Dr. Michael A. Cioce

Dr. Michael A. Cioce

  • College President, Rowan College at Burlington County
  • Board Secretary, Board of Trustees
Prioritizing students. Empowering culture. Increasing opportunity. 

Our job should be to look at higher ed differently.

If you were to tell Dr. Michael A. Cioce 15 years ago that he would become president of one of New Jersey’s top community colleges, he would’ve believed you. This is true for two reasons. One -- he is confident. And two -- he set into motion a series of initiatives (more on that later) that propelled Rowan College at Burlington County (RCBC) to its current standing as one of the most affordable, high-quality colleges in the state.  

Growing up in a single-parent household shaped Dr. Cioce’s views on how life-changing a college degree could be. And, when he landed a position in Drexel University’s financial aid office at 23 years young, he realized just how inextricably linked college affordability and student success are. He also realized that the student experience is 100% dependent on customer service (a concept he later codified into the one-stop service design of RCBC's state-of-the-art Student Success Center). These early experiences led Dr. Cioce to RCBC, where he combined his shared passions for transparency, collaboration and data-informed decision-making to make the greatest impact. 

As a first-generation student, Dr. Cioce feels that success hinges upon work ethic, creativity and a refusal to accept the status quo. As RCBC’s sixth president, he dedicates his energy toward expanding opportunities for all students. He is forward-thinking, open to new ideas and will not shy away from the occasional challenge, from introducing the valedictorian in her native language (Spanish) to taking a pie to the face to raise funds for scholarships. 

With over a decade of experience in higher education, Dr. Cioce’s leadership philosophy centers on student success, a metric he believes is best achieved through authenticity, entrepreneurialism, and shared and inclusive governance. A strong proponent of staff empowerment, Dr. Cioce feels that balancing individual initiative with collaboration is critical to strengthening an institution; that’s why he makes it a point to meet regularly with various cohorts of the college in both group and individual settings. 

Dr. Cioce applies these principles to both his leadership of the college and within the regional, state and federal boards* on which he serves to advance the community college mission. While he is most proud of the individual successes of countless RCBC students, Dr. Cioce boasts many noteworthy accomplishments. He:

  • Played a critical role in forming a taskforce of New Jersey community college presidents predicated on implementing a new funding formula that offers fair representation to all students in the state. This initiative led to a $10 million increase in operating aid to county colleges and grew RCBC’s state aid to 20%, making it the first increase of its kind in 13 years. 

  • Led RCBC through the COVID-19 pandemic with increased transparency and access to the college community -- without increasing costs to students or laying off staff. During this time, he maintained an on-campus presence and hosted an award-winning series of Facebook Town Halls (garnering 30K+ views) to keep the community informed, engaged and laughing. 

  • Created a more efficient institution by refocusing support on programs that are critical to the college’s mission.

  • Committed to a culturally diverse and inclusive campus community by implementing the President’s Advisory Council on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, which promotes collaboration and communication by bringing together students, faculty, staff and the community to actualize RCBC’s diversity goals and objectives. 

  • Served a pivotal role in launching RCBC’s 3+1 program that allows students to earn a Rowan University bachelor’s degree for less tuition than most universities charge for a single year. RCBC was the first New Jersey college with a 3+1 program, which is being emulated by many colleges throughout the state.

Through these initiatives, Dr. Cioce hopes to continue to upend the familiar two-year college stigma while nurturing RCBC’s long-term relevance. 

Dr. Cioce holds a doctoral degree in Higher Education from the University of Pennsylvania. He holds master’s degrees of Business Administration (MBA) and Financial Management from Drexel University and a bachelor’s degree from Marywood University.

Dr. Cioce resides with his wife, Kim, and their four children in Moorestown. When he’s not busy increasing student success rates, he’s taken to running and rooting his kids on from the flag football, lacrosse and softball sidelines. His love languages are the Phillies (he’s a 10+ year season ticket holder), The Beatles and dad jokes. Dr. Cioce welcomes your email to president@rcbc.edu and tweets @RCBCPresident.

*Dr. Cioce serves on the ACCT Advisory Committee of Presidents (2023-2024); the Workforce Alignment Committee and Funding Formula Taskforce for the NJ Council of County Colleges; the Workforce Development Committee and the Transfer Committee for the NJ Presidents’ Council; the board of directors of the Burlington County Regional Chamber of Commerce; the Deborah Heart and Lung Center Board of Directors; the RCBC Foundation Board and the Burlington County Workforce Development Board. Previously served on the Funding Formula Taskforce and the Economic Mobility Committee for the NJ Council of County Colleges.

Aspen Institute New Presidents Fellowship 2022-2023

As a member of the Community College Leadership Initiative (CCLI) Advisory Council at Rowan University College of Education, he works on curriculum, marketing and recruitment efforts for aspirant doctoral students interested in community colleges. Dr. Cioce also serves as a Professor of Practice within the program.