Dr. Wilfredo Nieves, current president of Middlesex Community College, Middletown, will become the next president of Capital Community College, succeeding retiring president Dr. Calvin Woodland who has served as president of Capital since 2005. Dr. Nieves will begin his tenure July 1. Chancellor Marc Herzog and the Board of Trustees made the announcement on April 21.
In announcing his intention to retire from the presidency at the end of the 2010 academic year, Dr. Woodland encouraged the Trustees to carefully consider the college’s unique characteristics and needs in their search for a new president in view of the critical role played by the college in the state’s capitol city and in the Greater Hartford region. In consultation with Chancellor Herzog, the Board of Trustees undertook a review of the college’s history, its past leadership and recent achievements including the close partnerships developed with employers and community agencies in the area, its commitment to student success, and the challenges that face the college as it looks towards the future at its city-center campus. The Board and the Chancellor concluded that the college’s immediate and long term needs demanded an experienced, knowledgeable, and highly skilled educational leader to carry on the work that Dr. Woodland and his predecessor, Dr. Ira Rubenzahl, current president of Springfield Technical Community College in Massachusetts, had begun when the college moved to downtown Hartford in 2002 from its campus on the city’s western edge.
The Board of Trustees requested that Dr. Nieves, who has served as president of Middlesex Community College since 2000, take on this new challenge to provide the experience, vision, and inspirational leadership they believe are essential to support Capital, its faculty, staff, students and community advocates in strengthening the college’s integral role in the communities it serves, in engaging the businesses, industries and municipal governments in the region, and in fostering its ties to sister institutions in the community college system, and in the wider higher education community. Dr. Nieves has demonstrated leadership and relationship-building skills throughout his career at Middlesex and in his previous institutional leadership roles in Maryland and New Jersey and is well known and widely respected throughout Connecticut as an astute and dedicated academic leader who works collaboratively to create a shared vision and to build his college’s capacity to meet student needs.
Dr. Nieves has been an educator and educational leader in community college affairs for more than thirty years, serving as Vice President for Academic Affairs at Baltimore City Community College from 1995 to 2000, where he was responsible for the overall planning, management and evaluation for all educational programs and the support operations for the college’s academic affairs division. He was also involved extensively in community relations and in developing partnerships and articulation agreements with colleges and universities in the Baltimore region. Prior to arriving at Baltimore City Community College, Dr. Nieves was Dean of Liberal Arts at Essex County College in Newark, New Jersey, where he began his community college career in 1974 as an adjunct faculty member in the Psychology and Mathematics Departments. He was also an Associate Professor and Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at Essex County College.
At Middlesex Community College, Dr. Nieves has led the college for a decade in developing campus facilities, academic and community initiatives, and fund raising efforts. On the system level, Dr. Nieves serves as the presidential liaison to numerous system councils including the Council of Academic Deans, the Information Technology Policy Committee, and the Developmental Education Initiative. Dr. Nieves also served as the Interim President of Naugatuck Valley Community College upon the retirement of Dr. Richard Sanders in 2007 until the appointment of Dr. Daisy Cocco DeFilippis in 2008. A well-qualified, thoughtful person of vision with a collaborative leadership style, Dr. Nieves brings an understanding of the major issues and opportunities for community colleges in the next decade and of innovative methods through which an institution can develop and succeed in a challenging environment.
Dr. Nieves earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mathematics from Kean University, Union, New Jersey. He holds a Master of Arts in Guidance and a Master of Education in Applied Human Development, both from Columbia University, New York, and a Doctor of Education in Counseling Psychology from Rutgers, New Brunswick, New Jersey. The Trustees and Chancellor Herzog are confident that under the leadership of Dr. Nieves, Capital Community College will prosper as an important center of educational opportunity throughout the Greater Hartford region.
Dr. Nieves will begin a period of transition in the coming weeks in close partnership with Dr. Woodland as he prepares for a well deserved retirement and continued work with Achieving the Dream, a national student success initiative that Dr. Woodland spearheaded at Capital beginning in 2005.
Throughout the coming months, the leadership transition process at Capital will involve a series of college meetings for Dr. Nieves with all members of the college’s management team, its administrators, faculty, staff and student groups. These meetings will provide the opportunity for Dr. Nieves to be engaged in a planning process that will analyze the college’s internal and external environments, its current capacity and challenges, its potential to grow and prosper, and the levels of public and private support needed to ensure the college is able to fulfill its educational mission and to meet the needs of the students and communities it serves. In responding to the announcement of his selection as Capital’s next president, Dr. Nieves cited the words of U.S. Poet Laureate Kay Ryan in describing community colleges as “efficient, hopeful and egalitarian institutions [dedicated to] saving lives and minds.” He also expressed his gratitude to the Board and the Chancellor for their faith in him and his ability to lead Capital Community College in finding new opportunities to “save lives and minds.”