MCCC Supports Scholarly Achievements of Faculty Members Steve Voorhees and Andrea Lynch


WEST WINDSOR – Stay-at-home orders and business restrictions due to COVID-19 may have pressed the pause button on the world, but that doesn’t mean life and learning have come to a halt at Mercer County Community College (MCCC). This spring two MCCC professors, Steve Voorhees and Andrea Lynch, successfully defended their dissertations, which is the final step in obtaining a doctorate.

Voorhees, whose defense took place before a committee of four in March, earned his doctorate in Media Studies. Lynch, who defended her dissertation via teleconference before a committee of three in April earned her doctorate in Higher Education Management.

“Doctoral degree holders are highly regarded as experts in their fields, and MCCC is proud to have supported these individuals in their scholarly endeavors in raising the bar of teaching and learning excellence at MCCC,” said Dr. Jianping Wang, President of MCCC.

Voorhees, a full-time professor of Television, Digital Film and New Media at the college, began his pursuit of a doctorate at Rutgers in 2011. The title of Voorhees’ dissertation is “The Political Economy of Televisual Flow and Industrial Perception of Audiences.”

Voorhees explained how the college played a part in helping him achieve his dreams. “The administration all the way down to my faculty colleagues were supportive. Mercer has supported my research by affording me the opportunity to travel to and present at conferences around the country. For this I am very grateful because it allows me to collaborate with colleagues and discover innovative ways of enhancing the student experience in the media program at Mercer,” said Voorhees.

For his research, Voorhees interviewed 27 media industry executives to investigate the different strategies for managing, measuring and regulating media content, and then analyzed the potential impact on audiences.

Voorhees defended his dissertation at the cusp of the coronavirus health crisis lockdown.

“My defense was on March 9 right before social distancing had started,” explained Voorhees. “I'm very happy that I got to defend my dissertation in person, although my committee chair, Dr. Philip Napoli, had to take a flight from North Carolina to New Jersey in order to attend. Looking back, you could probably say that he took his life in his hands to support me. But that's Phil; it's been an incredible privilege and honor to work with him,” he said.

Voorhees’ journey toward his PhD was a long one, nine years from beginning to end. Things changed a little bit during that time. At the start, Voorhees was married with no children. “Now in the spring of 2020 I have two kids and am still working full time,” he said.

He explained how being a graduate student helped him relate better to his students at MCCC. “I was going through the same thing many of my students were going through,” said Voorhees, "so I would say to them, ‘Look, I am also a student. I know how it is to go to professors and need help.'”

Before he joined MCCC in 2004, Voorhees had completed his undergraduate studies at Rider University and earned a Master of Arts from Temple University. He possesses over 15 years of professional experience as a television producer and broadcast writer in conjunction with teaching at MCCC. He explained why he decided to continue his studies in the field of media studies. “I think my motivation was about being a well-rounded teacher,” said Voorhees. “Now I can pride myself in having feet on both sides of the field. I can wear the industry hat and still be an industry practitioner and then on the other side I can also be the critical academic.” He continued, “I like having the skillset to help students not only create media but then be able to think critically about it.”

Andrea Lynch is a full-time professor of Business and Technology at MCCC. She is the Study Abroad coordinator and is also in charge of the Center for Global Opportunities. Lynch earned her EdD — Executive Doctorate in Higher Education Management — from the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education. The title of Lynch’s dissertation is “Community College Internationalization: The Intentional Integration of Cultural Perspectives Into the Student Experience.”

Lynch defended her dissertation using online conferencing on April 16, “I will never forget it — at 2:15,” she said. “I defended using Zoom. Other schools use virtual defenses as a practice, but the UPenn programs do not typically defend remotely. This defense was an anomaly due to the pandemic,” she explained.

Lynch’s strong work ethic, her energy and focus along with her passion for people and teaching helped her through the rigorous, two-year accelerated program at the University of Pennsylvania. “It was one of the most challenging, interesting experiences that I have ever had in all my life,“ said Lynch.

Lynch explained that the program ran the coursework in tandem with the dissertation process which makes for a very intense experience. “I am a full professor and did not take time off. The program was called an executive doctorate program. I studied full time, taking courses one weekend a month for two years, very intense. I didn’t sleep a lot and worked through many, many, many nights,” Lynch said.

Lynch, who earned a Bachelor of Arts in computer science from Rutgers and a Master of Business Administration from Rider University, worked as a computer programmer for Bell Atlantic (now Verizon) before joining MCCC as a tech-prep coordinator in 1992. She left and then returned a number of years later as an adjunct professor while caring for her family. When a full-time position opened, Lynch accepted. While at MCCC she has amassed a long list of achievements including heading up the study-abroad program at MCCC and participation in fellowship programs through Thomas Edison State College and the American Association of Women in Community Colleges. The second led to Lynch’s development of Mercer County Community College’s strategic plan for community college internationalization which, in turn, brought about the creation of the Center for Global Opportunities at the college.

Lynch’s penultimate endeavor immediately prior to her work toward her EdD included participation in a fellowship for community college faculty members which came out of the Princeton University McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning. She explained, “It was year long and I did take a sabbatical for that year. I was able to take Princeton classes and had access to their library.”

While Lynch was at Princeton she began her research on Community College Internationalization and wrote a paper. “That, along with the recommendation of Dr. Wang and another well-respected individual helped me gain my acceptance at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education,” she said.

In the University of Pennsylvania program, Lynch was one of two faculty members representing community colleges. The remainder of the cohort were from four-year institutions. “I went into the program knowing that,” said Lynch. “I wanted to know higher education not just from a community college perspective. I felt that a program like this would help me see things from different aspects and I applied everything I learned there into the community college realm.”

Lynch plans to use her newfound degree in many different ways, one being in the classrooms at MCCC. She explained, “I want to be able to set the tone in my classrooms that people of different backgrounds can have opinions that are different than mine, and we all hear and learn from each other.”


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Mercer County Community College’s Professor Steve Voorhees recently received his PhD in Media Studies at Rutgers University. He defended his dissertation, “The Political Economy of Televisual Flow and Industrial Perception of Audiences” before a committee of four in March before the Covid-19 restrictions took hold.



Professor Andrea Lynch shown here just moments after she defended her dissertation “Community College Internationalization: The Intentional Integration of Cultural Perspectives Into the Student Experience” this past April.  Due to Covid-19, Lynch had to present her defense remotely. Professor Lymch earned her EdD from the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education.