New chancellor stresses building a 'learning college' during inauguration speech McPhail takes over Balto. County system

October 04, 1998|By Dail Willis | Dail Willis,SUN STAFF

Saying "I accept the challenge," Irving Pressley McPhail was inaugurated as chancellor of the Community College of Baltimore County yesterday.

The academic ritual formalized a process that began in February, when the 49-year-old Harlem native was hired to lead the three-campus community college system that has endured questionable management and quarrelsome relations among faculty, staff and the board of trustees. The previous chancellor, Daniel J. LaVista, was fired last year.

Speaking to a crowd that filled the auditorium of the Catonsville campus' performing arts center, McPhail promised to turn the community college system into a "learning college" where education is the top priority.

"Our five-year strategic plan, Learning First, is organized around a core strategic direction, student learning," McPhail said in his inaugural address. "Faculty and staff must enter into a partnership with students that fosters learning. Today I accept the responsibility for not only framing the agenda, Learning First, but also driving it to a conclusion. I expect to be accountable but also to be bold. We do not intend to fail -- today we begin the march toward the learning revolution."

His remarks drew a standing ovation from the crowd. After the ceremony, McPhail accepted congratulations and good wishes from faculty, staff and dignitaries.

"You made your history -- beautiful words," Ebele Noxolo Oseye, an English professor at Pace University, told her former colleague.

McPhail, educated at Cornell and Harvard universities and the University of Pennsylvania, has held academic and administrative positions at Pace, LeMoyne-Owen College, Delaware State University, the University of Maryland, College Park, Morgan State University and St. Louis Community College.

"We've all heard so much about the learning college -- I think we're ready to stop hearing about it and get working on it," said Margy McCampbell, an English professor at the Catonsville campus.

Pub Date: 10/04/98

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