Maureen Stivala, Ed.D., director of Academic Services at County College of Morris (CCM), has worked in finance, the performing arts, as a teacher and is even a nationally certified cheerleading judge. The start of all those adventures, she notes, began at CCM.
“I started at CCM as a nursing student right out of high school, but that wasn’t really my calling,” says Dr. Stivala. When her father lost his job, she dropped out. Then she married and had a baby. Soon her need for education reemerged.
“When my daughter was 2 and a half, my husband and I separated,” she says. I realized that if I wanted to stay in Morris County, I had to have a degree. To accomplish that, she held three jobs and attended CCM while raising her child.
She pursued a degree in business and worked as a lab assistant for the Performing Arts department, producing and performing in many plays. She earned her AAS in business in 1989 and then attended Fairleigh Dickinson University earning a B.S. in management in 1991 and an MBA in finance in 1993. In 2010, she earned a doctorate in Educational Leadership from Argosy University in Tampa, Florida.
“I came from an economically challenged family,” she says. “I was one of the students who wasn’t supposed to make it. Neither of my parents went to college. Getting a doctorate was proving a point to myself. Everything I’ve done in business and education is about leadership and networking. I work well with other people and that’s the main reason I’m successful.”
In her position as director of Academic Services at CCM, she oversees several departments and the Academic Affairs budget process.
Her humble beginnings help her relate to students, she notes. “I’ve been poor. I’ve had no insurance. I understand what other people are going through.”
And her teaching helps her relate to faculty. “I teach when I can. I keep my finger in teaching to experience what the faculty dilemmas are.”
She has three simple tips for success: Always organize yourself with a calendar, network and ask for help if you need it.