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Rockland Community College Board of Trustees to Appoint Officer in Charge at June 27th Board Meeting as National Search Begins for Next President

In addition, Honors Program Chair to Serve as Officer in Charge of Academic Affairs

Suffern, NY (June 16, 2022) – Rockland Community College’s Board of Trustees will vote to appoint Dr. Susan Deer as Officer in Charge at its June 27th Board meeting as the College begins the search for its 8th President. Dr. Deer has served in a leadership capacity in higher education for more than 35 years and has a long history with the College having been hired in 2008 as Dean of Instruction. She has served as Provost since 2013 and was given the additional title of Executive Vice President in 2016. In recognition of her leadership, Dr. Deer was awarded the Catalyst Leadership Award by the American Council of Education as the New York State outstanding woman leader in higher education in 2016.

The Board of Trustees of Rockland Community College (RCC) will also vote to appoint Dr. Katherine Lynch as Officer in Charge of Academic Affairs at the June 27th meeting. Dr. Lynch will report to Dr. Deer in her new position and will serve on the Executive Cabinet, the College’s senior leadership team. In this role, Dr. Lynch will provide administrative leadership and direction for all academic activities and faculty affairs at RCC. Dr. Lynch is an Associate Professor of English at Rockland Community College where she also serves as the Chair of the nationally recognized Sam Draper Honors Program. She was awarded the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2020 and has led RCC’s efforts to design and implement a new, mandatory college success course that empowers students to identify their goals early to ensure a more successful college experience.

It is anticipated that both Dr. Deer and Dr. Lynch will begin their new roles on July 1 and will serve until a successor to current RCC President Dr. Michael Baston is selected and assumes office, which is expected to occur on or before July 2023. The two appointees not only share a wealth of experience within RCC but also a deep commitment to the important role that community colleges play for individuals seeking to improve their lives, as well as a clear understanding of Rockland Community College’s special place within Rockland County.

“Dr. Deer has had an unwavering commitment to the students of RCC over the past 14 years. The Board of Trustees has full confidence in her ability to lead the College with the support of Dr. Lynch and the entire Executive Cabinet. Together, they will ensure a seamless transition to the incoming eighth president of the College,” stated Martin Wortendyke, Chair of the Board of Trustees.

He added, “We are committed to finding a new president for the College who will continue to amplify and expand on the mission and vision of RCC which has been serving the surrounding community for over six decades providing educational opportunities for individuals at all ages and stages of life. The next president will continue to carry forward the work we have always done in serving our diverse community.”

The Board of Trustees will announce a search committee and the appointment of a search firm in the coming weeks. Updates throughout the search process can be found at this page on the RCC website: https://sunyrockland.edu/about/presidential-search/

About Rockland Community College, State University of New York

Rockland Community College (RCC), located in Suffern New York, provides purpose driven educational opportunities in a supportive, affordable, and accessible environment, empowering individuals to positively transform themselves and their communities. RCC welcomes 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. Many graduates go on to top universities to further their education on their own or through RCC’s institutional collaborations.

RCC fosters an environment that attracts, recruits, supports and retains faculty, staff, and students who value diversity. The College promotes a collegial and inclusive environment by recognizing, promoting, embracing, respecting and celebrating the expansive range and dimensions of cultures, attitudes, ideas and viewpoints contained within our campus community.

RCC is also proud to provide career training and professional development to adult learners looking to change careers or upgrade their skills through a variety of programs and educational opportunities including workforce training, certifications, and microcredentials. Many of the programs are developed with employers in the community in high demand industry areas to enable graduates to move into a new career upon graduation. More information can be found at sunyrockland.edu.

More Information

Dr. Susan DeerDr. Susan Deer

EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND

  • A.A. (Liberal Arts) Orange Community College (1971)
  • B.S. (Human Movement) SUNY Brockport (1973)
  • M.S. (Biophysical Focus of Human Movement) Physiology of Exercise Concentration (1975)
  • Ph.D. (Leadership in Higher Education) Capella University (2006)

In 2008, she was hired as the Dean of Instruction at Rockland Community College and served in the position until becoming Vice President of Academic Affairs in 2010. In 2013, Dr. Deer was promoted to Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs & Student Services and second in charge to the President of the College. Her title was changed once again in 2016 to Provost and Executive Vice President. She is responsible for providing the leadership for all academic services and has taken a leadership role in the design and implementation of the current Academic Master Plan, the re-design of developmental education, the College’s new model of shared governance, and the “life happens” Connection Center. In addition, she has been the resource go to person in meeting the Middle States accreditation standards over the past several years. Recently, she has been a leader in the collaborative implementation of a Guided Pathways model, which now offers 5 Schools vs 3 Divisions, and is designed to work more closely with keeping student on the path to completion.

