During a week in which the civil rights community is gathering to remember the remarkable life and legacy of Medgar Evers, who was slain June 11, 1963, the college named after him in Brooklyn is in the process of significant changes, including the selection of three finalists to fill the post of departing President William Pollard.
In the last few days Medgar Evers College has announced the appointment of a new Chief Librarian and a new Director of Human Resources.
Dr. David Orenstein has been chosen to succeed Brian Lym as the Chief Librarian of the Charles Evans Inniss Memorial Library. Among his duties will be the integration of the library’s resources with the school’s curriculum and researching facilities, as well as coordinating programs between students and faculty.
“David joins Medgar Evers at a great time as we renovate and transform our library,” said President Pollard. “His energy and expertise are critical as we look at how library services are being delivered both from a traditional perspective and in an evolving technological world.”
With a wealth of academic and library science training, Dr. Orenstein appears to be more than capable of assuming this important post at the college. He has served as Dean of Academic Affairs and was a Professor of Anthropology with the responsibility of oversight of the library.
“A higher education not centered on learning the importance and diligence of how to research and think critically is only a partial education,” Dr. Orenstein said in a press release from the school. “We are building now in this library both literally and figuratively as we look to our immediate needs and those of future generations of students and faculty who will make Medgar Evers College their home. We must make sure each is prepared for a successful experience that keeps them coming back for the quality of the information and service we provide.”
The development of the Library’s 150,000 volume collection and its resources meet the educational and research needs of the students, faculty and administration. The library collection also includes more than 25,000 audiovisual items and approximately 350 subscriptions to journals, magazines and newspapers.
In addition, the Library also houses the college archives and special collections. Attention has been given to increasing the library’s collection in the areas that characterize the life and legacy of Medgar Wiley Evers, such as African American history and culture, Caribbean studies, ethnic studies and women’s studies.
Tanya E. Issacs is the college’s new Director of Human Resources and she succeeds Oswald Fraser. Most recently, Ms. Issacs, with 15 years of experience in this role, was the regional Human Resources Manager at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai’s Affiliates (Elmhurst & Queens Hospital).
“I am pleased that Tanya has joined the Medgar Evers Human Resources team,” President Pollard said. “We look forward to her expertise and to working with her to streamline processes and our operations at the College.”
At Mount Sinai, Ms. Issacs provided expertise in strategy development and executing, planning, and facilitation of labor and employee relations services for 19,000 employees, its affiliate organizations operating under management service agreements and its affiliated medical school. She also provided counsel to management staff regarding labor relations, employee relations and collective bargaining matters, conducted Step Three grievance meetings with union representatives, supported collective bargaining negotiations with several unions, conducted investigations for complaints of discrimination and harassment, and trained management staff in several areas, including performance management, sexual harassment, and behavioral interviewing, according to a press statement from the College.
“As a Brooklyn resident,” Ms. Issacs said, “I’m excited to join the CUNY/Medgar Evers family. I’m inspired to work at a college whose commitment to academic excellence is matched only by its commitment to the community, and it’s exciting to have the opportunity to be a strategic player in the future of Medgar’s success.”
These now appointments come only days after the College’s search committee for a new president selected three finalists. John Garland, the first president-in-residence at the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and former president of Central State University in Ohio; Fayneese S. Miller, dean of the University of Vermont’s College of Education and Social Services and a professor of human development, educational leadership and social policy; and Rudolph F. Crew, former New York City schools chancellor and currently Oregon’s chief education officer are the candidates for the presidency.
While there is some opposition to the process with many leading elected officials, community activists, and College faculty and students concerned that the College is moving too fast to get a new president and that pool of candidates is not large enough, there has been no protest about the incoming librarian and human resources director.