Dr. Iacono

President’s Corner

Dr. Tony Iacono
College President

I have always loved reading as long as I can remember. Growing up, our home was filled with a variety of books, magazines and newspapers.  My parents were big readers. They liked contemporary biographies, any topic in history and, in the case of my dad, any book related to baseball. In addition to the shelves of books around the house, trips to the public library and my school library were regular events that I relished. In second grade, I discovered Roald Dahl and read every one of his books with tremendous enthusiasm. If memory serves, I even faked illness to skip school and finish Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It was a good choice. I have no memory of the school work I had to make-up but I do remember spending a really good day living vicariously through my hero Charlie Bucket. Somewhere around fourth grade, I discovered C. S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia. Six books loaded with fantasy along with issues too complex for me to understand at the time. Lewis stirred my imagination for many years and gave me much to contemplate.  Unlike my parents, I spent most of my time reading fiction but I also enjoyed biographies of presidents, inventors and explorers. I’m not sure my parents were always aware of what I was reading but they always indulged me when I asked for a quarter to buy a comic book or even a dollar for two paperback books that could be purchased at the annual school book sale. When quarantined to my bedroom with chicken-pox in the fourth grade, my dad cheered me up by bringing me a copy of Rolling Stone magazine. This “life changing” moment introduced me to modern American culture and writing more colorful than I had previously encountered in the stories of Roald Dahl and C.S. Lewis.

I didn’t know it at the time but my love for reading was helping me develop a strong vocabulary, introducing me to complex and intriguing ideas, and allowing me to meet extraordinary people and creatures scattered across continents over eons of time. Granted, some of these beings never existed; yet I still counted them as my most adventurous friends.  In sixth grade, my teacher Mr. Shirer introduced me to local color through the writings of Mark Twain and, in a less definitive way, Theodore Taylor. I loved the hours he spent reading to his students and the way he brought Huck, Tom, Timothy and Philip to life. New characters to meet, new places to travel, and new words and pronunciations to master. My seventh grade year afforded me the opportunity to enroll in a humanities literature course taught by Mrs. Morganroth. The standout book that year was S. E. Hinton’s The Outsiders. High school exposed me to Emily Dickinson, Edgar Allan Poe, Walt Whitman, Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson. All were lost on me at the time. I instead gravitated toward Stephen King, a writer my high school teachers apparently found unworthy of attention. As a freshman in college, I took another humanities literature course over a summer semester. Through an exceptional professor, nineteenth century poets and writers who had previously escaped my attention came to life and have remained important to me ever since. It was also during this remarkable summer course that I discovered one of my two favorite books, the Odyssey. This summer course also introduced me to the Age of Enlightenment and the Romantic Era; and thus I found the second of my two favorite fiction books, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Imagine the power and influence of one professor during a short and well spent summer semester. Remarkable.

The opportunity to have read many books and articles over a period that spans a little more than four decades is not rooted simply in the previously mentioned acquired skills or the overwhelming joy of reading itself, but also in the ability to continuously improve my understanding of people, diverse cultures, organizational systems and more by studying history, literature, math, science, the arts, technology, anthropology, psychology, economics and more. Today, I continue to read both fiction and nonfiction. I begin each day by reading several online newspapers and a number of articles related to education, diversity, global and local politics, business, and innovation.  Since last summer, I have enjoyed and learned from numerous books including Edward O. Wilson’s Meaning of Human Existence; Yuval Noah Harari’s Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind; Bailey, Jaggers and Jenkins Redesigning America’s Community Colleges, James Donovan’s A Terrible Glory: Custer and the Battle of Little Big Horn The Last Great Battle of the American West,  The Third Wave by Steve Case, Geoff Emerick’s Here, There and Everywhere, and am finishing Susan Butler’s Roosevelt and Stalin: Portrait of a Partnership. In between, I snuck in a few fiction reads including One-Hit Willie by Daily Record columnist William Westhoven, Mitch Album’s The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto, and the William P. Young’s The Shack. Spring is here and for me that means Hemingway while summer almost always includes a reading of the Odyssey, a book so rich that I always discover something new. I still have a great library in my life and so do you. Just visit the amazing staff in the Sherman H. Masten Learning Resource Center. If they don’t have something you want, then ask them. They can probably find a copy for you. I’ll be visiting soon to request Agustin Fuentes’ new book The Creative Spark: How Imagination Made Humans Exceptional.

I hope you’re considering enrolling in classes this summer and I hope that at least one will have as deep an impact on your life as my freshman literature course continues to have on mine. More so, however, if reading is not a big part of your life, I encourage you to develop this habit until it becomes a passion. The benefits are overwhelming both personally and professionally. By the way, thanks for reading the Youngtown. I love this paper and am continuously impressed with the faculty and students who have made it a tremendous success and an indispensable resource at CCM. Congratulations to the Youngtown staff for winning numerous journalism awards recently.  I am hardly surprised but deeply proud of them. To learn more about the energetic and impressive team that produces the Youngtown, checkout my interview with them at: https://youtu.be/Y8nVP660LZ8 and while you’re at it follow me on Twitter @CCMProud and share what you’re reading. I’m always looking for something new!

