Dr. Shaun L. McKay served as president of Suffolk County Community


Dr. Shaun L. McKay

From 2010 until May 2019, Dr. Shaun L. McKay served as president of Suffolk County Community College, New York’s massive community college, with an annual enrollment of approximately 30,000 credit-earning and 8,000 continuing education students. He has a PhD in educational administration.

As Executive Dean and CEO of Suffolk’s Grant Campus, Dr. Shaun L. McKay represented the county’s western areas before becoming its president. McKay worked as Director of Planning for the Community College of Baltimore County and Morgan State University for eight years before joining Suffolk. Many of his schools have had him teach undergraduate and graduate-level courses.

A graduate of Morgan State University, Dr. Shaun McKay also holds a master’s degree from the College of Notre Dame and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Maryland. His career has been marked by academic and administrative advancement, with notable achievements in campus administration, curriculum programme creation and budgeting, strategic planning and institutional assimilation.

Dr. McKay has earned several honours for exceptional service in higher education, including an honorary doctorate from St. Joseph’s College in New York. He is active in national and local organisations and serves on various national and regional committees and workgroups that aim to promote student achievement in higher education.

Since Dr. Shaun L. McKay became president, the overall number of students at Suffolk County Community College has increased significantly. As a result of high school collaborations, various dual-enrolled students increased by 44%, and the three-year graduating rate increased from 20% to 27%.

In addition, the rate of transfer to 4-year schools increased from 8% to 16% (increasing the student success rate from 28 to 43%), and the number of students enrolled in the school’s English as a Second Language programme more than doubled.

In his integrated planning approach, Dr. Shaun McKay ties strategic and operational planning, budgeting and resource allocation, and assessment and evaluative activities. As a result, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education withdrew the College’s accreditation warning from the Middle States Commission on the Higher Education website. Several commendations were made at the final self-study and visit for accreditation when he became president.

Dr. Shaun McKay obtained financing for 30 major projects totaling more than $200 million by collaborating with state and municipal officials. Long Island University’s first public-private cooperation building in Suffolk was designed and built by Dr. McKay to serve both schools’ students. A dozen new academic programmed were formed, with an emphasis on preparing students for careers in STEM industries. Dr. Shaun L. McKay, a lifelong supporter of student access to higher education, created the Stay on Long Island Scholarship and the New York Presidential Scholarship programmers to help students afford higher education. 

Nearly 200 students have received 9.3 million dollars in scholarships to four-year universities over the previous nine years resulting in his partnership with area four-year schools. Il procured a million-dollar grant to the school’s Foundation for scholarships, the massive single gift in its history.

Dr. Shaun McKay is frequently requested to give professional lectures at regional and national conferences on retention, strategic planning, governance, and administration. Higher education institutions have a critical role in altering people’s lives on many levels: academically, professionally and economically.

Enhancing Fellowship and Community Dr. Shaun McKay

Cultural and generational shifts have an impact on education, according to Dr. McKay. We are the problem, he says. It is you. It is who they are.

Education leaders must view the process as a collaborative endeavour. A teacher does more than pass on their expertise to pupils, and a student does more than absorb new knowledge. A certain amount of give-and-take should be part of education. As McKay puts it, “Leadership is following.” It’s my goal to help others become better than I am. 

It’s my goal to help others become better than I am. Then, they may use the abilities they’ve acquired to spread the word about it in the community. That which you learn is not yours to keep. A shift is taking place in your life. No educator will be able to do their job well if they can’t listen and follow directions.


Education may also produce unqualified persons, which is a terrible truth. Education must sustain high standards without alienating people. According to Dr. Shaun McKay, it’s a narrow line to walk. Each of us starts at a different location. Affordability, access, and having a voice at the table are all issues. People who face disenfranchisement include the elderly, the homeless, those eager to travel borders, those hampered by implicit bias, and so on.

Educators must ask: How can we help them? Is there a way to get children to have confidence in themselves?

It isn’t an easy solution, either. A mental health service is needed, according to McKay. As a result of this, Dr. McKay’s work has massively concentrated on the education element of the solution. As he puts it, “Education is the key to change and economic empowerment.” Some people’s concerns go unheard.

Creating a positive learning environment

Engagement and giving back are crucial components of a good educator. It’s also important to know where you’re going in order to be a great teacher.

He has always thought that individuals should be empowered to accomplish more and to act beyond their self-interest. Thoughts shouldn’t be restricted to a single level but instead should be encouraged to flourish and become a systemic change that affects and benefits everybody. What we do and how we think is too corporate, says McKay. Many of our efforts are focused on treating education more like an enterprise than an instrument of empowerment.

The finest schools are able to address the well-being of the kids and involve those who are typically left out.

Dr. McKay argues that education is the road to success. ‘What’s the point of teaching them?’ How can we discover those who are unable to contribute to the conversation in any meaningful way? It’s important to find folks and move them to a place that we believe is better than where they think they are now. Start with empowering those who are already in your life—start with the people you have. Expand into the community and see what happens.”