College Inducts Trio as Professors Emeriti

Judith Rae Davis, Ed.D.; Joan Tscherne, Ph.D.; and Bonnie MacDougall, Ph.D.

PARAMUS, N.J. – Selected by a committee of their peers, three retired Bergen Community College professors have earned the rank of “professor emeritus” in recognition of their impact on the institution and its students. The College celebrated the latest inductees, Judith Rae Davis, Ed.D., Bonnie MacDougall, Ph.D., and Joan Tscherne, Ph.D., during a May 4 luncheon at Seasons in Washington Township. In Bergen’s 50-year history, 51 faculty members have now earned the professor emeritus designation.

“As a faculty member for much of my career, I had the privilege of working with Judi, Bonnie and Joan on projects that enhanced student learning, faculty teaching and the institution as a whole,” Bergen President Michael D. Redmond, Ph.D., said. “This group exemplifies the intent of the professor emeritus program – to recognize those who made significant contributions to the College.”

Davis, of Warwick, New York, taught English for 29 years at Bergen, serving as chair of the department, while also leading the general education, strategic planning and faculty development committees. A past recipient of the “best article of the year” honor from the National Two-Year College English Association, Davis received the NISOD Excellence Award for Teaching and a Princeton Mid-Career Fellowship. She developed Bergen’s online professor program for new online faculty still in use today.

MacDougall, of Vero Beach, Florida, mentored students at all levels of learning during her 29-year career, teaching a range of classes from English-as-a-Second-Language to honors Shakespeare. MacDougall began at Bergen in 1986 and would eventually serve the College in numerous leadership roles including coordinator of the American Language Program and interim academic vice president.

Tscherne, of Hasbrouck Heights, held positions such as physical science coordinator, department chair and interim dean of science during her 28-year-career at Bergen. After beginning as an adjunct in 1989, she would earn a full-time position in 2004. Tscherne championed numerous student and faculty development projects, including the Partners in Learning initiative, a mentorship program for new professors. She served as grand marshal of commencement 2017.

The professor emeritus program began in 1988 with the induction of former dean Alan Buxton. Selection relies on many factors, including exemplary teaching and scholarship. Professor Kate McGivern leads the five-member committee charged with choosing honorees after receiving nominations from academic divisions and faculty.

Bergen has celebrated its 50th anniversary this year, commemorating the 1967 hiring of its first president, Sidney Silverman, Ph.D., and the approval of the master plan that developed the College’s main campus at 400 Paramus Road. A committee led by honorary co-chairs Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco, Bergen County Freeholder Tracy Silna Zur and retired executive vice president Virginia Laughlin directed the institution’s efforts related to celebrating the anniversary.

Since its inception, Bergen has grown into the state’s largest community college with approximately 14,000 students taking classes this semester. No. 1 in the state for associate degree graduates, alumni have studied at every Ivy League institution and rank 11th in the U.S. for mid-career salaries, according to Payscale.

Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (, a public two-year coeducational college celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2017-18, enrolls 14,000 students at locations in Paramus, the Philip Ciarco Jr. Learning Center in Hackensack and Bergen Community College at the Meadowlands in Lyndhurst. The College offers associate degree, certificate and continuing education programs in a variety of fields. More students graduate from Bergen than any other community college in the state.

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