Wilfrid, a former township mayor and former
president of the school board, has added another leadership role to
Wilfrid is accustomed to taking on leadership
positions. He has served as mayor of Lawrence Township
and as president of the township school board, and he is currently the
chairman of the township Planning Board.
Now, Dr. Wilfrid has been
named acting president of Mercer
College. The Mercer County
board of trustees appointed Dr. Wilfrid, 58,
who is the vice president for academic and student affairs, to the post
This is not the first time that Dr. Wilfrid
has led the community college on a temporary basis. He has filled in
for Robert Rose, the college's president, twice when Dr. Rose was placed
on involuntary leave in 2003 and again earlier this year. Dr. Rose has
since been fired as college president last month.
Dr. Wilfrid said that as
acting president, his "top responsibility" is to help the
institution move forward during some unusual and difficult circumstances,
to affirm the important mission of the community college and to celebrate
the many good people who work or teach at the two-year school.
"This is a temporary assignment," Dr. Wilfrid said of his new position. "I want to continue
to move the college forward in a positive direction. I am proud to have
been associated with MCCC since 1969. I have had several different phases
of my career here, and each one has been interesting professionally."
Soil Road resident began his career as an
instructor in physics and math at the county college, and then rose
through the ranks to become vice president for academic and student
affairs in 1997.
Dr. Wilfrid earned a bachelor's
degree in physics from the New York City-based Cooper Union for the
Advancement of Science and Art in 1967. He earned a master's degree
in physics from Princeton University in 1969 and he earned a Ph.D. in education
from the University
Dr. Wilfrid said he plans
to apply for the top administrative post when the search for a new MCCC
president is formally begun. The school's board of trustees will conduct
the presidential search.
"(Serving as the college president) is the ultimate
opportunity for leadership in this arena where I have worked for 36
years," Dr. Wilfrid said. "I feel
prepared for it. Each presidential search is a function of the timing,
the trustee board and the candidates. There needs to be the right chemistry."
In the meantime, Dr. Wilfrid
said, there is much to be done. The college recently was re-accredited
by the Middle States Association, which requires schools to meet certain
standards in order to gain accreditation. MCCC went through a self-study
process that generated many new ideas to strengthen the school and to
equip it to serve the community for the next decade, he said.
The school also is working on its strategic plan for
2006-08. Some major priorities likely will emerge as a result of the
strategic planning process, he said. A strategic plan makes clear the
major goals for the organization over the next three years, he said.
It is similar to long-term planning, he added.
Dr. Wilfrid said some decisions
need to be made soon regarding the school's facilities. MCCC is in line
for some state funding, and decisions must be made on how to spend the
money, he said. For example, upgrades are needed to the heating, air
conditioning and ventilation (HVAC) systems.
The public should be reassured that MCCC is in good
hands and that infrastructure issues will be addressed, he said. The
college will be in good shape when the next president takes over, he
Under the leadership of Dr. Rose, he said, the faculty
has been strengthened and a systematic upgrading of offices and classrooms
had been taken. The West Windsor campus
opened its doors in 1972.
Dr. Rose added 25 full-time faculty members in the
past four years, bringing the total of full-time faculty to 138, Dr.
Wilfrid said. There are about 300 part-time faculty members.
About half of the courses are taught by part-time faculty, he said,
adding that he would like more courses to be taught by full-time professors.
"Fortunately, in this area, we have a large pool
to draw on for part-time instructors," Dr. Wilfrid
said. "The adjunct faculty gives the school access to a pool of
talent that is not otherwise available. The adjunct faculty gives the
school flexibility to meet changing needs and demands. They are a link
to the realities of the workplace in a variety of fields."
What is most important, however, is that MCCC gets
through the next few months in a healthy condition with community support
so that it is ready to focus on the challenges of the future, Dr. Wilfrid