Associate Professor Catherine Collins Elected Unanimously to New York State Board of Regents

By Hope Ferguson, senior writer, Office of Communications and Government Relations

April 3, 2015

Vector Graphic business woman in front of audienceAssociate professor and mentor in Community and Human Services Catherine Collins, Ed.D., has been elected to the New York State Board of Regents. A joint session of the Assembly and Senate voted unanimously for her to fill the vacancy left by the withdrawal of Regent Robert Bennett, who held the position for 20 years. Collins was appointed to represent the 8th judicial district, which comprises eight counties in Western New York, and will serve a five-year term. Three other new regents were appointed representing other regions of New York state, all women. Two were African-American, one Asian and one Caucasian. Three regents were re-elected to the 17-member board.

Collins was nominated by Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes, (D-Buffalo), who told News 4 TV, in Buffalo, that she has the support of Assembly Speaker Carl E. Heastie

“I nominated her not because of her ethnicity or because of her gender. I nominated her for her education credentials,” Peoples-Stokes told the station. As she awaited the vote in the ornate Assembly chamber, Collins said she was excited. “This is a culmination of all of the knowledge I have gained teaching in various capacities, from my work at the elementary-school level, to junior college, to university and Empire State College and serving on the Buffalo school board.”

A roll call vote was taken for each nominee. The nominees were either selected by people in their communities who were familiar with their background and their work in education, or put their own names forward.

Collins is the author of several books on issues concerning black women, including African-American women and incarceration, stress and social issues. Her latest book, “Black Girls and Adolescents: Facing the Challenges,” just released, covers health, the criminal justice system, parenting and education, and was written by a number of academic and other experts. Collins contributed to the book and edited the volume.

The state Board of Regents, established in 1784, oversees a system of “common schools” under the state Department of Education. The Regents ensure that all state residents have access to a quality education. Several speakers noted at the joint legislative session that the purpose of the board is to serve young people across the state and promote their educational opportunities. The board’s oversight responsibilities also include all postsecondary institutions, libraries, museums, public broadcasting and professions.

Forty-five people from around the state put their names forward for the unpaid positions on the board, which consists of 17 members: 13 representatives from the state’s judicial districts and four at-large members.

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