Philip J. Sisson

Phil Sisson is Middlesex Community College’s 5th President. He has over 30 years of diverse and exemplary college leadership experience in the areas of campus administration, strategic planning, academic and student affairs programming, fiscal management, resource development and business, community and K-16 partnerships – all with a clear and consistent focus on equity, access and student success.

After earning a bachelor’s in Communications, Theater and Secondary Education and a master’s in Counseling – both from Rhode Island College – he completed coursework in Higher Education Leadership from the University of Connecticut/Storrs and went on to enroll in the University of Massachusetts/Boston EdD program in Higher Education Administration (ABD).

Sisson developed a passion for teaching and serving adult learners, as well as for the unique mission of community colleges at Bristol Community College (BCC), where he served for six years as the Director of Student Support Services and Evening Administrator in the Division of Continuing Education. After serving for a year in an interim promotion as the Assistant Dean of Continuing Education and Community Services at BCC, he accepted a position as the Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs and Chief Academic Officer at the Edward J. Liston Campus at the Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI), the largest community college in New England.

Serving for seven years at CCRI, Sisson was promoted twice to the positions of Dean of Workforce Education & Lifelong Learning and the Dean of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences. Sisson moved next to the Cape where he served as the Dean of Language & Literature, Mathematics, Natural Sciences & Life Fitness at Cape Cod Community College. Within a year he was selected as the Vice President for Academic & Student Affairs for three years.

For 11 years, Sisson served as Provost and Vice President of Academic & Student Affairs at MCC. In this role, he acted as a change agent and collaborative leader – working with teams of colleagues across the institution – to establish and maintain a number of noteworthy and innovative academic, student affairs and enrollment initiatives designed to better serve students. His focus on student pathways and outcomes, workforce development and growth, and inclusion and equity positioned Middlesex as the flagship community college in the state.

Leading college-wide efforts for both the comprehensive and the interim five-year accreditation reports to NEASC/NECHE, the college continues to be highlighted in workshops and events as an exemplar in accreditation standards and outcomes. Sisson worked to enhance the college’s regional and national profile through engagement with premier higher education organizations and successful applications to highly selective grant projects and awards including AAC&U’s Roadmap to Success Leadership College, NILOA’s Excellence in Assessment Award, NEBHE’s High Value Credentials Project, AAC&U’s Guided Pathways and Equity in Learning project, Complete College America’s Guided Pathways recognition of academic pathways and program maps, and most recently AACC’s Equity in Transfer Initiative in partnership with the University of Massachusetts/Lowell.

From Sisson’s early years as a classroom instructor at the Wheeler School in Providence, R.I. to his more than 25 years of adjunct experience at five higher education institutions, Sisson is first and foremost an educator. Throughout his career, he has focused on creating opportunities for access, success, completion and equity for all students, spending the last three decades championing the transformative power of a community college education. With strategic vision, entrepreneurial leadership and open communication, he has committed his career to creating a diverse and inclusive community where all students are able to learn, grow and succeed. As President of Middlesex, Sisson’s focus is on developing MCC as a pacesetter and leader of equitable education practices nationwide. 

Last Modified: 7/9/21