Hotzler to replace Kidd as interim head at York

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Now that his successor has been named, Russell Hotzler, interim president at Queens College in Flushing, has accepted a new position as the temporary head of York College in Jamaica.

Hotzler served at Queens College for the past two years while the CUNY board of trustees completed a national search for a permanent leader. Starting at the end of this month he will take the reins at York from Charles Kidd, who is stepping down after six years at the CUNY school. he will give up his role at Queens College in the end of July.

CUNY would not comment on the reasons behind Kidd’s resignation, said Rita Rodin, a spokeswoman for the system, though she added that presidential evaluations and annual performance reviews may have been a factor in his decision.

Marion Webber, a volunteer on York College’s Commemorative Quilt Committee, said she was surprised by Kidd’s decision.

“I’m puzzled myself,” she said. “I don’t have a clue because he’s doing fine work over there.”

Kidd was unavailable for comment, as was Hotzler.

Kidd had entered his name into a presidential search at Florida A&M University, where he had spent 20 years as a faculty member and as dean of the College of Engineering Sciences, Technology, and Agriculture, but he was not selected as a final candidate earlier this year, the Tallahassee Democrat newspaper reported.

Hotzler is expected to serve as York’s president for at least a year, so that the national search can be completed and the new president can start at the beginning of the academic year following his selection, Rodin said.

CUNY Chancellor Matthew Goldstein recommended the appointment, praising Hotzler’s contributions in his current post.

“Dr. Hotzler will bring to York College his exemplary skills as an experienced educator and administrator, including over two decades of service to CUNY colleges in Queens County,” Goldstein said in a written statement.

Before coming to Queens College, Hotzler, a longtime CUNY administrator, served as dean for academic affairs for both Queensborough Community College and the City University system. He also held posts as vice president and a professor at QCC.

Hotzler was barred from running for the permanent position at Queens College by CUNY policy. The policy states that allowing an interim leader to run for the permanent seat could be a conflict of interest since his work at the school during his temporary stint could be seen as a form of campaigning.

But Queens officials were so pleased with Hotzler’s work that they petitioned Goldstein to override the policy earlier this year. Borough President Helen Marshall and all seven state senators and 15 assembly members from Queens signed a letter in April asking Goldstein to keep Hotzler at Queens College, which he has served since September 2000.

“In a short time Dr. Hotzler proceeded to turn the school around, re-establishing it as a center of excellence for training teachers and generally improving standards and results across the board,” Marshall wrote on April 2.

Goldstein, who has the power to nominate presidents to the CUNY board of trustees, told Marshall he would adhere to the guidelines that prevent an interim president from being nominated. The policy will also prevent Hotzler from entering his name in the national search for a permanent leader for York College.

Back-to-back interim appointments like Hotzler’s are rare, but it “occasionally has happened in the past,” Rodin said.

In his statement, Goldstein thanked Kidd for his service at York, and the board of trustees was expected to issue a resolution expressing its appreciation to Kidd at its June meeting, Rodin said.

“York College has been an integral part of the university community,” Goldstein said. We very much appreciate the profound importance of the college to the educational and economic vitality of the Greater Jamaica community, Queens County and our city and state. There will be new opportunities to build on the extraordinary potential of York College in the months and years ahead.”

The Queens College mantle will be taken up by James Muyskens, chief executive officer and dean of faculty at the Gwinnett University Center in Atlanta, who will take over the school at the end of July. Hotzler, with the help of vice presidents and provosts, will head both colleges for the month of July.

“He’s going to be straddling both posts for a few weeks,” Rodin said.

Reach reporter Courtney Dentch by e-mail at, or by phone at 229-0300, Ext. 138.

Posted 7:06 pm, October 10, 2011
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