Advocating for Community Colleges

Onondaga Community College Political Science Professor Nina Tamrowski just completed four years as a member of the SUNY Board of Trustees.

Onondaga Community College Political Science Professor Nina Tamrowski recently wrapped up her service to the SUNY system. She just completed four years as a member of the SUNY Board of Trustees, a seat she earned as president of the Faculty Council of Community Colleges. “It was an incredible privilege to represent community colleges and faculty, and an amazing opportunity to get a 360-degree perspective on higher education in terms of policy and implementation. It was really fascinating.”

Tamrowski began teaching at OCC in 1991. Her decades spent on a community college campus gave her a unique perspective when interacting with fellow trustees. “It was important to bring forward how things work on a campus in a beneficial way so it leads to better policies. It was important to remind trustees we have local boards and local sponsors. Each of SUNY’s 30 community colleges has 30 different labor contracts and different budget structures. The SUNY Board doesn’t have the same authority over us they have over four-year schools.”

Serving on the SUNY board also impacted Tamrowski’s impression of her home college. “I look at OCC much differently than I did four years ago. I have a much better perspective on how we run things. I sympathize with financial problems more than I would have. (OCC President) Casey (Crabill) is thought of very highly in Albany.”

With New York State’s changing demographics and colleges battling enrollment challenges Tamrowski sees big decisions ahead related to the future of SUNY’s 30 community colleges. “I have concerns about all of them being around in 10 years. There may be some consolidations down the road. I think those conversations need to be transparent. Everything needs to be done carefully and thoughtfully.”

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