Bernstein named interim president at TCNJ

Veteran higher ed administrator has more than three decades’ worth of experience, including serving in similar interim role at Stony Brook

Michael Bernstein, the current provost emeritus at Stony Brook University, has been selected to serve as the interim president at The College of New Jersey, the school announced Thursday.

Bernstein, who will start July 1, has agreed to serve in the position for two years — during the search to find a permanent replacement for retiring President Kathryn Foster.

An accomplished educator and administrator, Bernstein has been an interim president before, serving in that role at Stony Brook from August 2019 through May 2020. During that time, he guided the university through unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, including a move to fully remote instruction for a period in 2020.

Bernstein also served as Stony Brook’s provost and senior vice president for academic affairs from 2016­2019. In that role, he oversaw numerous initiatives aimed at supporting the university’s missions in research, scholarship, art-making and teaching. He also emphasized enhancing diversity and inclusion initiatives.

From 2007-2016, Bernstein served as provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at Tulane University, where he helped navigate the institution’s recovery from the devastating impact of Hurricane Katrina.

Bernstein currently serves as a senior consultant with Keeling and Associates, a consulting and professional services firm that works exclusively in the field of higher education.

All of these experiences led to his selection at TCNJ, board Chair Rebecca Ostrov said.

“Dr. Bernstein has a proven track record of achievement in higher education leadership and is an outstanding fit to lead The College of New Jersey for the interim period,” she said. “We look forward to working with him to ensure the college’s continued success.”

Bernstein said he’s eager to get going.

“With great excitement and enthusiasm, I look forward to joining The College of New Jersey,” he said. “It will be a genuine privilege and honor to work with the TCNJ trustees, the senior administrative team and the college’s faculty, staff, students and alumni in the weeks and months ahead.

“Decades ago, I started my teaching career in New Jersey. I am delighted to return now to my professional roots — back in the Garden State — as a Lion.”

Bernstein received his Ph.D. (1982), M.Phil. (1980), M.A. (1978) and B.A. (1976) in economics from Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. His teaching and research interests focus on the economic and political history of the U.S., macroeconomic theory, industrial organization economics and the history of economic theory.

Bernstein spent 20 years at the University of California – San Diego (1987–2007) in a variety of capacities, including dean of arts and humanities and chair of the history department.