ONLY ON CLIFFVIEW PILOT: Bergen Community College trustees have changed the criteria for hiring a new president so that a terminal degree is no longer “required” but “preferred,” school records confirm.
The trustees said the change was needed “to address the number of candidates in the pool and candidate qualifications.”
A vote is expected during a BOT meeting today to reduce the pool of finalists from five to four.
“In this economy, a $120-million-dollar-a-year institution cannot find a candidate with a terminal degree?” one faculty member told CLIFFVIEW PILOT.
“The largest concentration of Higher Education professionals with terminal degrees in the world exists here,” the faculty member said. “Many of them are unemployed. Most of them work at smaller places than BCC.
“Just within the NYC area, there are a dozen top-flight schools producing great candidates with PhDs in college administration.”
Isaacson, Miller — the Boston-based company being paid $100,000 to conduct the search — lists a single community college on its resume.
That contrasts with a firm such as Gold Hill Associates, of Asheville, N.C., which specializes in community colleges – and is led by people with terminal degrees who have been community college presidents themselves.
The void opened after the trustees unanimously ousted former BCC President G. Jeremiah “Jerry” last July amid mounting troubles that included a low graduation rate and uacceptably high number of dropouts. These, in part, have led to fears that the school will lose its accreditation.
Then came reports that Ryan was running up huge bar tabs while taking trustees and others connected with BCC out to lunch or dinner.
Ryan has since landed a new job with the Louisiana Community and Technical College System in Baton Rouge, where he will, as the LCTCS put it, “be responsible for the successful development and coordination of workforce initiatives that meet the needs of Louisiana’s existing and prospective employers.”
Dr. Jose Adames has served as acting president during the transition.
CLIFFVIEW PILOT was the first to report the board’s intentions to fire Ryan after rejected an offer to resign with a year’s severance (BCC trustees voting to fire Ryan). This left the board “no choice”but to schedule a vote, a source close to the decision told the website.
Trustees privately said that they grudgingly brooked a graduation rate of 12.6% and a dropout rate three times that amount. They withstood an uproar after cuts in students’ work hours were made – at a time when Ryan was hiring administrators without following college guidelines.
As a result, County Executive Kathleen Donovan pushed for greater oversight of the school to avoid taxpayer dollars being wasted.