LA PLATA, Md. — College of Southern Maryland (CSM) President Dr. Maureen Murphy has introduced that she is going to enter retirement Dec. 31, 2022. During her 5 years with CSM, Murphy has repeatedly proved herself as a dynamic problem-solver and forward-thinker with a deep dedication to fairness in schooling and to executing the mission of neighborhood faculties.
In her announcement letter, Murphy informed CSM school, workers and college students that her time at CSM has been the very best a part of her profession.
“My decision was difficult, largely because my time working here alongside all of you has been the best part of my career,” she shared. “Our school is among the many finest within the nation—and that’s due to the fervour that every one of you deliver every day to the work of serving our college students.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused all of us to reassess our priorities,” she continued. “Honestly, the distance from my family over the last two years of pandemic work has been difficult for me, and like many others at the college who have recently announced their retirements, I look forward to the flexibility to spend time with family.”
Murphy and her husband Joe McArdle have two sons, one dwelling within the southwest and one dwelling overseas. Last week, they have been reunited as a household in Germany for the primary time in 5 years.
“Together we have accomplished much these last several years, and I know all of you will continue the essential work of helping our students achieve their goals,” Murphy continued in her message to the CSM staff. “The College of Southern Maryland is critical to the economic health of our region and your collective drive, passion, and innovative spirit make it possible.”
A Legacy of Equity Work
Murphy’s profession in public increased schooling spans greater than 35 years, together with 15 years as a neighborhood school president. In July 2017, she turned the fifth president of CSM – a multi-location, regional school in Maryland with 4 campuses, the Velocity Center at Indian Head and the Center for Transportation Training. Since her arrival, CSM has twice been acknowledged as among the many high 150 neighborhood faculties within the nation by the Aspen Institute in its Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence Program. More not too long ago, CSM joined the Achieving the Dream Network supporting the faculty’s dedication to fairness in instructional alternatives and outcomes. CSM additionally obtained high rankings in 2020 from Wallet Hub for offering college students with reasonably priced and accessible programming whereas sustaining good teacher-student ratio, switch charges and outcomes – touchdown CSM within the quantity 15 place of “best community colleges” out of 698 neighborhood faculties throughout the nation.
“It is with mixed emotions that we celebrate the news of Maureen’s retirement,” mentioned CSM Board of Trustee Chair Jay Webster. “She has changed for the better the structure, value, and accessibility of our beloved community college in Southern Maryland, and for that, we will be forever grateful.”
Webster went additional to laud Murphy for her steering throughout a worldwide pandemic and the social justice points which have confronted the nation in recent times.
“Many community college presidents navigated these perilous times, but in my opinion, none did so with the degree of confidence, clarity, vision, and humanity that I attribute to Maureen,” he mentioned. “Each time a disruption to students’ lives erupted due to the changing political landscape or the pandemic, Maureen immediately focused on her students’ safety and holistic well-being. She leads by example, and the board witnessed first-hand as she communicated her vision and empathy to staff and faculty that elicited a sustaining response, ensuring students had emotional support, food, technology, access to support systems, and financial resources – again and again. Our staff and faculty have experienced the comfort of having a leader who created connection and security during a very tenuous time as we navigated the pandemic together.”
Referring to Murphy as “a passionate leader for equity and social justice,” Webster expressed gratitude.
“We are going to miss her immensely,” he mentioned. “Her leadership style in pursuit of those principles has always been thoughtful and inspiring.”
Further demonstrating her dedication to fairness Murphy donated a legacy present to CSM to launch the now absolutely endowed Distinguished Professor of Equity in Education. She created the $75,000 endowment in fall 2021 to assist a particular professor every year who will mobilize fairness programming for school, workers, directors, college students, and Southern Maryland.
“CSM is social justice through education,” Murphy defined of her present. “It exists solely to provide programs and services that support the social and economic mobility of people in the Southern Maryland region. We put equity in action, and the root of that action is in the classroom – irrespective of discipline – between professors and students. This work requires the continual commitment and professional development of excellent and committed faculty.”
“Equity has been her life’s work,” Webster added. “And Southern Maryland has benefited greatly because of it.”
A Winding Road of Learning
Murphy’s personal instructional journey was neither direct nor conventional. “You come to education when you’re ready,” she shared. “Once I got going in college, I kept going and became a lifetime student.”
Murphy “got going” in academia after highschool, however she labels that call as “a non-decision.”
