Dr. Michael A. Baston is a national thought leader amplifying the role community colleges play in redefining educational success, leading diversity, equity, and inclusion campus-wide reform efforts, and developing executive leadership teams. Dr. Baston has led Rockland Community College in Suffern, New York, as its president since 2017. Under Dr. Baston’s leadership, he helped RCC launch a Hospitality and Culinary Arts Center, a new guided pathway influenced academic school model, Career and English Skills Academies to address middle-skills workforce needs, and secured $30 million in grant, capital, and other fundraising efforts, including back-to-back Title V Developing Hispanic-Serving Institution awards, the largest grants in RCC history. Dr. Baston’s Steps Beyond Statements Initiative has helped to signal specific steps that educational institutions can take to foster inclusive excellence. He was recently elected to the Board of Directors of the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), the primary advocacy organization for the nation’s community colleges. Dr. Baston is also a contributing author to Race, Education, and Reintegrating Formerly Incarcerated Citizens, and the Handbook for Student Affairs in Community Colleges.
To learn more about Dr. Baston’s activities, community involvements, leadership roles, and accomplishments, download his full bio.
Susan Deer, PhD, Provost and Executive Vice President, joined RCC’s administration in 2008 as Dean of Instruction. She was appointed Vice President of Academic Affairs in 2010, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs and Student Services in 2013, and has held her current position since 2016.
Dr. Deer is responsible for providing overall leadership to the Academic Affairs and Student Services divisions, implementation and management of educational policy, curriculum development, academic scheduling and programming, academic program review, and accreditation matters.
From 1983-2008, she worked for SUNY Orange County Community College as a full Professor in the Department in Human Movement, an Associate Vice President for the Health Professions, Athletic Director and Union President of the Staff and Chair Association.
Deer holds a PhD in Education from Capella University, Minneapolis, MN; a Master of Science degree in Biophysical Focus of Human Movement, with a concentration in Exercise Physiology and Kinesiology, from East Stroudsburg University, PA; a Bachelor of Science in Liberal Arts from SUNY Brockport and an Associate in Art from SUNY Orange.
Dr. Beth A. Coyle has more than 30 years of higher education experience focusing on academic, administrative, operational, and auxiliary enterprises in both the public and private sectors. She has led academic and administrative teams at public and private universities, and has served in consulting roles for a variety of higher education institutions, businesses, and nonprofit organizations.
Dr. Coyle is an experienced leader and educator with expertise in a variety of senior-level academic and administrative leadership posts. Her areas of proficiency include project planning and management; operations, including facilities management and planning, emergency management, and business continuity; development and alumni affairs; auxiliary services; academic affairs including Accreditation Liaison Officer, accreditation self-study chair, faculty affairs, online academic administration, online teaching and learning, records and registration, academic success and retention, and library services.
Dr. Coyle served as Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs where she led online learning programs and chaired the Middle States self-study team. Prior to serving in this capacity, Dr. Coyle served in roles at various colleges and universities including Senior Vice President for Administration; Associate Provost for Academic Administration; Online Dean; Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs; and Chief Operating Officer.
Dr. Coyle received her bachelor’s degree at The College of New Jersey, and earned a master’s degree with distinction from Rider University. She was the recipient of a graduate fellowship from Nova Southeastern University’s Programs for Higher Education where she earned a doctoral degree.
Dr. Daniel DoBell comes to SUNY Rockland from Cayuga Community College in Auburn, NY where he spent the last four years serving as the CCC Vice President for Administration and Treasurer. Prior to his appointment to CCC, Dr. DoBell served as the CFO for the Elmira City School District, the largest school district in New York’s Southern Tier. He has also served as Vice President of Finance for Texarkana College in Texarkana, TX and Mansfield University in Mansfield, PA. Prior to working in education finance, Dr. DoBell supported the economic development mission at the University of Illinois and Iowa State University where he served as the Executive Director of the U of I Research Park and Business Director for the Iowa State University Office Intellectual Property. Dr. DoBell is a CPA and holds a PhD in Higher Education Organization and Leadership from the University of Illinois under the direction of Dr. Stanley O. Ikenberry, President emeritus of the University of Illinois. He also holds an MBA and BBA from Iowa State University.
Dr. Bart Grachan is the Interim Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs, overseeing Enrollment Services, Educational Planning, Student Engagement & College Life, and Student Success areas. He has spent more than 20 years working in higher education in a broad range of areas, but always with special focus on helping community college students succeed and move on to their next steps.
He joins RCC via LaGuardia Community College, where he started as the Director of Transfer Services. He subsequently served as the Associate Dean for Progress and Completion, overseeing academic, career, and transfer advising and special programs; for a year as the Interim Vice President for Student Affairs during a presidential search, overseeing all enrollment management and student affairs; and finally as Associate Dean for Enrollment Management. While at LaGuardia, Dr. Grachan served on the CUNY Committee for Academic Policy, the CUNY Pathways Evaluation Task Force, and the CUNY Transfer Steering Committee, as well as founding the CUNY Community College Council.
