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An Interview with Acting President Darlyne Bailey

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Acting President Darlyne Bailey

Acting President Darlyne Bailey

The editors of Inside TC sat down with Acting President Darlyne Bailey recently to talk about her relatively new role, the challenges she and the institution face, and some of the initiatives she'd like to accomplish during her tenure.

Inside TC (ITC): What are the challenges that are facing the College right now?

Acting President Bailey (DB): We have some tough decisions to make as a College. The economy and the threat of war and terrorism have shaken apart the world we once knew. What we are facing, largely because of external circumstances, are dramatic increases in fixed expenses that greatly impact our budget. Like all other institutions-for-profit, governmental, and not-for-profit-we are forced to find ways to "tighten our belts." How do I, as the Acting President, help the community to understand that we cannot think in terms of "business as usual," especially when we're all seeking evidence of stability and security because the rest of the world is in total confusion and turmoil? Yes, these are tough months ahead, yet I have confidence in my faculty and staff colleagues' abilities to debate, unpackage and address the hard issues because of everyone's deep commitment to our College.

ITC: Can you tell us about what you'd like to accomplish during your tenure?

DB: Let me first say that while six months is a long time in an academic year, it's actually a very short period of time in the life of a college. So while I have big dreams, I'm trying to keep them "grounded" within the context of that reality and therefore setting goals that I can continue to work toward when I return to the office of Vice President and Dean.

So, I have three major internal goals. One initiative involves working side by side with Acting Vice President and Dean Aaron Pallas and our Teacher Education faculty preparing for the upcoming National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) accreditation in December 2004. A critical piece of that work is simultaneously finding the necessary resources to continue to sustain and enhance the other equally important academic areas of the College.

Another issue that is very important to me is the student experience at TC. This semester, I am looking forward to taking great steps toward a renewed Office of Student Affairs by, for example, beginning the recruitment of a high-level individual to lead that office who will ensure that our students realize how vitally important they are to this community.

My third major goal for this semester may be obvious from my response to your first question: presenting a balanced budget to our Board of Trustees.

With that said, I have to tell you that I do have one more initiative that sits right beside the three largely internal ones, yet is more boundary-spanning in nature. I have begun to use the President's Office to forge new partnerships between the College and others in our community.

ITC: For example?

DB: We have brand-new relationships with Riverside Church and Congressman Rangel's office to co-convene an alliance of concerned others to comprehensively focus on improved teaching and learning right here in what we have known as Community District 5. Not only has our Board of Trustees committed significant money to this effort, but on February 16th I was pleased to publicly thank the Riverside Church for their gift of $1.5 million for our Harlem Renaissance Project (see story on next page). Moreover, I am looking forward to upcoming meetings with other community leaders, including newly-appointed Region 10 Supervisor Lucille Swarn and continuing discussions with the Chancellor's Office.

ITC: What do you see are the noticeable differences between the roles of Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean and Acting President?

DB: As Vice President and Dean, 95 percent of my focus was internal, working very closely with faculty, staff, and student colleagues to manage the College's day-to-day issues. As I just mentioned, the presidency puts you literally on the margin where you have one foot in the College and one foot outside. I see my current position as one of a gatekeeper, securing and distributing information, money, and other resources that both come into and flow out of our College. Along those lines, another difference between the two positions is the incredible amount of speeches I'm asked to give and the multitude of requests about my opinion on an incredibly-wide range of subjects!

ITC: Have you found the experience of being the Acting President more than you expected it to be?

DB: No, not really, but I do wonder how it would feel to be the President when the outside world was a bit more peaceful and predictable…

ITC: Are you enjoying the job?

DB: Absolutely! I had hoped for a full experience and I'm certainly having one. This opportunity to work in this way with the best senior staff, faculty, students, professional and union staff, and Board is exhilarating and truly a major blessing in my life.

ITC: Thank you.

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