“I went to college because you were expected to do something after high school,” she defined. “I had an option to work as a bank teller, but back then there were actual bars on the teller windows, and I couldn’t imagine a work environment with metal bars between me and my customers.”
As a declared theater main, Murphy mentioned she “did not do well” throughout her first try at school. “In fact, I was invited not to return. I really thought I was going to do great, but there were theater students who were so much better than me, and they weren’t getting jobs. Frankly, I was tired of going to school and realized I wasn’t where I was supposed to be. I wanted to experience some things in life – much like our students want too today.”
Eventually Murphy and McArdle married, and she or he turned a brand new mother to their toddler. It was then she realized her thirst for extra challenges and alter. Thirteen years after her first try at school and weeks away from delivering her second son, Murphy graduated with a bachelor’s diploma in English from the University of Louisville. She developed a deep love for writing and studying literature and have become a lover of all issues English. Soon after, she earned her grasp’s diploma in English from the University of Missouri—Columbia and virtually 10 years later, she earned her Ph.D. in American Studies from Saint Louis University (SLU). She authored her dissertation, entitled “Daughters of Same Spade,” on American feminine personal eyes in fiction. It was throughout her grasp’s program that her college supplied her a educating job with a stipend and tuition help. She mentioned that provide is when she virtually instantly understood her calling: “Turns out, I really liked teaching and was good at it.”
But it wasn’t till an costly residence enchancment challenge required further funds within the Murphy/McArdle residence that Murphy found her true ardour. She picked up a few educating sections at her area people school and “it was akin to St. Paul being knocked off his horse on the road to Damascus,” she laughed. “It was my conversion. There were so many students from so many backgrounds. I fell in love with the notion and mission of community college on the spot.”
So, Murphy utilized for a full-time English professor opening at St. Louis Community College and was chosen for the place from greater than 400 different candidates. She calls her time there transformational.
“I was the first English professor hired there in seven years and I had this amazing cadre of experienced professors who wanted to mentor me,” she shared. “I am forever indebted to them. I learned how to be a coach and received phenomenal personal and professional development.”
After quite a few school experiences, she rose to administration on the St. Louis Community College District because the dean of Mathematics and Communications. From there she was promoted to vp of Instruction and Student Development at Wytheville Community College, then to vp of Instruction and Student Development within the Virginia Community College system. Her first school presidency was at San Jacinto College district in Texas. Before coming to CSM, she spent 5 years as president of Brookdale Community College in New Jersey.
“For my first presidency, I was the fourth woman to hold the position,” she defined. “When I was at Brookdale, I was the first woman to ever hold the position. It was an interesting paradigm shift for me to go from ‘one of many’ to ‘the first,’ and it was a stark reminder about how far we’ve come as women in the workforce. I learned important lessons along the way that allowed me to be even better prepared to take the helm at CSM.”
Reflections on Changes in Community Colleges
From the place Murphy sits at the moment, she mentioned the largest shift in neighborhood school schooling through the years has been watching its mission shift from focusing solely on entry, to specializing in scholar success and measuring outcomes.
“It has absolutely flipped how we do work and what we see as valuable,” she mentioned. “Examining knowledge has elevated our fairness work in a manner that’s palpable. It is irresponsible to not do one thing with the information, however once I first began, we’d have appeared on the numbers and mentioned, ‘Oh, that’s simply the best way it’s.’
“Another change is when I started in community colleges, we were truly anti-establishment and revolutionary, and that really appealed to me,” she shared. “Honestly, we thought we were saving the world. We were fighting for people who would not have otherwise had an education. But today, we’re the main show! Today there are doctorates being offered in community college administration and leadership. How amazing is that?”
And the president mentioned she remains to be stunned that some folks don’t notice the inherent worth of CSM.
“This college is excellent,” she mentioned. “It has a great reputation although it was one that wasn’t widely known. Now we are getting national attention as being among the best.”
Murphy cites geographical isolation as CSM’s problem.
“CSM has little competition,” she identified. “Our competition is students not going to college, and unfortunately right now that is fierce competition. We are not competing with the four-year institutions for our students. We’re fighting with the job market for our students. That’s why it is so important for community colleges to retool themselves to further support our businesses – large and small. We must recognize ourselves as economic drivers.”
