Long Island City, NY—Mr. Michael Baston, who has served 15 years in higher education, was appointed LaGuardia Community College’s Vice President for Student Affairs after serving in an acting position. His appointment was recently affirmed by the City University of New York Board of Trustees.
“Michael brings great vision, energy and knowledge to this position,” said Dr. Gail O. Mellow, President of LaGuardia Community College. “He is a leader among student affairs professionals here in CUNY and nationally, and I can imagine no finer candidate for the position.”
As chief executive in the Division of Students Affairs, Vice President Baston is responsible for the overall direction and management of a division that serves 60,000 students. He manages a student services portfolio that includes Admissions, International Student Services, Early Childhood Learning Center and Student Life as well as the Registrar’s Office, Enrollment Services Center and the Office of Students with Disabilities.
Vice President Baston began his career at LaGuardia in 2009 when he was appointed the associate dean for Student Affairs. One of his first initiatives was “table talks” where he set up tables at different locations on campus and invited students to openly discuss their challenges and successes. “This proved to be a wonderful way of connecting the division to the students and learning how we can improve their experience,” he said.
To bring his large division together, he introduced professional development days where members of his division met each other and learned what other departments were doing. He also established an annual divisional honor roll that recognizes outstanding employees.
After serving in that position for eight months, he was named Acting Vice President of Student Affairs, and quickly put into place a number of bold initiatives.
One project was the Single-Stop Office where students apply for public benefits and receive a variety of services, including free tax preparation, legal advice and financial planning. Over 1,400 students have taken advantage of the service and over $2 million in funds have been placed in the students’ hands.
Another major initiative was the establishment of the Center for Student Success where students with academic and personal problems are connected to the best possible resources. Since the center opened in November, advisors have helped students with a full range of issues from hunger to homelessness to transportation needs.
Vice President Baston noted that every initiative the division implements focuses on one thing: college completion. “That is our ultimate goal,” he said. “Each program is helping students overcome personal and academic hurdles and leading them to successful completion of this experience.”
Now in his permanent position, Vice President Baston is involved in new campus-life project: the introduction of intercollegiate athletics. Although the sports have not yet been decided, he sees sports teams as a sure way to boost college spirit.
Prior to joining LaGuardia, Vice President Baston was Dean of Students Development and Campus Life at Berkeley College in New York.
Vice President Baston earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Iona College and a Juris Doctor degree from Brooklyn Law School. Currently, he is a doctoral student in executive leadership at St. John Fisher College.
Among the awards that he has garnered over the years are the New York City Council Proclamation for Community Service, the NAACP Community Leadership Award, and the Congressional Service Award.
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LaGuardia Community College located in Long Island City, Queens, was founded in 1971 as a bold experiment in opening the doors of higher education to all, and we proudly carry forward that legacy today. LaGuardia educates students through over 50 degree, certificate and continuing education programs, providing an inspiring place for students to achieve their dreams. Upon graduation, LaGuardia students’ lives are transformed as family income increases 17%, and students transfer to four-year colleges at three times the national average. Part of the City University of New York (CUNY), LaGuardia is a nationally recognized leader among community colleges for boundary-breaking success educating underserved students. At LaGuardia we imagine new ideas, create new curriculum and pioneer programs to make our community and our country stronger. Visit www.laguardia.edu to learn more.