Doctor of Education Student Named President of Berkshire Community College


Ellen Kennedy, (EdD candidate, 2012/13), was named President of Berkshire Community College (BCC) on June 19, 2012, and officially began her new position on July 1, 2012, as the college’s seventh president.  

Kennedy, who holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a Master of Public Administration from Harvard University, is currently enrolled in the Doctor of Education (EdD) degree program at the College of Professional Studies (CPS) at Northeastern University.  Kennedy credits her doctoral work in the EdD degree program with helping her develop the skills necessary to lead, and has strengthened her ability to think critically about today’s educational challenges.

“The doctoral program at Northeastern University’s College of Professional Studies has been transformational for me,” said Kennedy.  “Most of my professional life in public higher education has had a focus on administration, finance and development.  This program and its comprehensive curriculum provided me with an invaluable foundation in educational theory in a learning environment populated with outstanding faculty and disciplined and focused students eager to actively engage in knowledge acquisition. “

“I am grateful to the faculty, my classmates, the College of Professional Studies and the administration at Northeastern University for playing an important role in my professional growth,” she added.

In a news update from BCC, Susan Lombard, chair of BCC’s Board of Trustees, noted that Kennedy has proven herself to have a leadership style that is collaborative, inclusive and respected among all constituents of the college and community.

“She has the potential to take this college to the next level and to respond to the community’s needs for education and workforce development,” she said.  

Kennedy joined BCC, which is located in Pittsfield, MA, in 2008 and has been serving as the interim President since January 2012. Prior to this role, Kennedy served as the college’s vice president for Administration and Finance and chief financial officer in which she was responsible for all business-related functions. Prior to joining BCC, Kennedy served as interim chief operating officer for the National Patient Safety Foundation and the director of development for WFCR New England Public Radio in Amherst, MA.

In addition to her professional qualifications, Kennedy has a network of established relationships within the community college system. Currently, she serves as vice chair of the chief financial officer community college statewide group and on the board of directors for the Berkshire Taconic Foundation.

BCC is a public, community college offering associate degree and certificate programs, as well as other educational opportunities, primarily to the residents of Berkshire County and surrounding areas. 

The Doctor of Education program builds on Northeastern University’s commitment to practitioner-oriented graduate programs. The goal of the EdD is to instill in educators and administrators the desire and ability to effect transformational change in their practice. To achieve this goal, EdD students learn within the social constructs of their courses and through communities of practice based on shared professional experiences and common interests. They engage in a collaborative, scholarly investigation of a significant problem facing educators and formulate their own solution to that problem. This engagement helps them enfold the roles of learner, researcher, and practitioner, and it fosters their self-identities as scholar practitioners.

Northeastern University’s College of Professional Studies (CPS) is committed to providing career-focused educational programs that are designed to accommodate the complex lives of motivated learners. Offered in a variety of innovative formats, CPS courses are taught by accomplished scholars and practitioners who have real-world experience. The result is an educational experience founded on proven scholarship, strengthened with practical application, and sustained by academic excellence.

Northeastern University is a global university with a tradition of partnership and engagement that creates an innovative, distinctive approach to education and research. Northeastern integrates classroom studies with experiential learning opportunities in 70 countries, and pursues use-inspired research with a focus on global challenges in health, security, and sustainability.