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A Look At A Tumultuous Year: Vice President Sees Having Interim Prez as ‘Best Thing’ For School in Transition

February 28, 2012 by admin

By Brian Deakyne

 Diana Phillips never thought twice about it.
     Well, maybe twice.
     After spending the last five years as the dean of technical education at Monroe Community College in Rochester, N.Y., Phillips had the option to take major positions at five collegiate institutions in the country, ranging from Ohio to New Jersey.
     “Brookdale was my first choice from the beginning,” Phillips said. “There was such a warm welcome from the faculty, and staff, and students that I had to overlook everything else that was going on.”
     Phillips took the job as the executive vice president for educational services on July 18, 2011, nearly four months after former President Peter F. Burnham left.
     “Dr. Phillips was the perfect fit for Brookdale,” said Dr. Carl Calendar, dean of English and reading. “She has a natural sense of our traditions and commitment to innovation, and she has the background to bring us to a more effective use of technology, college wide.”
     Dr. William Toms had become interim president back in March. However, the lack of a permanent president did have some effect on Phillips’ decision.
     “Any time you’re going into a position where you don’t have a long-term president, it’s nerve-wrecking,” Phillips said. “For this institution to have an interim president, it was the best thing that
could have happened.   
     “Having a president for such a long time, and then quickly switching to another one, it’s good to have an interim president to help that transition along.”
     Phillips, who earned her doctorate in social foundations of education at The State University of New York at Buffalo in 1995, has taught seven different classes over her career, served in the United States Navy for 14 years, and has played vital roles in numerous colleges across the country.
     In October 2010, Phillips created a White Paper: Restoring aid for non-credit programs at community colleges in New York State. She also made presentations at State College, Pa., Rochester N.Y. and Phoenix, Az. about multiple academic-related issues in 2009.
     Despite the circumstances at Brookdale, Phillips said the job brought no differences than any of her other potential future employers.
     “Taking this position here would be the same as taking it anywhere else. You still are dealing with faculty and staff, and working closely with students. The reception from everyone was so great here, that’s why I took the job here,” Phillips said.
     After being the EVP at Brookdale for eight months, Phillips said the day-to-day tasks of the job have not changed, although they might soon.
     “When the future president is brought in, he or she will change the landscape and future of the school,” she said, prior to Dr. Maureen Murphy being hired as the next Brookdale president.  “For me, the roles have been constant and they haven’t changed.”

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