the office grew to be an engine of student success, collecting and analyzing data that informed decision making, and shining a light on academic and administrative policies in the pursuit of constant improvement. During her tenure, Macaulay had (and continues to have) exceptionally high student retention rates. 

Armed with a unique combination of empathy, rigor and innovation, Diane touched every functional area of the college with an approach to work that reflected her personal values and ethical grounding. Her commitment to transparency can be seen in projects that published important outcomes and invited community review. Her vision of equity is evident in the purposeful manner in which she collected and secured college data. And her optimistic belief in the transformative power of education shines in her work to maintain Macaulay’s accreditation and offer learning and achievement at the highest levels.  

Macaulay staff loved working with Diane. She had fans in every department and throughout the CUNY system. She worked with and made an impact on scores of students, faculty, staff, and senior leaders. Genuinely collaborative and a true professional, Diane generously gave of her time and expertise, and helped us all face varied challenges with her well-placed humor and compassion. 

She was a steady source of guidance and friendship and always engaged colleagues as a multi-faceted human being first.

Before her retirement in 2022, Diane led the completion of several critical initiatives that have helped position Macaulay for longevity. Her investigations into student demographics brought our scholars to life for donors who responded with major gifts to the college. 

With deepest gratitude for her leadership and service, Dean Byrne and Macaulay staff commit to keeping Diane’s professional legacy and values aflame. In the years to come, we will continue to use and build upon her work in creating pathways to Macaulay’s future success.

Visit the family’s LEGACY PAGE for more information.