Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education
First Haitian-American College President Encourages Faculty to 'Infuse Globalism into Their Curriculum'
Dr. Carole Berotte 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.
Her first jobs out of college were in New York City schools, teaching third-grade Spanish and then Spanish and French in a junior high. A part-time job instructing bilingual teachers at City College of New York led to a succession of higher administrative jobs, which culminated three decades later in her becoming the first Haitian-American president of a U.S. college.
For a year and a half, Berotte Joseph has led Massachusetts Bay Community College in Wellesley, a prosperous Boston suburb a long way from the colonial-style neighborhood in Port-au-Prince where she spent her first eight years before emigrating to the United States in 1957. She first claimed the title of highest-ranking Haitian-American in academia as chief academic officer and dean of academic affairs in her previous position at Dutchess Community College. She was second-in-command of the Poughkeepsie, N.Y., college.
"We do have a number of Haitian scholars who are deans of various schools, or who direct or chair departments. But she is the first college president," says Dr. Guerda Nicolas, a Haitian-American professor of clinical psychology at Boston College.
Berotte Joseph, a specialist in sociolinguistics, has an expansive agenda. "I inherited a place that really needs rebuilding," she says. …