The following is a release from Bunker Hill Community College. It has not been edited.
After more than 16 years of guiding unprecedented institutional growth and dramatic transformation, Bunker Hill Community College President Mary L. Fifield will retire effective June 30, 2013.
During her tenure, Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC) increased enrollment by 117 percent to become the largest community college in Massachusetts and the eighth largest public higher education institution in the Commonwealth with 13,400 credit students. Responding to continually increasing growth, Fifield presided over the establishment of a second campus in Chelsea and led the first new major construction in decades on the Charlestown campus - a 48,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art LEED Gold Certified Health and Wellness Center housing academic healthcare programs, a fitness center and gymnasium.
Under her leadership which fostered a culture of decision making based on data, the College carried out a comprehensive assessment of student learning outcomes; changed traditional classroom instruction into learning communities which earned BHCC the top award for excellence in academic programming from the New England Board of Higher Education; gained national recognition as a data-driven institution among 52 Achieving the Dream Leader Colleges; and was given the national award from the Association of Community College Trustees as the top community college out of 1,100 institutions for providing opportunities for people of color and women.
A strong proponent of strategic planning, Fifield created cyclical large-scale planning events involving hundreds of business, civic and government leaders joined by faculty, staff, student leaders, alumni and trustees. This resulted in College goals with budgeted action plans to ensure they were accomplished. Such shared planning led to dozens of strengthened partnerships and mutually beneficial initiatives with high schools, community-based organizations and businesses. An agreement between the College and the Massachusetts Competitive Partnership (MACP) is one example of collaboration that created a new “Learn and Earn” Program providing BHCC students with paid work experience and mentoring in high demand fields at some of Greater Boston’s leading companies. On campus, Fifield established programs such as the Student Emergency Assistance Fund to help students facing short-term financial crises and initiated new degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and other emerging fields.
Reflecting on Fifield's immense influence on the College, her civic involvement and uncompromising commitment to students, Board of Trustees Chair Jeanne-Marie Boylan said, "Due to her leadership, business and community leaders as well as hundreds of faculty and staff are directly involved in initiatives that are changing the lives of thousands of students every day. These efforts have resulted in the highest retention and numbers of students graduating in the College's history.