Brookdale President Dr. Murphy addressed the college’s faculty, staff and administrators about the necessity of adapting to today’s demographic, economic and political realities during the spring semester convocation on Tuesday, January 21.
Dr. Murphy pointed to such factors as a decline in college-age students, a change in the population’s ethnic makeup, a decline in per capita income, a reduction in government funding and an increased emphasis on data-driven education as examples of outside forces impacting the college.
“Higher education must respond. Brookdale must respond,” she said.
She urged the group to become involved in regional, state and national conversations about issues affecting higher education in order to have a voice and to provide needed input from educators.
“We have a choice to shape and direct that change,” the president said.
In her address, Murphy answered four key questions: What are we trying to accomplish? Why must we change? What have we done to this point? And, what must we do going forward?
“We are here for one purpose only: student learning. Student learning is a catalyst for student success. In years past, a primary focus for community colleges was enrollment growth. Enrollment remains important, but increasingly the conversation has shifted to student success and student success measures.”
Dr. Murphy praised employees for the many innovations in student learning that are underway. She specifically credited new initiatives in English and math which promote student success by helping them move forward more quickly in their college requirements.
She emphasized that through the efforts of everyone, Brookdale successfully serves more than 30,000 people each year as it fulfills its mission of making quality, affordable higher education and professional development opportunities accessible to the community.
“We do such good work,” she said.
She noted that the college has been successful in reducing its budget by more than $15 million and has made significant progress in achieving the goals outlined in the five year strategic plan. She pointed to the alliance with the Neptune Township School District in creating Poseidon Early College High School as an example of the college moving forward in its priority to expand partnerships and alliances. She praised the “strategic vision of the administrative and professional staff unions” in committing to the problem-solving based Interest Based Bargaining in negotiating their next contracts.
Dr. Murphy asked for help as the college sharpens its focus while continuing to fulfill its mission. She said the college will need to adopt a strategic mindset as it moves forward with the recommendations from the President’s Jubilee Commission and the college-wide self-study done this fall. She said she was committed to aligning Brookdale “structurally and financially” by Fiscal Year 2016.
“We need to build the Brookdale for tomorrow, and next year, and 2017 and beyond,” she said.
She told the group there would be tough decisions ahead as the college moves forward in reorganizing itself for FY16. After the address, Murphy addressed more than 50 questions from the audience. The questions raised and their answers will soon be posted on the president’s page of the portal. A recording of the president’s convocation speech will also be posted.