Carole Berotte Joseph is the nation’s First Haitian born US College President, the fourth president of Massachusetts Bay Community College (MassBay) in Wellesley Hills, MA. She will be its first woman president since its inception. She served as the college’s chief executive for almost a year already, before becoming president. Dr. Joseph, the eldest daughter of a teacher and a nurse, knew growing up in Brooklyn that she wanted to teach. “On snow days and bad weather days, I would line up the kids and I would lead in playing school,” she recalls.
Born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Dr. Joseph immigrated to the United States as a young girl in 1957 with her family during the years of Haiti’s Duvalier dictatorship. She earned her Bachelor Degree (cum laude) in Spanish and Education from the York College of the City University of New York (CUNY), and a Masters degree (magna cum laude) in curriculum and teaching and in bilingual education from Fordham University. She received her Ph.D. in bilingual education and sociolinguistics from New York University in 1992. Berotte Joseph, 57, speaks four languages: Creole, French, Spanish and English.
A socio-linguist, Dr. Joseph entered the field of higher education as an adjunct lecturer in the Bilingual Education Program at the City College of CUNY. Within a year, she became a full-time faculty member and was instrumental in developing bilingual education programs for Haitian immigrant students enrolled in the New York City public schools. In 1996, Dr. Joseph became the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at Hostos Community College and was later promoted to Vice President for Academic Affairs.
Active in the Haitian-American community, Dr. Joseph is the immediate past president of the Haitian Studies Association, a university-based scholarly organization which provides access to resources and documents the history and culture of Haitians. Dr. Joseph has also served on the Editorial Board of the Journal of the New York State Association for Bilingual Education
As a staunch advocate of community colleges, Dr. Berotte Joseph’s vision is to make MassBay one of the premiere community colleges in the state of Massachusetts. My goal is to create a dynamic environment for students with the best faculty and the highest level of support services, says Dr. Berotte Joseph.
Dr Joseph believe Community Colleges are somewhat underrated and little recognized, but they play a critical role in our economy. Many times when there is a shortage of workers in a certain sector, such as nursing, community colleges are nimble and have an edge over four-year colleges.
Dr. Joseph, joined Dutchess Community College on October 1, 2000, provided academic leadership through the creation of seven new degree and certificate programs at the College. Many of these programs were initiated in response to community needs and developed collaboratively with community advisory committees and DCC faculty and staff.
Under Dr. Joseph’s leadership, the College expanded its collaborative programs with Dutchess County high schools, increasing the number of DCC credit classes offered to concurrently-enrolled high school students.
Dr. Joseph also active in the State University of New York Teacher Education Advisory Council, a group developed by SUNY Chancellor Robert King, in which she worked to create new teacher education templates for the SUNY system. She has also been active on the SUNY Professional Development Task Force, where she initiated discussions on the creation of a Distinguished Professorship Award for faculty members at Sony’s community colleges.
Dr. Joseph Also served on the boards of the Dutchess County Chapter of the American Red Cross, the United Way of Dutchess County, the Family Partnership Center, and the Hyde Park Recreation Commission.*