RCC President Dr. Michael A. Baston to Speak at CHE Panel: Transfer Students are Key to Institutional Resilience

ROCKLAND COUNTY, N.Y. (September 17, 2020) – Some experts believe that transfer students could play a pivotal role in the survival of colleges today. To examine the issue, the Chronicle of Higher Education has gathered a group of college executives, non-profit leaders and prominent researchers for a virtual forum on September 29th at 2 p.m. Rockland Community College President Dr. Michael A. Baston will be one of the panelists discussing the role that transfer students play in the institutional resilience of community colleges.

“Community colleges are critical resources for local school systems, underserved student populations and local worker pipelines,” Dr. Baston says. “The ongoing Covid-19 crisis has hit low-income students especially hard, and many will ultimately transfer to colleges closer to home. Even in the best of times, the transfer experience can be complicated, and students often lose credits earned at their previous institutions. With the continued uncertainty and the threat of even greater financial hardship, an increasing number of potential transfer students may abandon their pursuit of a degree entirely. How can colleges ensure that these transfer students stay in the pipeline?”

Dr. Baston will discuss how to motivate colleges to bring in transfer students whose success does not factor into institutional graduation rates. He will also speak about incentives colleges would require in order to accept credits for which they are not paid tuition, and how a pass/fail semester affects transfer students. “In these times of great uncertainty, we must find innovative ways to succeed in our mission of educating students in a meaningful and safe manner. Keeping an open dialogue is vital and I invite the community to join me for this upcoming panel.”

Dr. Michael A. Baston is the seventh President of Rockland Community College. A national leader who has helped develop comprehensive supports that ensure students finish college, Dr. Baston’s work has been featured on MSNBC, USA Today, The Atlantic, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Community College Daily, Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, The Community College Times and Black Enterprise Magazine. He is also a contributing author to Race, Education, and Reintegrating Formerly Incarcerated Citizens and The Handbook for Student Affairs in Community Colleges. Additionally, Dr. Baston recently served as a panelist on: Ellucian Live Online’s A Conversation with Presidents: Building for Success in an Uncertain World; the National Center for Inquiry and Improvement’s (NCII) Leadership for Equity in Community Colleges; the Chronicle of Higher Education’s Colleges, COVID and Change; and Inside Higher Ed’s Resilient Colleges-Resilient People.

Dr. Baston was a member of the inaugural class of the Aspen Institute Presidential Fellows for Community College Excellence where he explored systemic issues affecting the educational access pipeline and student success. As a national Guided Pathways coach for American Association of Community Colleges, he is noted for his work with college leadership teams around the nation, helping them integrate student success initiatives to advance college completion. Dr. Baston is the Co-Chair of Jobs For The Future’s Policy Leadership Trust, a Commissioner of American Association of Community College’s Commission on Institutional Infrastructure and Transformation and member of the National Advisory Board of Center for Community College Student Engagement.

Dr. Baston began his career as a public interest lawyer representing various educational institutions and social justice organizations. His work with academic clients led him to pursue a second career in academia as both a professor of legal studies and business and a student affairs administrator. Dr. Baston holds a BA from Iona College, a JD from Brooklyn Law School, and an EdD from St. John Fisher College.

About Rockland Community College, State University of New York
Rockland Community College, State University of New York, offers a safe, supportive learning environment for thousands of students from diverse backgrounds who appreciate small class sizes and personal attention from a distinguished, award-winning faculty that includes Fulbright scholars and SUNY Distinguished Professors. Thanks to the school’s affordable tuition, students who begin their career journey at RCC and then transfer to a four-year college can save up to $100,000 on their education. RCC is also proud to provide career training and professional development to adult learners looking to change careers or upgrade their skills through its new Career Skills Academy. More information can be found at sunyrockland.edu.