Breaking Student Experience Barriers

The American Association of Community Colleges reported that 62% of students hold a job while attending school full-time.

In this episode, Dr. Michael Baston, President of Rockland Community College (RCC), talks through his definition of experience at RCC. He discusses both the missteps his college has made and the transformation of RCC’s experience design while unraveling the importance of accepting responsibility for student success as educational leaders. Dr. Baston reveals the logistics of the Student Success Team, along with the use of technology in a human-driven enterprise, and the fragile courage of many community college students as the key components in defining the educational experience at RCC.


About Dr. Baston

Dr. Michael A. Baston is the 7th President of Rockland Community College. A national leader who helps develop comprehensive supports that foster college completion, Dr. Baston’s work has been featured on MSNBC, and in The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Atlantic, The Community College Times, and Black Enterprise Magazine. Additionally, he’s a contributing author to Race, Education, and Reintegrating Formerly Incarcerated Citizens and The Handbook for Student Affairs in Community Colleges.

Dr. Baston was a member of the inaugural class of Aspen Institute Presidential Fellows for Community College Excellence where he explored systemic issues affecting the educational access pipeline and student success. As a national Guided Pathways coach for the American Association of Community Colleges, he is noted for his work with college leadership teams around the nation, helping them integrate student success initiatives to advance college completion. Dr. Baston is the incoming Co-Chair of Jobs For The Future’s Policy Leadership Trust, a Commissioner of American Association of Community College’s Commission on Institutional Infrastructure and Transformation and member of the National Advisory Board of Center for Community College Student Engagement.

Dr. Baston began his career as a public interest lawyer representing various educational institutions and social justice organizations. His work with academic clients led him to pursue a second career in academia as both a professor of legal studies and business and a student affairs administrator. Dr. Baston holds a BA from Iona College, a JD from Brooklyn Law School, and an EdD from St. John Fisher College.


Dr. Michael Baston


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