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New York City
September 2001
New Presidents Series
With the advent of the new academic year, a number of new presidents have been
inaugurated at colleges in the tristate area. Education Update will be interviewing the new leaders in higher education each month.

Dr. Eduardo J. Marti,
President, Queensborough
Community College (QCC)

 Q: What aspects of QCC drew you to accept the position of president?

A: With more than 16 years of experience as a president and CEO of three community colleges prior to QCC, I was attracted to Queensborough for three very specific reasons:
the diversity of its students–there are over 115 countries represented and more than 60 languages spoken within its 10,700 student population; the vision of the CUNY Chancellor to create an integrated university that preserves open access at the community colleges–so important to NYC–while emphasizing selective, high quality undergraduate and graduate programs at the senior colleges; and, last but not least, the very high caliber of the faculty at QCC. Members of the faculty at Queensborough hold more PhDs and publish more frequently than those at most other community colleges that I am aware of.

Q: What do you perceive as the emerging trends in higher education?

A: With the advent of new technology, higher education is more efficient and all disciplines are affected. It is important to keep in mind, however, that technological tools are merely that–tools. Instruction continues to be a personal experience. While graduates today may be more savvy with regard to accessing information than in years past, the essence of an educated person remains the result of interactions experienced. Credentialing skill sets also will become more significant than the acknowledgment of classroom “seat time.” In other words, a student who has the ability to construct a well-written paragraph and compose themes in a logical manner will fare far better in today’s workforce than one who demon-strates completion of English 101, but who marginally passed the course. Thus, in all programs, we must educate in the liberal arts while providing skills necessary to perform a particular job.

Q: Is there a distance and on-line learning option at QCC?

A: QCC, like many other colleges, does provides distance education. In fact, Queensborough’s External Education Program for the Homebound was a pioneer in this area and has been providing quality post-secondary education to those unable to leave their homes due to a disability for 20 years. Initially, this was accomplished through an advanced conference telephone system that allowed homebound students to take part in classroom activities and discussions as they were occurring. We have, however, kept pace with the times, and from “smart classrooms” to wireless technology, QCC is there along with the best. The trick for all of us is to preserve the best from the past as we move into the future.

Q: What are the most popular majors traditionally chosen by QCC students? a) Do you foresee changes in these patterns in the near future?

A: Liberal Arts, Business (including Computer Information Systems), Nursing, Education and the Technologies (Electrical, Mechanical). Our Music Electronic Technology Program is the only one within CUNY, and our Photonics Program in Laser and Fiber Optics Technology is the sole provider of technicians with this type of training in the metropolitan area. We will respond to the needs of our County, and it appears that for the near future, we are well positioned. The hallmark of community colleges lies in their responsiveness; QCC is no different. We will adapt to the changing patterns and emerging economic trends of our County and our City.

Q: What has been the greatest challenge you have faced in your career so far?

A: Obtaining the necessary funding that will allow us to continue to offer quality programs. As generous as the public representatives are, there is always a “pull and tug” between fiscal responsibility and the necessary investment in educational programs. We are counting on our friends in the public and in the private sector to provide us with the means to do the best for our students.

Q: How did you overcome that difficulty?

A: By presenting the case of QCC in the best possible manner. This is perhaps the most important task of the modern college or university president: to secure the necessary funding for the institution. This coming year, we are exploring a capital campaign to augment our public support.

Q: Who were some of your mentors?

A: My father and my mother, who molded my character Robert Chapman, president of Middlesex Community College when I was Academic Dean; Henry Hirshfield, Graduate Advisor. Chancellor Cliff Wharton, SUNY. Chancellor Bruce Johnstone, SUNY. Chancellor Jack Ryan, SUNY. Chancellor Bob King, SUNY. Chancellor Matthew Goldstein, CUNY.

People who molded my administrative character (through emulation, not necessarily contact) are: Dick Chait, Professor of Education, Harvard University Bartlett Giammatti, President, Yale University, Commissioner of Baseball


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