Bucks County Community College Faculty Union Votes No Confidence In President

The community college president has led the institution since 2021.

The Bucks County Community College campus in Newtown Township.
Credit: PA Internet News Service

The Federation of Teachers of Bucks County Community College recently announced the results of a no-confidence vote in President Dr. Felicia Ganther.

The union presented their lack of confidence in her leadership to the Bucks County Community College Board of Trustees in May despite the vote including less than half of the faculty.

Justin Burroughs, a faculty member since 2005 and the current assistant athletic director, described the meeting: “At the board meeting, they [the Federation of Teachers] expressed no confidence, and then other professors just said they wanted more information and communication from the president.” 

There were lots of faculty members speaking in Ganther’s defense at the meeting.

According to the official minutes of the meeting, faculty members, including Professor Dipavali Bhaya expressed concern about the accuracy and representation of the vote.

The minutes from the trustees stated Bhaya, a professor of 15 years, said that the vote, which showed 90 percent voting no confidence, only included about 30 percent of the faculty. She expressed along with many others that a fully inclusive vote may provide different results. 

Dr. Arubia Nance, the Dean of Enrollment, cited public relations as the president’s strongest contribution to the college. 

Ganther remains employed at the college, with a contract expiring after next academic year.

Ganther’s three-year contract began in July 2021, with a salary of just over $143,000 per year.

Dr. Felicia Ganther, president of Bucks County Community College, speaking in June 2022.
Credit: PA Internet News Service

The union vote is symbolic, because the union cannot make personnel changes in the administration, but  it does offer an opinion to the Board of Trustees.

The public relations office representing Bucks County Community College and its Board of Trustees declined to provide a public comment. 

The Federation of Teachers of Bucks County Community College cited Ganther’s management of the school’s $83 million budget, and a lack of a collaborative working environment among administration, faculty, and staff as their reasoning.

John Sheridan, president of the federation, as well as other members of the union declined to provide a public comment, all citing the fact that, despite having publicly announced it the vote is “an internal union issue.”

In response, the trustees communicated that they would keep the vote in mind as they carry out the routine yearly performance review of Ganther.

During her time as president, Ganther has focused on both expanding public-facing aspects of the college as well as internal improvements.

“On the student side, because I deal with a lot of students, she is the most visible,” Burroughs said. “She’s the third president I’ve seen since working at Bucks. She has been the most active in order to get to know the students, get their ideas and try to be involved with them. And, she’s been very approachable from students, faculty and staff.” 

In the Board of Trustees meeting on June 8, Ganther described one of the internal projects she has developed.

She stated: “At Workforce Development we launched the first of the four entrepreneurship cohorts. This is a grant funded program that combines basics of entrepreneurship education with one-on-one coaching.”

Other areas of Ganther’s focus have been fundraising to support community college projects.

According to The Hill, all community colleges have suffered enrollment declines. The Community College Review places Bucks County’s enrollment at an 11 percent decline over the last five years. 

Many of the faculty and staff contacted by this news organization as well as the college’s public relations office declined to comment. 

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Joe Cavanaugh

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