Martha Asselin was formally appointed Monday evening as interim president at Schenectady County Community College. Asselin afterward called the selection an honor.
Asselin is a 23-year veteran of the school and is currently the school’s vice president of student affairs. Her new title will become acting president.
The appointment is to take effect March 5, after the departure of current President Quintin Bullock.
“I think it’s the biggest compliment someone can have, after working for an institution for 23 years, to be considered for such a role,” Asselin said after Monday evening’s SCCC board of trustees meeting. “I have big shoes to fill.”
Bullock announced earlier this month he is leaving to accept a more lucrative offer overseeing the Community College of Allegheny County in western Pennsylvania.
Asselin’s appointment as acting president won’t be official until approved by SUNY trustees in January.
The search for Bullock’s permanent replacement is expected to begin soon, with the board of trustees to start considering search firms as early as next month.
Exactly how long the search will take was unclear, board members said.
Bullock began work at SCCC on July 1, 2009. Prior to his arrival, then-dean of continuing education Edward Baker served as interim head for seven months.
At a board of trustees committee meeting prior to the main meeting Monday evening, Eileen Abrahams, chairwoman of the academic Senate, questioned whether faculty were consulted about the choice for interim president.
She said later she wanted to make sure faculty have a voice in choosing the full-time president. She said she is hopeful that will be the case.
Also at the committee meeting, Abrahams suggested the board should have gone with an interim president from the outside, possibly a former president from another institution.
“That person would have, yes, no vested interested here, but presumably it’s a temporary appointment,” Abrahams said, “and also have none of the baggage that comes with being an administrator or faculty member.”
Board member Ray Gillen said that was considered, but there was little favor for that on the board.
Going with an internal interim president, he said, results in someone who knows the school and can help in the transition to the new president.
Gillen said Asselin’s appoint was “in the interest of continuity and the interest of keeping the momentum going.”
Asselin will be paid an annual salary of $155,000, the starting pay given to Bullock when he was hired. She will remain at that salary as long as she is in the post.
Bullock is leaving at a time of change at the school. SCCC is due to open its Albany branch in January, offering entry level classes there.
As for whether Asselin would be interested in putting her name into the search for the full-time job, she said it was early, but left open the possibility.