Coffee talk: President Iacono addresses concerns

BY AMANDA ALLER 

Managing Editor 

County College of Morris President Dr. Anthony Iacono continued his caffeine fueled conversation tour on Wednesday, Nov. 9 to discuss any issues that might be plaguing the campus community.  

The first subject brought up was the feeling that there’s less community at CCM.

“When I first started working here, CCM was more of a community,” said Cheryl Smarth, department administrative assistant. “For example, I was walking out of Henderson Hall for lunch and there was a ceremony going on for Dr. Yaw and I was just wondering why the campus wasn’t made aware of that. I don’t think everyone needs to know what’s going on all the time, but that feeling of community is lost.The communication isn’t what it was. We just don’t get information that is truly needed or that maybe people just want to know.”

Joanne Goffredo, administrative assistant, agreed. She also said that people who are affected by decisions made at the college are not included enough in the decision-making process.

“We had an issue in career profession programs last summer when they were redoing the cafeteria,” said Goffredo. “We had the brochure out and we were not aware the cafeteria was going to be closed and I got calls from students. We didn’t know where to feed them.”

Iacono said that the brevity of his appointment thus far does not allow him to make the same comparisons as Goffredo and Smarth.

“I do sit through board meetings, and read the CCM memo, and read the student paper,” said Iacono. “The college council minutes are published consistently which tells you a lot about what’s going on. Mostly we just post right on the website for anyone to see.”

Iacono said they are working on moving away from text and including more video clips. He explained that there’s a lot going on in which people don’t know, which can be solved with a stronger focus on more internal marketing.

Another discussion point was “Guided Pathways”, which is a program which maps out a concrete academic plan and makes decision making much easier for students. It also gives frequent feedback so that students can graduate in a more timely manner. The CCM administration is planning to begin implementing this program here.

“The schools that have done this have found that it eases a lot of anxiety, gives them a very clear road map,” said Iacono. “It also helps students understand that if you move out of this realm, it’s going to change your graduation date and impact your financial aid, so that’s a big piece that probably in the new year we’ll unveil.”

Iacono said that there is a CCM app for iOS and android devices which is currently in the making and soon to be released in app stores to help students and faculty to be more connected and create a better sense of community. The website is also being worked on, with the goal to make it more navigable.

Jeffrey Jones, mathematics professor, posts videos of his math lessons on Youtube. He said it is so that when class is over, students still have the option to go back and review anything they might have missed.

“Jeff can’t go home with 100 students at the end of the day just in case they might all need him but he’s going home with them through his technology,” said Iacono. “So do we still need the math professors? Absolutely. But this is a good example of using technology to the best of your advantage.”

A concern raised was also the infrequency of CCM students graduating within two years of enrolling.

“The two year community college experience is not very common anywhere anymore,” said Iacono. “Most students at community colleges go part time. So getting done in two years assumes several things. It assumes the student will go full time and pass their classes continuously and not make any changes along the way. So if you’re going to enroll in 15 credits worth of courses, to pass all of them and make no changes, assumes a lot. It assumes the students aren’t working, and even if they are working, that they have few other responsibilities. Most students have more going on than just class. According to the average graduation rate, most students will take three to four years. My philosophy is, this is not a sprint.”

New president creates connections with campus community

BY AMANDA ALLER
Managing Editor

Dr. Anthony Iacono, former associate dean for developmental education and full-time professor of history at Indian River State College in Florida, shared his goals for the future of County College of Morris and his passion for creating a more substantial student success rate at a town hall meeting Wednesday, Sept. 14 among students, faculty and staff.

Iacono spoke of seeing more internships, service learning, success stories, of what sets CCM apart from other community colleges and why enrolling could open the door to opportunity.

Having only been at CCM a short amount of time, Iacono said things were going well “The first few weeks have been absolutely wonderful and principally what I’ve spent my time here doing, mostly on the campus and in the community, is meeting people and finding out what they do,” Iacono said. “What they think we do really well and what they think we could do even better, that’s been the bulk of it.”

Iacono said he likes to ask students to share the best parts of CCM, as well as the most challenging parts.

“The number one answer that I hear is that the professors are the very best part, but also the most challenging part,” Iacono said. “I think [this] is a perfect answer because they should be challenging you and engaging you and it’s really important that by the time you graduate, you’re able to say, ‘I earned my degree.’ Earning it means you got real experience, real knowledge, a great skill set, and you know how to think about things more critically and creatively and then communicate them well.”

Iacono is pushing for education that extends beyond the classroom.

“Really great critical things obviously are going to happen in the classroom and I’m really proud of the instruction that we offer there,” Iacono said. “But a really nice addition to your education is when you’re working out in the community, because it gets you to think about your future and your career.” “I’d like to see those kinds of opportunities expand enormously and I’d like to see our faculty have more opportunities as well,” Iacono said.

“CCM is not like other schools, I think it’s remarkable,” Iacono said.

Iacono shared some CCM based statistics, noting that 70 percent of the faculty here have terminal degrees, meaning either doctorates or masters. More than 60 percent are involved in research or engaged practice.

