Presidential candidates introduced to the student body

Richard Decker
Staff Writer

Through data analysis, Dr. Roger Ramsammy believes understanding quality of life of both students and faculty if crucial to keep graduation rates rising. COURTESY OF HVCC.EDU

Through data analysis, Dr. Roger Ramsammy believes understanding quality of life of both students and faculty if crucial to keep graduation rates rising.

IMG_1580PHOTO BY RICHARD DECKER | The Hudsonian Student Newspaper
Dr.Ann Murray, former professor and department chair at HVCC looks to evaluate college initiatives to ensure student success. PHOTO BY ZOE DENO | The Hudsonian Student Newspaper

Dr.Ann Murray, former professor and department chair at HVCC looks to evaluate college initiatives to ensure student success.

The Hudson Valley Presidential Search Committee has narrowed its pursuit to three highly-qualified finalists who hope to replace President Drew Matonak after 13 years of leadership at the college.

The college hired outside private consulting company Isaacson, Miller to aid in their search for our new president.

“The new president…will work with the campus community to envision an even healthier future for [Hudson Valley], building on the strengths of its faculty and staff and capitalizing on its location in the Capital Region,” stated an official press release.

The three candidates are Dr. Ann Marie Murray (Associate Provost and Chief of Staff at University at Albany and former president of Herkimer County Community College), Dr. Roger Ramsammy (former president, West Campus, Miami Dade Community College) and Dr. Julie A. White (Senior Vice President of Student Engagement and Learning Support at Onondaga Community College).

“We have three very strong and well-qualified candidates who are capable of successfully leading Hudson Valley into the future,” said Board of Trustees chair Neil Kelleher, who is heading up the presidential search. “The committee has been incredibly productive, respectful and cohesive, as they worked in the best interest of the college to carefully deliberate and select our finalists.”

The College hosted several forums from Oct. 10 to Oct. 17, during which the finalists presented their potential presidential plans to the campus community.

After the presentations concluded, the floor was opened to questions from faculty, staff and students.

Members of the audience asked questions about each finalists’ ability to connect on a personal level with all members of the Hudson Valley community. Attendees were also curious about the candidates’ leadership styles, strategies for crisis management and perspective on encouraging diversity on campus.

The college’s Board of Trustees, which includes one voting member from the student body, and the SUNY Board of Trustees will vote on the next college president after reviewing feedback from the community.

Dr. Ann Marie Murray

Dr. Ann Marie Murray began by talking about her life, sharing that she has worked since the age of 14 in order to afford higher education. Unlike the other finalists, Murray’s presentation did not include a visual aid, creating an atmosphere of closeness with the audience. She also tackled an issue the college faced within staff and faculty.

“We need to look at [how] the processes the institution has established are holding us back,” Murray said.

Murray’s solution would work to challenge the college’s status quo and create a new level of excellence.

“When an institution is well-run and has a vision, people are attracted to it like a magnet,” Murray said. “Hard work never goes unnoticed.”

Dr. Murray, who has served as both a teacher and department chair at Hudson Valley, feels that serving as president would provide her with new, but welcomed, challenges.

“When you make the leap from educator to administrator, the number of students you connect with decreases, while the number of students you influence increases,” Murray said. “For example, when I was teaching, I would work on a personal level with about 150 to 200 students. As a chair, I was interacting with maybe 60 students, but I was responsible for over 3,000 in the program.”

Murray believes she would be able to uphold the same level of influence, and then some, as president.

Dr. Julie White

Dr. Julie White’s presentation focused more on student success with an emphasis on equity. She feels it is important to distinguish between equality and equity.

“[A college president must] recognize the fact that individuals come with different capabilities, with different needs, with different strengths, and if we can tailor the supports to them, then we can make sure everybody can achieve their goal,” White said.

Throughout her presentation, White discussed the importance of equity among students. She believes it could increase Hudson Valley’s graduation, retention and enrollment rates. She also made a clear effort to connect with students and spent a considerable amount of time encouraging student engagement with the president’s office.

“I would want the president’s office to be a place that, when students would feel like they didn’t know where to go or have somebody to help [them], they could come to my office,” White said.

White described her leadership qualities as collaborative and versatile. She’s made it clear that she’s willing to adjust to ensure the common good of the college.

“I would describe my leadership style as collaborative [and] supportive,” White said. “My goal is to find the common interest and get us moving in the right direction. A big emphasis of mine is setting a vision people can get behind and removing obstacles so we can get behind that vision.”

White went on to talk about campus diversity and what diversity should look like within the administration.

“Students need to see people who look like them and see them in positions of authority,” White said. “Therefore, hiring a diverse faculty, staff and leadership team would be a high priority.”

Dr. Roger Ramsammy

Dr. Roger Ramsammy’s presentation focused largely on the financial side of running a college. He believes the best track for the college is to find a solution through analyzing data.

During his presentation, Ramsammy presented several graphs of enrollment and government performance-based funding. He also illustrated his proposed economic solution that would aim to increase enrollment and bolster the overall growth of Hudson Valley.

Ramsammy believes that a successful leadership team is born from hiring qualified individuals who can learn and grow within the team. He also places great value on increasing enrollment and focusing on retention rates.

“We need to ask ourselves why those students left in the first month,” Ramsammy said. “Why [is there] suddenly parking in the third or fourth week? We have already failed those students who left and need to stop it from happening in the first place!”

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