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TC Today - Spring / Summer 2015

TC Today - Spring / Summer 2015

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A Common Sense Advisor

Scott Fahey, Who Retired This Past Winter, Told It Like It Was

For more than a decade, TC’s Convocation has officially begun when Scott Fahey  stepped to the microphone and quietly intoned, “Ladies and gentlemen, please turn off your cell phones.” Fahey, who retired this winter after serving TC Pres­idents Susan Fuhrman and Arthur Levine as Chief of Staff and Secretary of the College, has clearly relished the cameo — not least because it represents a rare moment of community consensus.

“I remember a TC staff member once approaching me with a project and saying, ‘I really want to get the College on board with this. And I said, ‘Well, we have 150 faculty members, that would be a good place to start.” Fahey grins. “At TC you can have the best idea in the world, but if you don’t consult with the entire community, it’s likely to crash and burn.”

If the story captures the sometimes exasperating but ultimately “priceless” tendency of TC’s denizens to really, really care, it also distills Fahey’s preferred natural métier.

“When you advise the president of an institution, what you ultimately offer — maybe the only thing you offer — is common sense.”

Fahey started out as a “plain vanilla” English teacher and then worked in admissions and financial aid, in­cluding at Bradford College, where Arthur Levine was President. He left to start his own consulting firm, Fahey Associates (“a bit of an exaggeration — there was a Fahey, but no associates”), and it was in that role, in 1994, that he was again tapped by Levine, now President of TC, for a supposed six-week gig.

The years since have contained too many memories to enumerate, but a few stand out. There was the day Hillary Clinton visited campus and the Secret Service set up shop in Fahey’s office.

“I opened my door to go out, and there she was,” he recalls. “She spoke later that day without any notes, and I thought, man, this woman is bright.”

There was the death of student Ennis Cosby, son of the entertainer, who was shot when he stopped to change a tire on a freeway in Los Angeles. The tragedy plunged TC into mourning and prompted the normally even-tem­pered Fahey to ban the media from campus. “They were stopping everyone to ask if they’d known him, and it was just not the appropriate time.”

And there were the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

“The day afterward, the whole college met in the caf­eteria, and everyone was hurting,” he says. “It was terrible, but there was something very uplifting in the way people reached out to one another. I remember wishing the community didn’t have to be in this much pain in order to come together.”

Most of all, Fahey says, he will savor TC’s “height­ened relevance” and return to national and international leadership.

“When Arthur got here, there was a big gap between TC’s historical reputation and reality. He really had to put us back on the map, through departmental reorganiza­tions, bringing new members onto our board and, at times, through the force of his own personality. Susan has taken things to the next level. She’s created a policy department, launched a new public school, formed partnerships abroad.”

Fahey says he never imagined he would last at TC. “You shouldn’t overstay your welcome. The point is to be of service to the president and the board by offering your best counsel, so I always told both Arthur and Susan, if there comes a time when you’re not really listening to me anymore, I’ll be gone.”

That moment never came. It was Fahey who chose to retire, perhaps prompted by the fact that at this spring’s convocation, his daughter, Meghan, will receive her master’s degree in TESOL.

“It’s a good moment to exit stage left,” he says.

Ladies and gentlemen: turn down those cell phones. — JOE LEVINE

 

 

An Experienced Successor

Katie Conway (Ed.D. ’12, M.E. ’07, M.A. ’06) has been named Secretary of the College and Chief of Staff to President Susan Fuhrman. She will serve as a key liaison to TC’s Board of Trustees and support Fuhrman and her senior leadership team in advancing the strategic goals of the College. Conway, previously Deputy Chief of Staff, succeeds Scott Fahey, who retired in early 2015. n “Student learning and faculty scholarship and teaching are the primary focus of higher education, and of TC in particular, and the administration is here to facilitate that,” Conway said.

Published Friday, Jun. 5, 2015

A Common Sense Advisor

For more than a decade, TC’s Convocation has officially begun when Scott Fahey  stepped to the microphone and quietly intoned, “Ladies and gentlemen, please turn off your cell phones.” Fahey, who retired this winter after serving TC Pres­idents Susan Fuhrman and Arthur Levine as Chief of Staff and Secretary of the College, has clearly relished the cameo — not least because it represents a rare moment of community consensus.

“I remember a TC staff member once approaching me with a project and saying, ‘I really want to get the College on board with this. And I said, ‘Well, we have 150 faculty members, that would be a good place to start.” Fahey grins. “At TC you can have the best idea in the world, but if you don’t consult with the entire community, it’s likely to crash and burn.”

If the story captures the sometimes exasperating but ultimately “priceless” tendency of TC’s denizens to really, really care, it also distills Fahey’s preferred natural métier.

“When you advise the president of an institution, what you ultimately offer — maybe the only thing you offer — is common sense.”

Fahey started out as a “plain vanilla” English teacher and then worked in admissions and financial aid, in­cluding at Bradford College, where Arthur Levine was President. He left to start his own consulting firm, Fahey Associates (“a bit of an exaggeration — there was a Fahey, but no associates”), and it was in that role, in 1994, that he was again tapped by Levine, now President of TC, for a supposed six-week gig.

The years since have contained too many memories to enumerate, but a few stand out. There was the day Hillary Clinton visited campus and the Secret Service set up shop in Fahey’s office.

“I opened my door to go out, and there she was,” he recalls. “She spoke later that day without any notes, and I thought, man, this woman is bright.”

There was the death of student Ennis Cosby, son of the entertainer, who was shot when he stopped to change a tire on a freeway in Los Angeles. The tragedy plunged TC into mourning and prompted the normally even-tem­pered Fahey to ban the media from campus. “They were stopping everyone to ask if they’d known him, and it was just not the appropriate time.”

And there were the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

“The day afterward, the whole college met in the caf­eteria, and everyone was hurting,” he says. “It was terrible, but there was something very uplifting in the way people reached out to one another. I remember wishing the community didn’t have to be in this much pain in order to come together.”

Most of all, Fahey says, he will savor TC’s “height­ened relevance” and return to national and international leadership.

“When Arthur got here, there was a big gap between TC’s historical reputation and reality. He really had to put us back on the map, through departmental reorganiza­tions, bringing new members onto our board and, at times, through the force of his own personality. Susan has taken things to the next level. She’s created a policy department, launched a new public school, formed partnerships abroad.”

Fahey says he never imagined he would last at TC. “You shouldn’t overstay your welcome. The point is to be of service to the president and the board by offering your best counsel, so I always told both Arthur and Susan, if there comes a time when you’re not really listening to me anymore, I’ll be gone.”

That moment never came. It was Fahey who chose to retire, perhaps prompted by the fact that at this spring’s convocation, his daughter, Meghan, will receive her master’s degree in TESOL.

“It’s a good moment to exit stage left,” he says.

Ladies and gentlemen: turn down those cell phones. — JOE LEVINE

 

 

An Experienced Successor

Katie Conway (Ed.D. ’12, M.E. ’07, M.A. ’06) has been named Secretary of the College and Chief of Staff to President Susan Fuhrman. She will serve as a key liaison to TC’s Board of Trustees and support Fuhrman and her senior leadership team in advancing the strategic goals of the College. Conway, previously Deputy Chief of Staff, succeeds Scott Fahey, who retired in early 2015. n “Student learning and faculty scholarship and teaching are the primary focus of higher education, and of TC in particular, and the administration is here to facilitate that,” Conway said.

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