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Daily Voice Leaders: Michael J. Smith, President, Berkeley College

Michael Smith, President of Berkeley College, discussed what sets Berkeley College apart and the challenges facing higher education today.
Michael Smith, President of Berkeley College, discussed what sets Berkeley College apart and the challenges facing higher education today. Video Credit: Joe Jenkins

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- For Berkeley College President Michael Smith and the rest of this faculty, seeing his students thrive isn't simply a professional achievement, it's a labor of love.

"We're passionate about our students. We care about them," Smith told Daily Voice. "We personally get involved in their lives. We challenge them, we motivate them, we make them grow."

Smith views the personal touch given at Berkeley as a critical difference-maker for the institution at a time when the price of higher education continues to rise. Smith, however, views college tuition at Berkeley as an investment rather than an expense.

"Would you give me $30,000 if I could give you back half a million or $1million?" Smith asked. "The difference between someone who has a bachelor's degree and someone who doesn't is the difference in lifetime earnings of half a million to $1 million, so the investment in yourself pays off."

That investment only pays off, Smith says, if students complete their course load and graduate.

"A lot of students come through the K-12 system now not necessarily with confidence in their abilities. They've been taught how to take tests, but they haven't been taught how to be successful in the education marketplace," Smith said. "We provide them that confidence. We some points push, some points drag, motivate with carrots and sticks. We really focus on getting them across the stage."

Smith discussed:

  • What is Berkeley College? (0:08 into clip)
  • What sets Berkeley apart from other institutions. (0:46 into clip)
  • What kept him at Berkeley College for nearly 20 years. (2:06 into clip)
  • Combating the cost of higher education. (3:02 into clip)
  • Challenges facing the college. (4:17 into clip)
  • Goals for the next 5-10 years. (5:21 into clip)

Click here to view more of the Daily Voice Leaders Series .

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