As Chair of the Executive Committee of the Hudson Valley Educational Consortium, Dr. Deer established a regional collaboration amongst community colleges, not only in the area of academics but also with local workforce development and industry. She has taken a leadership role in establishing strong partnerships with local four-year colleges as the Consortium represents the six community colleges in the Mid-Hudson Region of New York State. All six community colleges participate actively in the Bridges to Baccalaureate program offered through SUNY Purchase College, for example, which has not only increase STEM awareness but has also increased success rates of our students.

Prior to RCC, Dr. Deer was the Men’s and Women’s Athletic Director at Orange County Community College where she was the only woman to serve in the capacity of Commissioner of Region XV of the NJCAA overseeing all of men’s and women’s community college athletic programs in the Hudson Valley, New York City, and Long Island. Dr. Deer also served as a Department Chair, a professional staff and Department Chair union president, and an Associate Vice President for the Health Professions during her tenure at Orange County Community College. Her Ph.D., from Capella University, is in Education with a specific emphasis in Leadership in Higher Education.

Dr. Deer has served, or continues to serve, on the following State University of New York (SUNY) task forces/advisory committees:

  • Chancellor’s Advisory Council for TeachNY
  • Open SUNY (which is now SUNY Online)
  • SUNY Voices on Shared Governance
  • SUNY Provost’s Advisory Council on SUNY Excels
  • The Chancellor’s task force on Micro-Credentialing.
  • She also served as the Chair of the SUNY Chief Academic Officer’s Executive Committee for all 64 SUNY campuses and has been voted in as Co-Chair of the SUNY CAO’s starting spring 2022 and will assume Chair fall 2023.
  • Deer was currently asked by the President of SUNY Albany to serve a two-year term on the Steering Committee for the Hispanic Leadership Institute. She has served as a mentor for several fellows over the years. The term begins fall 2022.
  • SUNY Empowering Students with Disabilities Task Force
  • SUNY SCoA (SUNY Council on Assessment) Committee
  • Served on the SUNY Global Learning for All Task Force, which made recommendations for aligning education, research, operations and public relations with the UN’s 17 SDG (Sustainable Developmental Goals) framework.
  • SUNY IITG Committee (Community College representative for the Innovative Instructional Technology Grants awarded by SUNY System Administration)

Outside of SUNY, Dr. Deer is a member of:

  • The New York State ACE (American Council on Education) Women’s Networking Board
  • Credentials as You Go (CAYG) National Advisory Task on micro-credentialing. (She also serves on the Equity and Inclusion Working Group)
  • CCCAC (Capella University Community College Advisory Council) where she also serves on their planning board

Dr. Katherine LynchDr. Katherine Lynch

EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND

  • Ph.D. in Literary Studies, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, May 2010
  • M.A. in Literary Studies, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, August 2004
  • B.A. in English and History, magna cum laude, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH, June 2002

Dr. Lynch received her B.A. in English and History from Dartmouth College and her Ph.D. in Literary Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. At RCC, she served as the coordinator of the Reading and Writing Center and as the Chair of English before transitioning into her current role as Chair of the Sam Draper Honors Program.

Since 2017, Dr. Lynch has been active in the SUNY-wide Open Educational Resources (OERs) movement, designed to increase the accessibility and reduce the cost of course learning materials. She has presented at several OER-related conferences across SUNY. In 2019, she was invited to deliver keynote addresses about OERs and open pedagogy to the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system.

Dr. Lynch was awarded the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2020. Most recently, she has led RCC’s efforts to design and implement a new, mandatory college success course that will empower students to start their college journey strong, identify their goals, and pursue their dreams with confidence.

HONORS AND AWARDS
2021: Recipient of the “Champions of Education” award, presented by NY State Senator Reichlin-Melnick (38th District).
2020: Recipient of the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.
2018: Awarded a SUNY IIT Grant to collaborate with colleagues from Monroe CC, Clinton CC, and Excelsior College in developing Writing In the Disciplines webinars and resources.
2017: Selected to attend the SUNY Executive Leadership Academy (June 12-15, 2017).
2015: Named a SUNYCON Faculty Fellow by SUNY Chancellor Zimpher.
2014: Awarded a place at the Faculty Resource Network’s Summer Scholar-in-Residence program at New York University.
2013: Selected as a member of the 2013-2014 Leadership Academy at SUNY Rockland.
2012: Recipient of the 2012 Forty Under Forty Award granted by the Rockland Economic Development Corporation.
2012: Co-author of a successful NEH “Muslim Journeys” grant for the SUNY Rockland library.
2012: Voted by students as the faculty inductee into the SUNY Rockland chapter of Sigma Chi Eta, the Speech Honors Society
2011: Awarded a place in the 2011 ISAS Pre-Conference Workshop on “Making and Theorizing the Medieval Book.” Produced, on vellum, a reproduction of folio 165r from London, British Library MS Harley 585.