CSM new president finishes first week on campus
Meetings with campus leaders, strategic partners
Following a whirlwind first week, Maureen Murphy is settling into her new role as president of the College of Southern Maryland.
“It’s been just a lot of fun getting to spend some time with people,” Murphy said. “I’ve been trying to meet with all the people who report to me and understand what they do, and hear about their view of the college, and it’s heartening.”
Murphy took up her new duties as president of CSM July 3, visiting with departments and getting a feel for the La Plata campus.
“It’s interesting to get a sense of what’s going on in academic affairs, what’s going on in student services, instructional support, continuing education which is a real vibrant part of this college,” Murphy said. “All of those kind of nuts-and-bolts things.”
Murphy also met with U.S. Congressman and House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD., 5th).
“I am confident her years of experience in
the community college system will be exceptionally beneficial to CSM,” Hoyer said afterward in a news release. “I look forward to working with Dr. Murphy, as well as Ted Harwood, Brad Bates, and others, to build upon the success of former President Dr. Bradley Gottfried and ensure more students have access to quality, affordable higher education in Southern Maryland.”
During her first week, Murphy also had an opportunity to visit some of the Teens and Kids College programs.
“It’s a great program. It gets kids on a college campus so it’s not foreign to them, and they know to come here,” Murphy said of the program, which runs on campus throughout the summer.
Murphy said that in the coming weeks, she will meet with the leaders of the Calvert and St. Mary’s campuses.
“I’ll be spending a lot of time internally getting to know people, listening to them, just getting a sense of how everything here functions.
Murphy relocated to Southern Maryland from New Jersey on June 20, after leaving her former post as president of Brookdale Community College in Middletown.
Murphy said she has been in love with the concept of community colleges since she began teaching at St. Charles Community College.
“I thought that I had just died and gone to heaven. I could not believe what an incredible opportunity I had,” Murphy said. “I loved the opportunity to provide opportunities for students who might not have one other wise.”
Murphy had been teaching for English for 10 years before being offered an acting dean position at St. Louis Community College-Merrimac.
“In that time I was astonished by what I learned,” Murphy said. “I got a view of the college I had never had before; it provided context for me, and I realized that the job of an administrator was to clear the obstacles out of the way so teaching and learning can happen, and I liked that.”
Murphy was appointed president of Brookdale in 2012, where she initiated dual enrollment, free tuition and workforce development programs at the college.
Murphy said she first learned about CSM while driving through the area to visit family.
“Over the years — it’s a very small world in community colleges — I became familiar with some of the initiatives here, I saw presentations by folks from CSM, including Brad [Gottfried], the former president, and so I developed a familiarity with CSM,” Murphy said.
Murphy said she wasn’t looking to leave Brookdale, but the position at CSM found her, through a colleague who was also friends with Gottfried, and who suggested she would be perfect for the role.
After doing some research, she and her husband drove through Southern Maryland.
“I went home, thought about it some, and said, ‘Let’s try it and see what happens?’ And look what happened? Here I am,” Murphy said.
Murphy said she still has a lot of work to do to be prepared for the official start of the fall semester Sept. 5, including reviewing new initiatives and meeting with strategic partners.
“I have a lot of reading to do and a lot of things to get up to speed on, so I can be prepared for it,” Murphy said. “Once that semester starts, then things are going to roll.”