Prior to arriving at LaGuardia, and after a three-year stint as a high school social studies teacher, Dr. Grachan’s higher education career was spent in enrollment management and student affairs at four-year colleges. Starting at Iona College, he spent nearly a decade as a football coach before transitioning to admissions, where he was responsible for transfer, adult, and graduate students, and where he discovered his deep appreciation for community colleges. He then became the Director of the Community College Transfer Opportunity Program at NYU, where he worked with transfer students from their recruitment through their graduation, before later becoming the Director of Admissions at St. Thomas Aquinas College.
Dr. Grachan earned his doctorate in Higher Education Administration from New York University, a Master of Arts in History and a Master of Science in Teaching Secondary Social Studies from Iona College, and his Bachelor of Arts degree from Fordham University in history and English literature. He has published, presented, and spoken endlessly at parties about transfer, retention, and enrollment issues and policies. He still gets invited to said parties because he is the proud father of three children, including twins, and is the proud husband of his wife, Alicia.
Susan is the VP of Institutional Advancement here at RCC. In this role she manages Strategic Marketing, the RCC Foundation, Institutional Research and Grants. Before she joined RCC in 2018, she spent 11 years working in several roles at LaGuardia Community College in Queens. Susan is passionate about Community Colleges and considers this her life’s work. She feels that elevating students and giving them opportunities is world-changing work. Before LaGuardia Community College, Susan worked in various roles in the non-profit sector in NYC and abroad including teaching in Belfast, Northern Ireland and Kobe, Japan. She also opened a school in Jakarta, Indonesia where she lived for 4 years. Susan lives in Milford, PA with her adorable little dog Margo.
Dr. Virginia Meléndez recently joined RCC as Interim Executive Director of Strategic Initiatives. In this role, she will chair a campus Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) working group that will focus on what it means for RCC to be an HSI. Statewide, Dr. Meléndez will represent RCC at SUNY-wide initiatives to support HSIs to coordinate and amplify HSI efforts across the university. At the national level, Dr. Meléndez will serve as the campus liaison to the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) and Excelencia in Education, and actively explore opportunities to partner and collaborate. She will also lead organizational development and planning efforts, while amplifying RCCs message.
Prior to joining RCC, Dr. Meléndez served in various roles in the public and private sectors in Higher Education. She has over twenty years of experience in Higher Education Administration and as a Board Professional. Her worked included Diversity Taskforce, Student Success Initiatives, and Middle States accreditation. Dr. Meléndez is also active in her local community serving on the Board of Directors of her Condominium Association.
Dr. Meléndez holds an Ed.D. in Higher Education Administration from Saint Peter’s University. Most recently, Dr. Meléndez was selected to participate in the second cohort of HACU’s Leadership Academy, La Academia de Liderazgo, and served as part of the inaugural class of the Emerging Leaders Program of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU).
Ben Naylor, President’s Chief of Staff, came to RCC in 2014 with a strong background in political and project management. He served as a researcher and in a direct support role to NBC News and National Journal political analyst Charlie Cook at the Cook Political Report, a 30-year old publication which provides analysis on federal campaigns and elections. He continued his career as a political analyst at Global Strategy Group, a Manhattan-based firm focusing on corporate and political strategy. He provided advice and counsel to Fortune 500 corporations, non-profits, and local, state and federal political campaigns. He then made the transition to higher education at New York University, helping a wireless engineering start-up program get off the ground. The program is now self-sustaining and brings in annual multi-million dollar revenues.
As Chief of Staff, he serves as a trusted adviser and principal aide to the President and provides management support to the Board of Trustees. He is responsible for advancing the leadership agenda of the President and leads, coordinates and administers a number of College projects. He also directs the government relations function at RCC and is responsible for the overall legislative outreach strategy of the College.
Naylor holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Government from Georgetown University, and a Master’s Degree in Political Management from George Washington University.
Melissa L. Roy, JD is the inaugural Chief Diversity Officer at SUNY Rockland Community College in Suffern, New York. In that capacity, she works to ensure that the College’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion is reflected in all its policies, work, and practices. She previously served in various roles at the College where she was the Equal Employment Opportunity officer, the Title IX coordinator, and the Middle States accreditation liaison officer.
Prior to joining Rockland Community College, Ms. Roy practiced corporate and securities law at the law firms of Hogan Lovells (previously Hogan & Hartson LLP) in both its Washington, DC and New York offices; Eversheds Sutherland (previously Sutherland, Asbill & Brennan) in its Washington, DC office; and Goodwin (previously Goodwin, Procter & Hoar LLP) in its Boston, Massachusetts office.
Ms. Roy is active in the local community. She serves on the Board of Trustees of the Valley Cottage Library and the Mount Moor Cemetery Association. She is also a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Westchester Alumnae Chapter, and the American Association of University Women, Rockland Chapter, and a Lifetime Member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Nyack Branch. She previously served on the Board of Directors of the African American Historical Society of Rockland (2009-2018), the Board of Directors of the Rockland Negro Scholarship Fund, Inc. (2001-2014), and the Board of Directors of the American Heart Association, Founders Affiliate ~ Tri-County NY Region (2010-2013).
Ms. Roy earned a Juris Doctor from Boston University School of Law and Bachelor of Arts degree from Tufts University. She holds a certification in Collective Bargaining from Cornell University’s ILR School. She was selected as a member of the Leadership Rockland Class of 2007 and Rockland County’s Forty under 40 in 2005.