Earlier this year, the University System of New Hampshire Board of Trustees selected Dr. Mark Rubinstein as our new president.
Since his first official day on the job, he has immersed himself in all things GSC.He visited the GSC campuses across New Hampshire as well as the Presidents and other staff at several of New Hampshire’s community colleges. Mark attended a reception to honor the recipients of the alumni merit scholarships. He joined the Graduate Studies reception. He even completed a 5K, albeit walking, alongside GSC staff members in support of the cancer center at a local hospital. Most recently, he has participated, formally, in his first Granite State College commencement (having attended last year’s event in support of a friend who was among the Master’s Degree recipients).
There are more meet and greet opportunities in the future. In the meantime, our blog team sat down with Mark to help introduce him to our GSC community.
Throughout our conversation, a few things were evident.
We compiled these insights into our top five things you should know about our new President:
Top Five things you should know about our new President:
1. Mark’s professional background
I spent the last 17 years at the University of New Hampshire: initially on enrollment and academic support programs, later student affairs, and briefly in advancement with fundraising, alumni, and communications. So I’ve had a pretty broad post-doctoral experience with higher education.
I’ve typically worked more on the student side of things and I guess I continue to look at it from that perspective: how’s the student experiencing the college and what can we do better to facilitate their progress through, and their success with, the college in ways they would define as successful?
2. Mark’s parents inspire his commitment to education
As a kid growing up, my father felt that if you had gone a week without reading a book that you have wasted a week. I didn’t fully appreciate that as a child. He had come here from Germany in ’38 with his parents. They viewed education as critical to finding their way in America. I grew up in a house with books and so, education was sort of just a given. I didn’t realize that this wasn’t everyone’s experience, but in hindsight, I realize the strength of that influence.
3. You (our students, alumni, and friends) are having a tremendous influence on how he views higher education
I had a chance to participate in the alumni merit scholarship program. I read the stories of the students being honored and got to understand a little more about the circumstances that brought them to GSC and the experiences they’ve had. For want of a better word, it’s captivating. Our students are impressive. There’s extraordinary diversity of experience and personal challenges. The way in which the college functions—whether through our online courses, the personal support that people find at our campuses, or the personalized learning assessment that recognizes and values people’s experiential learning—works differently for individual students, but these pieces come together to create the unique bridge that each student needs to be successful.
GSC is so markedly different than anything that I had done before that it really has opened up new possibilities for me to understand how higher education works and how it could work differently, and better.
4. How he approaches leadership
At one point in our discussion of his leadership style, Mark jokingly said: “you’d have to ask other folks.”
Well… we actually took his suggestion! GSC alum Paul Dean, B.S. in Criminal Justice Management ’04 and M.S. in Leadership ’14, worked for Mark at UNH.
Mark was constantly pushing me to move forward and reach my goals of becoming a professor.
Although the 2015 graduation was Mark’s first as GSC’s President, it’s the second ceremony he’s attended overall. Last year, far before his official introduction to Granite State, he attended our Commencement to support Paul.
Kidding aside, Mark spoke about the philosophy of servant leadership when describing his approach. It’s a model that shares responsibility and authority and puts the needs of others first in order to help them develop and perform to their full potential. It was a fitting concept. Throughout our conversation, it was clear that Mark’s focus is on the students and finding ways for the faculty and staff to help them find success.
5. Partnerships are important to him
As Mark settles in further to his role as GSC’s President, we can expect a leader who is our partner.
I feel like I have an obligation to the people with whom I work and to the students that we serve, the alumni whose degrees are valued by the reputation of the institution. It’s an obligation to do good work on behalf of the entire group. This is not something you do singularly. You do it as part of a team, so my goal will be to be a good steward to the college and fulfill my responsibilities to this team. I want to elicit good information from our students on ways we can enhance the quality of their experience and the value of their degrees. I want to work alongside with the faculty and staff to deliver a curriculum that’s relevant and focuses on our students’ needs for the future. At some point years from now, I want to be able to look back and feel like I did good work on behalf of the mission of the college and the people served by the college.
Stay tuned to granite.edu/mark to follow Mark’s first year as the new Granite State College president!