Pete Otero, executive dean at Monroe Community College’s Damon City Campus, was appointed the 2013 Minett Professor at Rochester Institute of Technology. He joined the university on Sept. 16 and is the first administrator from a peer institution in higher education to take on the one-year appointment.
The Minett Professorship is designed to bring distinguished Rochester-area multicultural professionals to the RIT campus to share their professional knowledge and experience with RIT’s students, faculty and staff for one academic year. Appointments are made by RIT President Bill Destler and Kevin McDonald, RIT’s vice president and associate provost for diversity and inclusion.
“Pete Otero is the first administrator from another institution of higher education to take on this one-year appointment, and we are looking forward to this collaboration,” said Destler. “This is an opportunity to further cement our academic and community partnerships with MCC through the work he will be doing with our students and faculty this year.”
Otero will participate in several of the academic support initiatives led by the Office for Diversity and Inclusion, specifically MOCHA, the Men of Color, Honor and Ambition Program established this fall by McDonald and RIT’s Office for Diversity and Inclusion. This program is a one-year academic, professional and leadership development series for undergraduate male students of color. Otero will also participate as a lecturer in the graduate service leadership program with a focus on higher education administration in the spring semester. He will co-teach with Heath Boice-Pardee, interim vice president for Student Affairs, and Linda Underhill, associate professor and department chair of Service Systems in RIT’s College of Applied Science and Technology. Otero will also work with campus student organizations, in particular the multicultural Greek organizations.
“The Minett Professorship represents an exciting opportunity for me,” said Otero. “It is a venue where ideas and practices are reciprocally shared by colleagues from two ‘sister’ higher education institutions who hold diversity as a prominent value. I anticipate that this creative relationship will yield a working model that is mutually beneficial.”
Otero has held several leadership roles at the college prior to becoming executive dean of the Damon City campus in 2003. He was the college’s assistant director of Admissions and director of Student Services at the Damon City campus. Prior to this, he was an adjunct professor at The College at Brockport. Otero attended St. John Fisher College, graduating in 1976 with a degree in psychology and Spanish. He continued his education at The College at Brockport, attaining his master’s degree in counselor education, and a doctorate from the State University of New York at Buffalo in higher education administration.
“Dr. Otero has been guiding and inspiring MCC students for 31 years,” said MCC President Anne M. Kress. “That RIT has recognized his potential impact on their students is a testament to Pete and to the strong partnership that exists between MCC and RIT.”
Since 1991, the first year of the professorship, 23 community members have served as Minett professors, including Rochester City Court Judge Teresa Johnson; G. Peter Jemison, artist and site manager of Ganondagon State Historic Site; and James Norman, president and chief executive officer of Action for a Better Community.