A view of Nassau Community College in Garden City April...

A view of Nassau Community College in Garden City April 13, 2016. Nassau Community College struggle with the hire of a new president. Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

A consolidation plan at Nassau Community College in Garden City has been approved for the fall semester where several departments will merge to make the school operate more efficiently, officials said.

But leaders of the college’s faculty union at the school object to the plan, saying it is “ill-conceived and destructive,” will confuse students and weaken curriculum.

“This is another example of poor fiscal management.” said Faren Siminoff, president of the Nassau Community College Federation of Teachers.

Last month, officials with Nassau Community College in Garden City reported that the school is facing a roughly $14 million deficit in the 2024-25 budget. The strategic plan calls for more than a dozen departments to be merged into six.

NCC officials said there will be no layoffs of tenured staff.

“This is about looking to the future and trying to right-size and become financially self-sufficient and the first step is an efficiency model,” said Jerry Kornbluth, the college’s vice president for community and governmental relations.

Details of the plan include the following:

  • Afro-American Studies, Communications, Music, Philosophy, Theatre & Dance and World Languages & Cultures Departments will be merged into the Art Department.
  • Administrative Business Technology, Criminal Justice, Hospitality Business and Marketing/Retailing/Fashion/Interior Design Departments will be merged into the Accounting & Business Administration Department.
  • Health/Physical Education & Recreation and History & Political Science Departments will be merged into the Social & Behavioral Sciences Department. In addition, the Department of Economics/Finance had already become part of the Social & Behavioral Sciences Department.
  • Chemistry, Mortuary Science and Nursing Departments will be merged into the Allied Health Sciences Department.

The school previously had merged a program for English language learners and reading into the English Department. Physical science and engineering had been merged into math.

Each department will have a chair, an assistant chair and liaison, Kornbluth said. Teaching assistants can be cross-trained to work across different disciplines in the same department and the plan will give faculty more opportunities to teach, he said.

The school is next assessing courses. Officials are also awaiting the state budget, which has not yet been approved.

Last month the college’s faculty had approved a vote of no-confidence in the current administration, including chief academic officer Maria Conzatti, with union leaders saying leadership has fiscally mismanaged the school and the merger is “a symptom of what is wrong at the college.”

“Instead of consolidating departments that the interim president herself declared will not save money, we think she should consolidate the costly and wasteful positions within her own bloated administration,” Siminoff said.

Higher education institutions have been struggling statewide. SUNY Fredonia recently announced a plan to discontinue 13 majors. SUNY Potsdam has announced a downsizing plan. Officials at Rockland Community College recently announced layoffs and faculty there also issued a vote of no confidence in leadership.

Enrollment at Nassau Community College has sharply dropped over the years. In 2011, about 24,000 students attended the school compared with about 11,000 now.

Conzatti was named interim president in 2022. The school has not had a permanent president since 2022 when Jermaine Williams, who was appointed in 2019, left the job.

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