For the third time in seven years, Brookdale Community College is looking for a new president.
Dr. Maureen Murphy resigned today, effective June 30. She will become president of College of Southern Maryland effective July 1.
Murphy took the helm of Brookdale in 2012 when she replaced interim President William M. Toms. Toms led the college after Peter Burnham, who had been president for about 20 years, resigned in March of 2011 due a scandal over his padding his expense reports and a student loan for his son.
In 2015, Murphy was a finalist for the presidency of Blinn College’s Bryan, Texas campus.
Murphy said she took the College of Southern Maryland job “for personal reasons,” according to The Asbury Park Press. She has changed jobs every 4-5 years since 1999, according to her LinkedIn profile.
As short as her tenure, with one foot out the door, has been, Murphy’s time at Brookdale was one of accomplishment. According to College of Southern Maryland’s announcement of her hiring,
While at Brookdale, Murphy developed four early college high school programs, launched the Asbury Park College Promise program for free tuition for all qualified graduates and directed recovery efforts after Hurricane Sandy to have the college operational within two and a half weeks. Additionally, after significant funding declines, she realigned the college to focus more sharply on local workforce needs and economic development. She founded the Poseidon Early College High School, a first in New Jersey, which allows first-generation students the opportunity to earn an associate degree concurrent with their high school studies. Further, this initiative was funded with a $1 million gift, the largest single gift in the college’s history. Murphy also spearheaded the first Minority Male Conference, a collaboration with the Panhellenic Council, to support the academic achievement of minority male students, which received national recognition from the Association of Community College Trustees.
Perhaps the biggest accomplishment of Murphy (and Toms) is the restoration of integrity to Brookdale.
The Brookdale Board of Trustees should replace Murphy with a qualified executive with deep ties to Monmouth County and a long term commitment to the college’s future. The Board should resist the temptation to delegate the search to a consultant/recruiter, unless such consultant has deep ties to Monmouth County and a commitment to Brookdale’s future.
The Board should not focus their search on members of the American Association of Community Colleges, or like organizations. Rather, focus on leaders in the Monmouth County Community and New Jersey academia. Choose a president for whom the job will be a vocation, not someone for whom it will be a stepping stone. They should be willing to take the risk to consider hiring an accomplished leader in business or government, not just academic administrators.