“If you look nationally and sit down and look at all the data, the faculty here is very, very unique,” Iacono said.

Iacono had nothing but positive words to share about his co-workers.

“I get to work with really intelligent, creative people, who are doing neat things with their lives which is really energizing,” Iacono said. “I’m very lucky to do what I do and to have great people to do that with every day.”

Next CCM president chosen

Anthony Iacono will succeed Dr. Edward Yaw Sept. 1

BY DEREK ALLEN
Editor-in-Chief

While the entire country may be gearing up for its 2016 presidential choice, The County College of Morris made theirs on Wednesday, March 16 when the Board of Trustees selected Anthony J. Iacono to be the third president in CCM’s history.

Iacono succeeds Dr. Edward Yaw, who has been in charge of the campus for three decades.

“I am deeply honored to have been selected as the next president of County College of Morris and I greatly appreciate the confidence that the search committee and the Board of Trustees have entrusted in me,” said Iacono. “CCM is an exceptional institution that has achieved significant success since its creation in 1968. For more than 30 years, it has benefited enormously from the vision and leadership of Dr. Edward Yaw, its Board of Trustees, its administrative team, talented faculty and staff, as well as members of the community who have dedicated themselves to creating a college that has changed countless lives. As an individual who is passionate about helping people improve their future through education, strengthening communities through partnerships, economic growth and cultural enrichment, and pioneering innovative approaches to learning, I look forward to leading CCM and working with a talented team of people who share that passion.”

Iacono is currently the Vice President of Academic Affairs at Indian River State College in Fort Pierce, Florida, a post he has held since January 2012. He has a Ph.D. in American History, which he started his career teaching at the University of Central Florida in 1998. He was a part of helping IRSC earn recognition as one of the top ten community colleges in Florida based on student success and has served as an advisor to the U.S. Department of Education.

“CCM has all the key components I want in a college,” Iacono said. “When I visited, I saw that faculty and students are really committed to pushing for that higher level of excellence.”

Iacono said CCM was the only school he applied to.

“I have every confidence that he will do very well,” said Yaw. “He has the appropriate academic credentials, he has the appropriate experience. I think he’ll do just fine.”

Joseph Ricca, chair of the Board of Trustees, said in an email that Iacono is an accomplished administrator with more than 20 years of experience in higher education. The Board voted unanimously to select him.

“We had a lot of very talented applicants, but ultimately his experience and the product of his work was what led us to choose him,” said Ricca. “His expertise in creating innovative approaches to teaching and learning, developing community partnerships and securing grants and other funding provides a distinct advantage as CCM seeks to build upon its record of success for offering high-quality academic programs … to serve the community and region.”

Iacono is slated to join CCM as a presidential nominee by Aug. 15. He will be officially named president on Sept. 1 pending Yaw’s retirement at the end of August.

“We will have an overlap of tenures to work with each other and make the transition as smooth as possible,” Yaw said. “I can provide him with my own impressions and insights.”

Iacono said he is thrilled about the overlap since it will be extremely helpful to him.

“I think that transition period is very smart,” Iacono said. “For the sake of orientation and gaining familiarity of the school, it’ll be great. Some schools do not do that, but I think it’s very wise. It’ll help me continue goals that are already set in place.”

Yaw said some of the challenges the college, and Iacono, may face in the future will be related to student success.

“We will always be challenged and will continue to be challenged by enrollment, by student success in terms of graduation rates and our retention rates,” said Yaw. “Trying to encourage our students to stay here to earn an associate degree before they transfer, since most of them transfer. We think it’s important to get their associate’s before they transfer, and many do. Our numbers are improving a little bit, and I’m hoping that will continue.”

Iacono said as an educator, his greatest focus is student success.

“I think he’s very personable,” said Ricca. “He’s responsive to what students need. He will become enmeshed in the student community. I think he’ll be a great fit.”

Iacono being chosen as the next president is the culmination of a seven month long search to a successor for Yaw. A committee was appointed to aid in the search, as well as the search firm Isaacson, Miller. The committee had 11 people on it, and was comprised of five trustee members (Stanley T. Omland, Jeffrey Advokat, Joseph Ricca, Joseph Weisberg, Barbara Hadzima), three union representatives (Stephan Kaifa, Shelley Kurland, Richard Burchfield), Director of Human Resources & Labor Relations Thomas Burk, CCM Foundation Chair William McElroy and CCM student Michael Masino.

When the search committee narrowed down the candidates to four, those four candidates met with students and faculty to discuss what they can offer to the college and get a feel for CCM.

“The search committee did an outstanding job of understanding the level of leadership the college is seeking and in selecting candidates for consideration,” said Ricca. “They established high standards, asked insightful questions, and diligently reviewed and discussed the merits of the applicants to select the best candidates. My fellow trustees and I are extremely grateful for the time and dedication the committee devoted to this process and for the input of the college community.”

Iacono said he does not want to begin his tenure as president by making a lot of changes.

“A lot of what I’ll be doing in the beginning is just listening and getting a feel for the campus, getting to know people,” said Iacono.