Notes from the May 2014 Meeting of the Brookdale Board of Trustees
As the Board of Trustee meetings often feel like a ‘production,’ it was wonderfully fitting that the Board of Trustee meeting on May 22, 2014 took place in the black box theater of the Performing Arts Center (PAC) on the Lincroft campus. Many thanks to Bill Burns, Nate Zerbe, Sherri Vanderspiegel, Jen Lucero and Matt Walker, for their yeoman efforts coordinating the site; the acoustics were great and I loved the setting. It was a packed house and the agenda was too – with Best Practices, Graduate Trustees, and Shakespeare, in amongst the more mundane business items.
In Executive Session I briefed the BOT on recent litigation, Human Resources issues, and the status of our Interest Based Bargaining with the Administrative and Professional Staff Associations. There was an extensive discussion of health benefits and Chapter 78, and the possible results of future funding cuts from the State of NJ.
At the Workshop meeting Chair Butch reported on the meeting of the Executive Committee (to review and set this meeting’s agenda). Trustee Tolchin briefed the BOT on the Finance items and recommended approval of the resolution for mandatory direct deposit for employees (more information on this can be found in the Portal on the Payroll page under Business & Finance). I briefed the BOT on my recent meeting with the county administrator and our continuing discussion with the Freeholders on potential shared services.
The Board approved the use of $3.2million of Chapter 12 funds for life safety, mechanical, and plumbing infrastructure needs at Lincroft, and for the MAS renovation of the Science Labs. Trustee Karcher was unable to attend the meeting but I shared his notes and thoughts on the Board’s Self-Evaluation and reminded them of their upcoming assessment of me.
First order of business at the Public Meeting was recognizing Zach Eisenberg’s invaluable contributions as our Graduate Trustee 2013-2014; we then had the pleasure of swearing in his successor, Jim McConnell. We are so fortunate to enjoy the company and contributions of these young people on our Board.
We then had four great presentations that ran the gamut from dramatic theater to dramatic results. Dean Bill Burns highlighted the ‘busiest classroom on campus’ and detailed a year in the life of the Performing Arts Center, which balanced Monty Python and Shakespeare with Big Band and the Haunted House.
Zach Eisenberg saluted his friends Delila Reed and Ambar Feliz and presented them with certificates recognizing their selection to the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) All USA Team.
Over 15 faculty and staff from Brookdale made presentations at the New Jersey Council of County Colleges’ Best Practices conference on April 25, 2014. Professors Arminda Wey, Olga Malpica-Proctor and Barbara Tozzi presented on their excellent Comprehensive Adjunct Faculty Support Program for Enhancing Student Success in Developmental Mathematics; and Professors Donna Flinn, Marcia Krefetz-Levine and Charles Mencel, presented on their successful Advanced Learning Program. Their extraordinary efforts to ensure that every Brookdale student succeeds is a perfect example of excellence in teaching. If you are unaware of their recent work I urge you to check out their presentations (linked). Their results are impressive and worthy of more College discussion.
The Consent Agenda passed unanimously; one additional administrative separation was added to 3.1 Human Resources, and 155 administrators were reappointed. We welcomed tenure-track Instructor Juliette Goulet in Environmental Science, and wished Professor Marilyn Ryder and Academic Advisor Chris Boud speedy recoveries. Dr. Scott Ridley is returning to the English faculty with the start of the Fall 2014 term; however, he will still be on deck to help out in other capacities. Donna Bastedo, Cara Novak and Lynne Shaffery are now part of an ‘A’ team we hope will help the Freehold campus reach its full potential. Rob Kimler was appointed Police Captain. Webster Trammell’s, Joyce Cangelosi’s Judith Handleman’s, Eileen Kenavan’s and Cecile Owsianik’s retirements became official with a bang of the Chair’s gavel. I want to salute all of them – and all of you – who have given so much of your professional lives to Brookdale – the College is truly the better for having had your loyalty these many years.
During the Public Comment portion of the meeting, Professor Jack Ryan asked the Board to remember how important the ‘open door’ of Brookdale is to our less fortunate neighbors, and to support the faculty’s great work in addressing their needs. He also professed his opinion that Brookdale’s electronic “culture of customization” was fostered by the vendor and he asked the Board to ensure College-wide input into future negotiations for technical contracts.
Karyn Arnold continued May’s ‘season of celebration’ and thanked the Board for their reappointment of her colleagues in the Administrative Association, noting the collegial tenor of the ongoing Interest Based Bargaining sessions, and our collective hope to bring a signed agreement to the Board by July 2014. She noted the work of distinguished colleagues Allison Fitzpatrick; Kelly Parr; Ed Johnson; Joyce Cosentino and Beth Tarantino; Tom Brennan and Kristin Florio; Tim Zeiss; Richard Morales-Wright; Cheryl Cummings; Alice Armstrong; Bill DeVoe and David Wiseman; Dinneen Jackson; Jonathan Shaloum, Kelli Sanders; Donna Cuddy and Norah Kerr McCurry. She also congratulated BIG grant winners Liz Deignan and Tani Ortore; and Sarah McElroy, Jill Donovan and Synde Kaufman. Also, Peer Recognition awards went to ten employees: Marta Quinn, Katie Shea, Mary Ehret, Linda Martin, Tani Ortore, Nancy O’Shea, Kelly Parr, Joan Rudinski, Trish Taylor and Sherri Vanderspiegel.
Jon Bukovec, speaking for the Faculty Association, noted the accomplishments of professors Elaine Olaoye; Stephen Propert; Fidel Wilson; Barbara Gonos; Terry Konn; Laura Neitzel; Diditi Mitra, Ashley Zampogna-Krug and David Bassano; Paul Zigo, Jonathon Moschberger; Debbie DeBlasio and Jack Ryan. Jon graciously extended an invitation to the Board and all faculty, staff and students, to this summer’s Shakespeare on the Lawn, A Winter’s Tale, starting in July.
Friends, it was a long meeting, but a really good one. Together we demonstrated how a collegial, highly-invested mass of people, working with the right resources and possessed of an almost maniacal dedication to student success, can engage and forward the work of the College. It was a wonderful way to cap an extraordinarily busy month for all of us. Thank you for everything.