A leader among us
Interim President Michael Bernstein sets the direction and vision of the college for the next two years.
Michael Bernstein has a lot of experience in higher education. He’s an author and an award-winning professor. He’s a seasoned administrator who, as provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, helped lead Tulane University’s recovery from the unimaginable impacts of Hurricane Katrina, which hit New Orleans in 2005.
Bernstein has even served as an interim president before, leading Long Island’s Stony Brook University during an academic year that included the initial months of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Experience does count for something,” he says. “There’s some wisdom that comes from that, but most of all, there’s a composure that comes from that. You don’t see anything you haven’t seen before.”
But he also knows his place as the “new guy” at TCNJ, understanding that he’s hopping onto a moving train, so to speak. “All of these folks around here know what they’re doing, and they’ve been doing this for a long time,” he says.
As interim president, he is charged with maintaining and creating quality academic programs and enhancing the student experience. He’ll need to balance those goals with fiscal responsibility, sustainability, and revenue growth. And while he’s contracted for a two-year stint at the college, he hopes to leave TCNJ in better shape than he found it.
That’s where the composure comes in. Bernstein doesn’t flinch when asked about the challenges of finding his footing at TCNJ. In fact, he smiles and welcomes what lies ahead, making it clear that student success is what drives him and keeps him coming back for more.
“Our students are happy going out the door,” he says. “We want it to stay that way. We’re going to get it right.”
Picture Anthony DePrimo
Posted on October 12, 2023