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Dr. James D. Brown


Dr. James D. Brown was named director of Edison College when the school was established in July 1972 and became its first president less than a year later. He understood the importance of assessment and counseling, which were not part of the initial Regents/New York state model that the college was going to be based on. Brown and his small team created a new model for which there was no roadmap. He is widely credited with providing the vision and leadership that helped the institution become what it is today.

Under his leadership, Thomas Edison grew its enrollment, established its first academic programs, including prior learning assessment and associate and baccalaureate degree programs, created the Academic Council and earned full accreditation by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. He resigned as president in June 1978. He died in 1996.

“What we have done at Edison is to disentangle the evaluation of learning from the process of learning in the classroom… We grant credits and degrees for achieved learning and our interest is not in how that learning was achieved but, rather in its quality and relevance and how these can be best verified.”