May 16, 2016
In a surprising move for a Board that has been stuck in political quagmire since 2010, Dr. Hubert Keen was selected as our new president on Tuesday night. With unusual speed and without affording the faculty the opportunity to meet and assess the two candidates under consideration, in less than 48 hours, the SUNY Board of Trustees called an emergency session and appointed Dr. Keen as Nassau Community College’s next president.
We can’t help but wonder why SUNY and our Board acted so precipitously, casting process aside and flouting the SUNY presidential selection guidelines to circumvent the requirement that candidates be vetted by the campus community. Could it be that SUNY asserted that NCC’s crisis called for extraordinary measures? Could it be that the scathing Middle States report was the wake-up call the SUNY Board needed to intervene? Since we will never know, let’s put those questions aside for now. We can only hope that Dr. Keen has the acumen and experience to cut through the layers and layers of cronyism, politicization and sheer ineptitude plaguing this college since Sean Fanelli’s departure in 2009. We can only hope that Dr. Keen’s inauguration will usher in a new era of transparency and accountability for many top-level administrators (look at the 7 failed Middle States standards).
We believe that Dr. Keen has the capability to turn this college around and this is why. Dr. Keen and I were in Albany together from 2003-2005. I was serving as president of the Faculty Council of Community Colleges (FCCC) and Dr. Keen was Assistant to the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at System Administration. It was certainly a challenging time for the SUNY faculty. Yet, the FCCC found Dr. Keen to always be responsive to the faculty voice.
Please be assured that Dr. Keen, an academic who came up through the ranks, understands college faculty. He is, after all, one of us. He understands shared governance and collaboration and, most importantly, he understands collegiality and the importance of academic discourse. He is intelligent, hard working and detail oriented. We believe that he has the experience and skill set to lead us into securing our accreditation.
We all understand the challenges Dr. Keen will confront upon his arrival; a NCC Board of Trustees too often pursuing an agenda counter to the education of our students and an entrenched administration not willing to pursue an authentic collaboration with the faculty. However, we believe that Dr. Keen, a seasoned educator and administrator, has the wherewithal to act independently of these interests and will be able to bring NCC constituent members together so that we can meet the significant challenges that lie ahead.
Kimberley Reiser, Ph.D., President
on behalf of the NCC AAUP Executive Committee