Rockland Community College is conducting a national search for the eighth president. Dr. Michael A. Baston has accepted a new position as President of Cuyahoga Community College located in Cleveland, Ohio and will be stepping down from his position as RCC president in July 2022. Throughout the search process updates and next steps will be posted here. Please check back often for updates.
To ensure a smooth transition during the search process, RCC’s Board of Trustees will vote to appoint Dr. Susan Deer as Officer in Charge at the meeting on June 27, 2022. In this role, Dr. Deer will be responsible for leadership, oversight and supervision for all areas of the College. The Trustees will also vote to appoint Dr. Katherine Lynch as Officer in Charge of Academic Affairs. Dr. Lynch will report to Dr. Deer and serve on the Executive Cabinet. In this new role, Dr. Lynch will provide administrative leadership and direction for all academic activities and faculty affairs at the College. Drs. Deer and Lynch will assume their new roles on July 1, 2022.
For the past 14 years, Dr. Deer has had an unwavering commitment to the students of RCC. The Board has full confidence in her ability to lead the Institution with the support of Dr. Lynch and the entire Executive Cabinet. The College’s leadership will continue moving the Institution forward during the presidential search and ensure a seamless transition for the incoming president. Read more.
- 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.
- Dr. 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.
- 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.
Mr. Joseph Rand, a RCC Board member since 2013 and current Vice Chair, will serve as the Chair of the presidential search. Mr. Rand, who is Chief Creative Officer for Howard Hanna | Rand Realty and also a Trustee for the Village of Nyack, chaired RCC’s 2016 successful presidential search that culminated with Dr. Baston’s hiring. Five RCC Board of Trustees members will join Mr. Rand on the search committee: Ileana Eckert, Lynne Hilowitz, Grant Valentine, Elana Yeger, and student trustee, Rafhilene Frias-Sanchez. These members of the search committee are charged with forming the full committee that will include representation from the College’s various constituents. The committee is committed to being transparent and keeping the RCC Community informed throughout the process.
The Board is also working closely with representatives from the State University of New York to ensure compliance with established best practices for community colleges. Their guidance will ensure that the College adheres to the highest standards in executing our search and transition.
Ask Us About the Rockland Community College Presidential Search
Have a question regarding the search? Please submit it here.
Dear RCC Community,
On behalf of the Rockland Community College Board of Trustees, I am writing to let you know that we have begun the search process to identify a new president who will continue to amplify and expand on the mission and vision of RCC which has served Rockland County and the surrounding area for over six decades. Our goal is to select an individual who will continue the work of seeking new ways to serve our diverse student body while providing educational opportunities that empower individuals to transform their lives. This will be the first of many communications over the next several months as we undertake a national search for the College’s eighth president.
RCC’s Board of Trustees will vote to appoint Dr. Susan Deer as Officer in Charge at their meeting on June 27, 2022. In this role, Dr. Deer will be responsible for leadership, oversight and supervision, for all areas of the College. The Trustees will also vote to appoint Dr. Katherine Lynch as Officer in Charge of Academic Affairs. Dr. Lynch will report to Dr. Deer and serve on the Executive Cabinet. In this new role, Dr. Lynch will provide administrative leadership and direction for all academic activities and faculty affairs at the College. Drs. Deer and Lynch will assume their new roles on July 1, 2022.
For the past 14 years, Dr. Deer has had an unwavering commitment to the students of RCC. We have full confidence in her ability to lead the Institution with the support of Dr. Lynch and the entire Executive Cabinet. Together, and with your support, the College’s leadership will continue moving the Institution forward during the search and ensure a seamless transition for the incoming president.
Mr. Joseph Rand, an RCC Board member since 2013 and current Vice Chair, will serve as the Chair of the presidential search committee. Mr. Rand chaired RCC’s 2016 successful presidential search that culminated with the hiring of Dr. Baston. Five RCC Board of Trustees members will join Mr. Rand on the search committee: Ileana Eckert, Lynne Hilowitz, Grant Valentine, Elana Yeger, and student trustee, Rafhilene Frias-Sanchez. These core members are charged with forming the broader committee that will include representation from the College’s various constituents, and maintaining a transparent process keeping the RCC Community informed throughout the coming months.
The Board is also working closely with representatives from the State University of New York to ensure compliance with established best practices for community colleges. We will rely on their guidance to ensure that we adhere to the highest standards in executing our search and transition.
Additional information about the search committee formation and the appointment of a search firm will be announced in the coming weeks. A Presidential Search webpage has been created to provide on-going updates and can be found here: sunyrockland.edu/presidential-search.
Please join me in thanking Drs. Deer and Lynch for taking on these new roles to lead and serve the College. We appreciate the Community’s support as we move through this process.
Chair, Board of Trustees
Rockland Community College
Dear RCC Family and Friends,
Five years ago, I was blessed to join a vibrant, caring community that believed in the power of the possible for students. A Community College with aspirations to have greater local, regional, and national impact by sharing innovative strategies to improve the lives of students.
Over these five years, together, we have built a College that is a highly respected national educational leader preparing students to become real-world ready.
Together, our “can do” College has weathered many storms from financial challenges, a global pandemic, the shifting economic and educational landscape, and our national quest for inclusive excellence so that all students, regardless of their zip code, have access and the opportunity to live the lives they deserve, their American dream.
I am proud of our efforts over the years including:
The establishment of the Hospitality and Culinary Arts Center location in Nyack.
The implementation of the Guided Pathways Model and associated restructuring of our Schools.
The significant improvement of our enrollment and student services.
Our College’s newfound place in the national spotlight due to your voice.
The successful navigation of myriad unknowns during our response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The development of the Career Skills and English Skills Academies to grow footprints in the non-degree and workforce development areas with growth potential.
The securing of more than $30 million in grant, capital, and other fundraising efforts to advance student success, including back-to-back Title V Developing Hispanic Serving Institutions awards and garnered support to address deferred maintenance and infrastructure challenges after years of neglect and lack of funding.
Our Steps Beyond Statements initiative to prepare Rockland Community College to become a national leader in Inclusive Excellence.
Given all we have accomplished together it is with mixed emotions that I share that I have decided to accept the position of President of Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland, Ohio where I will begin a new chapter in my professional career later this summer. Please know I am deeply inspired by what we have accomplished together. I leave RCC confident that the College is well-positioned to continue building the momentum for fruitful, sustainable growth, and greater levels of individual student success.
Serving as RCC’s president, alongside an extraordinary executive team, dynamic and dedicated faculty and staff, and under the leadership and wise counsel of our committed, forward-thinking Board of Trustees has been a source of great pride and joy. Tasha and I, from the moment we joined the RCC Family, felt the love and support of the College community. We will always treasure the friends we’ve made and the joyful times we have shared in Rockland County and at RCC.
In the days and months ahead, I will work closely with the Board of Trustees to ensure a smooth transition to new leadership. I have faith that the next president will embrace our culture of collaboration and embrace the RCC philosophy of opening our doors to students from every part of our society, and providing everyone the opportunity to thrive and succeed. There is so much important work yet to be done.
Maya Angelou once remarked, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” As time passes you may forget the things I have said. You may forget what I did. But I hope that you, who have felt the love I have in my heart for our College, our community, and our students, will remember that commitment and in some way be inspired to shine your light on others as well. With a grateful heart, I can assure you I will never forget how each of you made me feel.
With love and gratitude,