Dr. Thomas A. Isekenegbe Named President of Bronx Community College
The Board of Trustees of The City University of New York today appointed Dr. Thomas A. Isekenegbe, who has been President of Cumberland County College for the past six years, as President of Bronx Community College.
President Isekenegbe (pronounced "Secken-egbe") has an outstanding administrative, teaching and leadership record that spans nearly 30 years at both two-year and four-year institutions of higher education.
Chancellor James B. Milliken recommended Dr. Isekenegbe's appointment to the CUNY Board of Trustees after a national search, and the nomination was approved unanimously. The search committee was chaired by Trustee Valerie Beal and included trustees, a CUNY college president, faculty, students and alumni representatives.
As president of Cumberland County College, a community college located in Vineland, N.J., Dr. Isekenegbe has been a leader in developing high-quality academic programs that are data and employment driven. He has directed the revision and redesign of Cumberland County College's remedial courses and programming to fast track student completion and ultimately their success. The redesign has been driven by longitudinal data collected in both remedial math and reading, and under his direction the college joined the Achieving the Dream network of schools in 2010, which has enhanced the use of data to make strategic academic decisions.
In 2014, Cumberland County College was named to the White House Honor Roll for Service and Civic Engagement.
In 2013, Washington Monthly placed Cumberland County College at No. 29 in its annual ranking of the nation's best community colleges.
Board of Trustees Chairperson Benno Schmidt and Chancellor Milliken stated: "President Isekenegbe has an exemplary record of leadership and accomplishment at Cumberland County College and throughout a distinguished career that encompasses administration, teaching, scholarship and community service. He is deeply committed and focused on student success and completion and has developed and implemented effective strategies to enhance student achievement. We are confident that he will provide inspired leadership for Bronx Community College."
President Isekenegbe said, "I am honored and humbled by this appointment. I am looking forward to working with the Chancellor, faculty, staff, students, alumni and the Bronx Community to make Bronx Community College the best Community College."
Bronx Community College (BCC) was founded in 1957 to meet the growing need for access to higher education in the borough of the Bronx. The college's bucolic 45 acre, tree–lined campus is an intellectual oasis on a hill where students have access to over 40 associate and certificate programs. In 2012, the United States Department of the Interior designated a portion of Bronx Community College as a national historic landmark. Four of the landmarked buildings were designed by renowned architect Stanford White. The college's 100–plus year old campus is an exemplar of preservation and innovation, and the University's approved master plan calls for continued restoration of BCC's historic buildings and the expansion of teaching and learning facilities. In addition to a new state–of–the art library, there are major state and city investments to address capital maintenance and renovation projects in excess of $100 million.
Dr. Isekenegbe earned a bachelor's degree in biology with honors from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and a master's in science education as well as an Ed. S. and Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction, from Indiana State University.
As president of Cumberland County College, Dr. Isekenegbe has developed and implemented a community-based planning effort that resulted in the college's 2012-2017 strategic plan with three dimensions: Student Engagement and Completion, Leadership and Service Learning, and Economic and Workforce Development. The plan led to successful reaccreditation of the college by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. President Isekenegbe directed the redesign of developmental courses and programs to ensure students' timely progress, retention, and completion; developed partnerships with four sending high school districts that led to curriculum alignment in English and mathematics; implemented a College Readiness Now Program for high school seniors that reduced the need for remediation by 15% among incoming students; and developed and implemented the college's first Civic Engagement and Service Learning Plan.
Under President Isekenegbe's leadership, Cumberland County College has also revised and enhanced its "Pathways to Leadership" program of professional and personal development for faculty and staff and strengthened "Leadership Cumberland County," a citizen leadership program for civic, business and professional leaders in the county. The college also developed a physical facilities master plan that resulted in a new computer network building as well as additions and renovations of the administration and academic buildings, and the award of contracts for the renovation and addition to the student services building. Since 2009, there has been more than $25 million of capital enhancement to the college's campus.
President Isekenegbe has also collaborated with county and city officials for the cities of Millville and Bridgeton to open two instructional sites. In Millville, the Business Arts Innovative Centers, a $10 million facility currently under construction, will house the college's Fine Arts Programs. In Bridgeton, the college developed STEAMWorks as a makerspace for individuals and entrepreneurs. In addition, Cumberland County College solicited and received a $2.25 million Title III Strengthening Institutions Grant; a $1.5 million College Gear-Up Grant for low-income middle and high school students from Bridgeton, N.J.; and $1.7 million in New Jersey Higher Education grants to upgrade technology infrastructure.
From 2002 – 2009, Dr. Isekenegbe was Vice President of Academic Affairs and Student Services at Cumberland County College, serving as the Chief Academic Officer and Enrollment Manager for the college. Prior to that he was Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at Sussex County Community College from 1996 – 2001. He also served as Director of Interdisciplinary Studies at Coastal Carolina University, an undergraduate public university in Conway, S.C., from 1988 – 1996.
Bronx Community College's faculty includes scholars highly distinguished in their fields, most with Ph.D.s. Among them are prominent experts in the fields of arts and humanities, science, and technology, including nationally recognized composers, documentary filmmakers, and innovators in sustainable energy, geospatial technology and other cutting–edge STEM fields. BCC has an enrollment of 11,500, including students from more than 100 countries. Approximately 53 percent of BCC students are the first in their families to attend college.
The college's programs lead to careers or further education at four–year colleges, and BCC also prepares students for immediate employment by offering technical and career degrees, such as Environmental Technology, Digital Arts Design, Electrical Engineering Technology, Nursing, Therapeutic Recreation and Automotive Technology. BCC is the Bronx academic partner for START–UP NY, the state initiative providing tax incentives to high-tech companies that launch or expand in New York State. The college plays a prominent role as an engine for workforce and economic development in the borough of the Bronx and beyond.