By Heidi Butler
April 07, 2011
Two long-standing and highly respected members of the leadership team at Northampton Community College (NCC) have announced their intention to retire by the end of the next academic year.
Dr. Arthur L. Scott, NCC's president since 2003, and Susan Kubik, vice president of institutional advancement and executive director of the NCC Foundation, have each served Northampton for more than 35 years.
As president, Scott has focused on leading a caring, fast-paced, high-performing institution around a strategic vision of access, engagement and excellence. Since he assumed the presidency, credit enrollment at the College has increased 49%. Much of that growth has been fueled by traditionally aged students and by members of minority communities. Minority enrollment at the College has risen 174% during Scott's tenure and the number of minority faculty and staff has increased by 66%.
Scott is a strong believer in educational access and the opportunity and benefits it provides. Each fall in a welcome message to faculty and staff, he has used the bully pulpit to extol education as a public good, warning that "the philosophy held by some to have the user bear the burden is not only short sighted but will also close the door to many talented and worthy students; students who are needed by a workforce struggling to stay competitive globally."
In support of educational access, Scott championed opening a center on the south side of Bethlehem. The Fowler Family Southside Center opened in 2006. Original projections called for 5000 students to be served within five years. That number was nearly exceeded in the first year. Recently, St. Luke's Hospital announced plans to move its community health clinics to the building and to partner with the College's allied health programs in meeting the community's health needs.
Also in support of educational access, the College, under Scott's leadership, will break ground this fall for a full-service branch campus in Monroe County. The 72-acre facility will serve the more than 2500 credit students currently taking classes at a much smaller branch. Anticipated capacity will be 5,000 students. The project, which at times has proven politically controversial, is being funded through a combination of state and gaming funds, involving no local tax dollars.
Other achievements during Scott's tenure include the extension of the Articles of Agreement between the College and its sponsoring school districts through 2056; the creation of a President's Leadership Institute to develop future college leaders; the successful completion of a more than $14 million capital campaign and a period of strong labor relations.
But many believe Scott's most notable contribution to the College is the most difficult to measure: his shaping of a college culture that members of the staff affectionately refer to as "The Northampton Way." According to Melissa Starace, director of alumni affairs, it is a culture that rewards dreaming big, working hard, and taking risks to create the best possible experience for students and to respond to community needs. "If you work at Northampton, you have to be action-oriented," she says, "and you have to treat people with respect. It's something we're quite proud of."
Kubik's work has had a significant impact on the caliber of Northampton's programs and its ability to keep tuition affordable for students. She is widely regarded as one of the most successful college fundraisers in the country. The College Foundation, of which she is executive director, is a four-time recipient of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education's Circle of Excellence Award.
Together Kubik, members of the Foundation board, and the professional staff Kubik recruited have developed a fundraising program that generates more than $2 million per year, built an endowment that provides more private scholarship funds for students than any other community college in Pennsylvania, exceeded goal in several ambitious fundraising campaigns, and written grant proposals that bring in over $7 million each year. The NCC Foundation Endowment was the fourth largest among community colleges in the country in 2010 as reported by the National Association of College and University Business Officers.
Dr. Robert Kopecek, NCC's previous president, worked with Scott and Kubik for 26 years. Asked to comment on their achievements, he says, "Art and Sue are two of the most talented and productive community college leaders in the nation. Both have spent their entire professional careers enhancing access to quality higher education. Individually and as a team they have focused on developing Northampton to be an outstanding institution that fosters the intellectual and social growth of all its students and works to improve the quality of life of all the citizens of the community. They are wonderful individuals whose work and contribution to the College and the community deserve the highest praise and thanks. It was an honor to have had the opportunity to work with both of them."
Scott's service to the community includes membership on the boards of the St. Luke's Hospital and Health Network, Lehigh Valley Workforce Investment Board, Lehigh Valley Industrial Park, Inc., Greater Pocono Chamber of Commerce and the Manufacturers Resource Center. During his tenure as chair of the board of United Way of Northampton and Warren counties, he was instrumental in the creation of one United Way for the Lehigh Valley. He also helped to found Leadership Lehigh Valley. He is a past president of the board of directors of Community Services for Children and past chairman of PA Campus Compact. In 2008, he was the recipient of the YWCA of Bethlehem Velvet Hammer Award for outstanding commitment to racial justice. In 2004 he was honored with the Inez and Edward Donley Award for Advocacy for Children presented by Community Services for Children.
Also a strong believer in "giving back," Kubik has lectured and published nationally on alumni support and fundraising. She was one of the first professionals from a community college to serve as chair of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), an organization whose members include advancement professionals from more than 3,400 colleges and universities, primary and secondary independent and international schools, and nonprofit organizations in 68 countries. She has been honored with the CASE/Commonfund Award for Institutionally Related Foundation Executives, the National Society of Fundraising Executives Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter's Outstanding Fund Raising Executive Award, CASE District II's Professional of the Year Award, and the Frank L. Ashore Award for service to CASE and the advancement profession.
"While Sue Kubik's unparalleled contributions to Northampton Community College are obvious to all, it is important also to acknowledge the remarkable leadership she has provided for many years to institutional advancement throughout higher education," says Doug Dibbert, president of the General Alumni Association at the University of North Carolina. "Sue has mentored colleagues not only at other community colleges but also at public and private colleges and universities across North America and Europe. We are all forever in her debt."
Curtis Simic, president emeritus of the Indiana University Foundation agrees. "The impact Sue Kubik has had on the field of advancement is multifaceted. First, she is a great leader as evidenced by her chairing the Board of Trustees of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. That Board includes representatives from tier-one public and private research universities, from four-year colleges and universities, from community colleges, from secondary schools and representatives from around the world in the field of education. By sheer power of her personality, her superb communicative skills, and detailed preparation, she galvanized that group into an action-focused force for education.
"The second major attribute that she brought to every encounter, was and is her genuine interest in assisting each person to be as effective as possible," Simic says. "Whether teaching an audience of hundreds, or counseling a colleague one on one, the commitment is the same - to give them the benefit of her experience on what to do and what not to do to help them along their professional journeys."
Karl Stackhouse, the chair of Northampton's Board of Trustees, says, "Northampton Community College and the communities we serve are very, very fortunate that Art and Sue have chosen to devote their entire professional careers to Northampton. Because of their leadership and the respect they've earned, the college has grown in stature. Even more importantly, their vision and hard work have given thousands of people of all ages and all walks of life the opportunity to learn and grow. Their influence truly will be felt for years to come. It has been life-changing for many people."
Scott and Kubik have agreed to stay until a successor for Scott is found. "Northampton has had only three presidents in its 44-year history," Stackhouse says. "All have been exceptional. Each leader brings different strengths to the position. We will be looking for someone to build on our past successes who has the passion for the community college mission that earlier presidents have had, with an understanding of the community, and with insights into the ways in which education is evolving." A presidential search is expected to begin shortly.