On Friday, March 8 this email message went out to allncc from our Board of Trustees: This afternoon, March, 8, 2019, the NCC Board of Trustees announced they made a selection for President of Nassau Community to be considered by SUNY. The resolution will be posted next week.
Obviously, this was hastily written and is as vague a statement as possible. Even under the best of circumstances, such a statement would be unfortunate. Under the current circumstances, however, when we all have access to the ever-changing rumor mill concerning the politics within the BOT deliberations, it is critical that the Board provide the College Community with the name of the candidate they have submitted to SUNY. If they do not provide this information and the campus is left guessing, the rumors will become the reality within which all discussion takes place, preventing any thoughtful contribution that members of the college may want to present to the SUNY Chancellor and/or the SUNY Board of Trustees regarding the candidate.
During the “open house,” meet-the-candidate sessions held in the Tower during the last week of February, the Board asked the Campus Community to provide written input about the candidates. Everyone who filled out a form knows what he or she said, but we have no idea as a community what the overall impression of the candidates was or if what was written on those forms played any role in the Board’s decision-making process. Now that the Board’s decision has been made, however, and only one candidate is being recommended to SUNY, withholding that candidate’s name from us means we are unable to provide the same kind of focused feedback to SUNY as we were able to provide to the Board.
It would be unfortunate if the Board of Trustees did not learn the lessons of how and why the previous presidential search resulted in a deep and far-reaching lack of confidence in their ability to perform their duties in this regard. At that time, the Board’s failure to understand the role of faculty at an institution of Higher Education led not only to a disastrous search outcome, but, ultimately, to our failing Middle States report. If you recall, both before and during the Middle States visit, faculty leaders spoke at every BOT meeting and advised the Board of the consequences of their actions, but to no avail. Under the leadership of Dr. Keen, we resolved the issues presented by Middle States and a general mood of transparency and trust has evolved throughout the campus. The Board’s most recent email concerning their decision in the presidential search is the antithesis of that transparency.
We still have many issues to address as a college community, including financial, pedagogical, and political challenges. Will the next President be able to provide the campus with a vision? How will the next President develop that vision? Will the next President be able to motivate, encourage and galvanize the faculty to ensure that vision is realized? Are we to be left guessing, allowing the silence to create distrust, dysfunction and cynicism? Is this the campus we want our new President to inherit? Will the next President care? Does the Board of Trustees still not understand our role?
Funny, Frank, but those were my exact thoughts upon reading the memo. Thanks for stating the obvious when I was too busy to take the time to do so.