The Signal

Serving the College since 1885

Monday May 20th

TCNJ Board of Trustees considering permanent appointment of Interim President Bernstein, requesting feedback from campus

<p><em>Interim President Michael Bernstein may be appointed by the Board of Trustees to become the next permanent president (Photo by Elizabeth Gladstone / Multimedia Coordinator).</em></p>

Interim President Michael Bernstein may be appointed by the Board of Trustees to become the next permanent president (Photo by Elizabeth Gladstone / Multimedia Coordinator).

By Victoria Gladstone and Matthew Kaufman
Editor-in-Chief and Managing Editor

The Board of Trustees is exploring the permanent appointment of Interim President Michael Bernstein, according to an email sent to the campus community on Monday from Board Chair Rebecca Ostrov.

Roderick McDavis, principal manager and CEO of AGB Search, has been hired by the Board as a consultant to complete a performance assessment of Bernstein. McDavis will be conducting interviews with “key stakeholders” of the College in small groups on May 1 to hear their thoughts. 

“Critical to this process is your engagement and input,” Ostrov wrote in the email.

Members of the campus community who wish to provide further feedback to McDavis can email him at mcdavisr@tcnj.edu. All feedback is confidential.

“It will be particularly useful to hear your views on Dr. Bernstein’s leadership as it relates to the challenges facing our campus and the skills you believe necessary for the next permanent president,” said Ostrov.

In an interview with The Signal on April 16, Bernstein said that while some schools prevent interim officeholders from seeking permanent positions, his agreement with the College does not preclude him from consideration.

“When I was hired as interim president last July, the Board made clear to me that if I wished, at the appropriate time, I would be eligible for consideration for a permanent appointment,” Bernstein said. “In other words, I wouldn’t be excluded by nature of being interim.”

The interim president added that presidential searches can take anywhere from nine to 12 months, though this lengthy process could be avoided if the Board chooses to appoint Bernstein first. The board plans to meet in early June to make their final decision on an appointment.

Bernstein was originally hired to serve a two-year term following the sudden departure of former President Kathryn Foster, whose resignation raised questions after The Signal found she had been awarded benefits that would normally be given to a president who was terminated without cause, as opposed to one who voluntarily stepped down. Foster will be returning in the fall as a professor of political science.

Foster served as president for five years, while the two presidents before her, R. Barbara Gitenstein and Harold W. Eickhoff, both served for 19 years, according to the College’s website.

The College has seen a large amount of turnover in recent years, with the positions of president, provost, treasurer and several academic deans all being served by interims, so a quick appointment of a permanent president could bring more stability to the institution.

“I'm delighted to be part of the College,” Bernstein said during the April interview. “You know, I enjoy my job. All of the things I knew about the College before I joined the College, and all the things I've heard about the College since I joined the College, are all accurate and they have to do with the quality of this place and the effectiveness with which it executes its mission.”




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