An Innovator Innovating
Under Murphy’s steering and management, CSM’s successes have been many. During her tenure, CSM launched the Velocity Center, a collaboration among the many school, U.S. Navy and native governments with the purpose of accelerating STEM attainment within the area and retaining a extremely certified workforce for the naval bases in Maryland. The school’s function within the financial revitalization of Indian Head obtained nationwide recognition when it earned a Silver Award from the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) in the true property and reuse class. Most not too long ago, CSM earned the Sustainability Growth Award from the Maryland Department of Planning for the middle.
Murphy oversaw the event and present development of CSM’s Center for Health Sciences. The Center for Health Sciences would be the second constructing on CSM’s Regional Hughesville Campus and can function a central location for the faculty’s well being applications and instruction. She was additionally instrumental in establishing the Senator Thomas V. ‘Mike’ Miller Jr. Center for Leadership on the Prince Frederick Campus.
Initiating software program improvement and cybersecurity initiatives; growing a brand new three-year strategic plan; securing greater than $6 million in donations; upgrading antiquated challenge administration software program; realigning CSM by operate to scale back the variety of government positions; and securing sources to construct deeper programing for the trades, workforce improvement, and highschool college students – are a part of the job description, Murphy shared.
“Those things, along with budget unification, reorganization and such, well that’s my job,” she mentioned. “There are so many other things that we have done at CSM in just five years that I am most proud of and will carry with me always.”
Chief amongst them, she mentioned, are the teamwork and dedication proven by school, workers and college students through the pandemic.
“We’ve experienced a lot together in a short amount of time. And through it all, it was always about caring for our students. You don’t go through a long, natural disaster that basically shut down the world and not come out of it closer.”
She mentioned she can be gratified by CSM’s dedication to each Achieving the Dream and participatory governance.
“This college has done phenomenal work not just in its quest for equity for students, but also for equity in their own careers through participatory government,” she mentioned. “I believe in equity and that everyone’s voice matters. Before I arrived, our folks didn’t know how decisions were being made, and it is particularly important to me – and to the success of this institution – that the right decisions are getting made with transparency and input from all stakeholders.”
To get to those choices, you will need to encompass your self with consultants, she added.
“I’ve never been the smartest person in the room, but I am most certainly surrounded by the smartest people at this college,” she mentioned. “Now we are making informed decisions based on real data and strategic plans that everyone had a hand in developing and everyone understands. I am extremely proud of these accomplishments.”
In addition, throughout her CSM tenure, Murphy was acknowledged by Diverse Issues in Higher Education as one in every of 25 influential girls in increased schooling. Her nationwide presence as a fervent advocate for neighborhood faculties has been demonstrated on the Board of Directors for the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC). Additionally, she has served as a commissioner on the AACC Commission for Institutional Infrastructure and Transformation (chaired), the Commission on College Readiness (chaired), and the Commission on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (three phrases). She has served on the board of the American Association for Women in Community College’s (AAWCC) and is a previous president of AAWCC.
She was concerned with the Board for the Higher Education Research and Development Institute (present chair), and in fall 2020, she was appointed to the Presidents’ Advisory Council for the National Junior College Athletic Association. Her profession has garnered her quite a few different honors together with the Shirley B. Gordon Award of Distinction by Phi Theta Kappa, the Distinguished Corporate Leadership Award by the Greater Red Bank NAACP and the Carolyn DesJardins CEO of the Year Award by AAWCC, and The Innovator of the Year Award, League for Innovation within the Community College for General Education.
Locally, Murphy serves on the Southern Maryland Workforce Development Board, Charles County Economic Development Advisory Board and she or he has been lively with Christmas in April in St. Mary’s County. She at present sits on the Board of Advisors for the University System of Maryland at Southern Maryland (USMSM).
Roads Less Traveled
As for her time in Southern Maryland, she mentioned she and her husband have loved their wanders.
“Southern Maryland is truly beautiful,” she shared. “There are a lot of roads less traveled around here, and we have loved seeing the countryside, waterways, and end of the roads. I am going to miss everything and everyone. This is a great place to live and work.”
Murphy’s retirement plans – to this point – contain spending prolonged time with household, including extra rescued fur infants to her residence, studying, wandering, cheering for the Green Bay Packers of which she is a proud fan-owner, and naturally, studying.
“Until December, I’ll be here working alongside my team to continue the important work of CSM. I promise I won’t get ‘short-timer’s syndrome,’” she supplied. “There’s always lots of work to do!”
To facilitate the management transition, CSM’s Board of Trustees has chosen RH Perry and Associates to coordinate a nationwide search. The firm’s presidential search work will start later this spring. The new president is anticipated to start Jan. 1, 2023.