Michael Baston

President

Rockland Community College

CCA
Fellow

Michael Baston

President

Rockland Community College

Named one of the country's most Notable Education Leaders of 2017 by Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, Dr. Michael A. Baston serves as the 7th President of Rockland Community College in Suffern, New York. He is a national thought leader amplifying the role community colleges play in redefining educational success, leading diversity, equity, and inclusion campus-wide reform efforts, and developing executive leadership teams.

Dr. Baston is the chairman of the Black Male CEO Educators network, co-chair of Jobs For The Future’s Policy Leadership Trust, a commissioner of the American Association of Community College’s Commission on Institutional Infrastructure and Transformation, and a member of the National Advisory Board of the Center for Community College Student Engagement. Recently, he was selected as a Designer in Residence for Education Design Lab, a national nonprofit that designs, tests, and implements unique higher education models and credentials that address the rapidly changing economy and emerging technology opportunities. As a national Guided Pathways and Equity Transfer Initiative coach for the American Association of Community Colleges, he is noted for his work with two- and four-year college leadership teams around the nation, helping them integrate student success initiatives to advance college completion and labor market entry success. Dr. Baston also serves as a faculty advisor for Aspen Institute’s Community College Excellence New President Fellowship program, mentoring new community college presidents as they explore systemic issues affecting the educational access pipeline and student success.

Dr. Baston was named president of Rockland Community College in 2017. Under Dr. Baston’s leadership, he helped RCC launch a Hospitality and Culinary Arts Center, a new guided pathway influenced academic school model, Career and English Skills Academies to address middle-skills workforce needs, and secured $30 million in grant, capital, and other fundraising efforts, including back-to-back Title V Developing Hispanic-Serving Institution awards, the largest grants in RCC history. Dr. Baston’s Steps Beyond Statements Initiative has helped to signal specific steps that educational institutions can take to foster inclusive excellence.

Dr. Baston holds a B.A. from Iona College, a J.D. from Brooklyn Law School, and an Ed.D from St. John Fisher College. Dr. Baston received the National Council on Student Development’s Terry O’Banion Gold Prize in 2015 and the NAACP Community Leadership Award in 2010.

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