Meet Dr. Paul Broadie II, Housatonic’s New President

Posted on 02 November 2015 by

On April 3, 2015 Dr. Paul Broadie II was named as the new president of Housatonic Community College. He comes to HCC from SUNY Orange County Community College in Middletown, New York,

Broadie was selected from a pool of 44 other applicants that were slated for the position  previously occupied by Interim President Elizabeth Roop.Broadie was nominated for the position by his colleagues while serving as the Vice President of Student Services at OCC.

Upon hearing of his nomination, Broadie commented with a laugh that his first thought was, “Where’s Housatonic? Then I was flattered.”

Broadie embarked on massive research campaign before he took any action. “I did a lot of research, it was important for Housatonic to be a good fit for what I was looking for,” he said.

Even before his work at OCC Broadie was a long time proponent of the community college system, he also worked at Westchester Community College in New York.

Broadie is attracted by the accessibility of these schools and that, “Through education you can have a big impact on the community.”

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President Broadie shared the book love with some Bridgeport elementary schoolers as a part of the Bridgeport Public Education Fund. Photo courtesy of President Broadie.

That nine letter word has come to symbolize not only what Broadie aspires to achieve, but it downright governs just about every step he takes and move he makes on campus.

“Whenever I have to make decisions I ask myself, How is it going to impact students? Is there a need?’” he said.

When it comes to the student body, the school faculty and the city of Bridgeport, Broadie speaks with great passion, “This is an institution that really cares about students and that [is] my number one.”

What exactly does a college president do? It’s a question that can certainly cause some puzzled expressions or head scratching. General studies major Arielle Hincapie’s brow furrows, and she breaks into a grin. “I have no idea what he does,” she said, laughing, “Makes executive decisions, whatever that means!”

Broadie, it turns out, doesn’t wield almighty power. Instead, the position is really that of a collaborator, it’s all about having a global perspective and developing relationships and the community at large.

“I emphasize ‘we’ because it takes more than just a president looking at our procedures and practices. I work closely with an administrative team, I’ve established a cabinet, and I have an open-door policy which means I spend time talking with staff, faculty, students and entertain new ideas they may have.”

Ultimately, it’s The Board of Regents that makes the final decisions for certain actions and sets the standards for tuition, financial aid and accrediting academic programs, according to their webpage. The BOR is made up of fifteen voting members that represent all four of the state colleges and twelve community colleges in Connecticut. In fact, there’s actually a president of the System of Connecticut Colleges, and the position is currently held by Gregory Gray. According to a recent article in the Connecticut Mirror, Gray has actually resigned and that his decision will go into effect come December 31st of this year.

Broadie not only advocates for Housatonic to that BOR, but he also continually is taking action steps to keep Housatonic functioning most effectively and in ways that will benefit students most.

“When I first arrived students spoke with great passion about the Women’s Center and how it changed their lives. I made the decision to not cut the budget of the Women’s Center. Instead I want to enhance the programs and services, I see the value in it,” he said.

Broadie adds that it’s all about being “creative” with the budget at hand.

One of the first things Marianne Tecun, Director of the Academic Support Center here at HCC, wondered about Broadie was how he would be with the students. “Some presidents are closer with them than others,” she said.

After heard him speak to students at orientation Tecun got a concrete sense of just who Broadie is. “He told really good students to apply to work at the ASC and encouraged them to come for extra help here if they needed it.”

On one Friday, “he met me in my office and he actually sat right there,” Tecun gestures to a seat adjacent to her desk, “ and asked me what was going on with the ASC.”

“ It wasn’t his fault that the budget had been mismanaged but he immediately jumped in and responded and took action for the students,” Tecun continues. After speaking her piece and sharing the data she’d gathered and a modest proposal for him to review, she’d expected to hear back from Broadie by next week. Instead, mere minutes later Broadie’s secretary and executive assistant Camilla Constantini called with the good news. Tecun brightens, “He heard me, and the he heard the students.”

Being “visible” at HCC is key for Broadie. To have a presence on campus, attend local goings on, supporting student-run events, and volunteering in the community are some of the ways Broadie gets a “sense of the institutional climate.” With another warm grin, Broadie says, “You can’t do that from just sitting in your office.” In that same vein, Broadie serves on a plethora of boards. According to Constantini, Broadie is active on, to name just a few: the  Bridgeport Higher Education Board, the Bridgeport Regional Business Council, and most recently Phi Theta Kappa Advisory Board.

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HCC’s President Dr. Paul Broadie II in a realm of ravenous young readers, volunteering at a local Bridgeport elementary school. Photo courtesy of President Broadie.

Broadie sings high praises of the Manufacturing program. When he’s not attending programs such as the American Manufacturing Hall of Fame event that was held at the Trumbull Marriott and featured current and former HCC students, Broadie is also taking action steps to reach out to some Bridgeport high schools as a way to strengthen our community. A connection with Bullard Haven’s new manufacturing program, which allows students to actually earn 18 college credits before they graduate, is currently in the works.

According to Broadie, the program starts off as a nine-month program that earns the student their certificate that enables them to instantly start their career. On many occasions soon after getting employed the students actually returns to HCC to earn their AA degree.

Broadie recounts one particular conversation with a student: “He told me he used to work for McDonalds and was making only $9 an hour and this manufacturing program totally changed his life. He got a job, told me he was planning on buying a house and that he was getting into an engineering program to earn his degree.”

These opportunities not only enable students to be good role models to their family and peers but also have far reaching implications. As Broadie says, “This helps to break the cycle of poverty.”

In the end though, with his good natured smile and another jovial laugh. Broadie waves away any compliment.“It has nothing to do with me,” Broadie insists. “The faculty and staff here make sure students get a solid education. as long as students come here and apply themselves they’ll have the support of these excellent men and women and be able to succeed out in the world, their education, and work.”

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