On May 28, Miami Dade College (MDC) faculty members received an email: “Warning” it said, our presidential search process is in danger of being tainted. Apparently, trustees proposed removing essential search criteria, like having a Ph.D. and higher education experience, from the job requirements, opening up the MDC presidency to literally anyone.
Appointing someone outside of academia poses an imminent threat to what scholar Robert Birnbaum, in his 1966 groundbreaking work, “How Colleges Work,” describes as a “loosely coupled system.” A collegial system, according to Birnbaurm, is a complex web of interdependent entities with an emphasis on “consensus, shared power, common commitments and aspirations, and leadership that emphasizes consultation and collective responsibility.”
This maneuver is anything but collegial.
During Eduardo Padrón’s tenure, MDC flourished because the faculty and administration enjoyed a collegial partnership based on mutual respect, negotiation and shared values unique to academics in higher education.
To choose a college president with no Ph.D. and no higher education experience is an attack on our system of checks and balances and threatens the “people’s college.”
I urge the Board of Trustees to respect the current process and the public trust.
Kristen Rosen Gonzalez,
Miami Dade College faculty member,
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