CUNY EDGE Fellowship Program

Too often, our students have trouble finding a career after college. Unfortunately, despite students’ academic success, their lack of relevant work experience puts them at a disadvantage. The CUNY EDGE Fellowship Program is an ideal opportunity for our campus to remedy this situation by offering our students a chance to work in an appropriate office based on their majors. Students can work up to 19 hours per week each semester continuing through the summer and winter intersessions.

I urge your office to consider participating in this program by referencing the online flyer and by reviewing the online program request form. Allowing our students to benefit from the experience of serving in your office will give them the edge they need to succeed after college, and since the city is paying their salaries, there is no financial cost to you.

Thank you for your consideration.

By Ralf Peetz

Free 3K and Pre-K for All On-Campus Childcare Services

Students, Faculty, and Staff: 3k and PKA services are available on campus for your child.

Was your child born in 2016 or 2017? If so, then you are eligible to apply (through the Department of Education) for free full-day (8:30am – 2:50pm) 3K and Pre-K For All childcare services at The Children’s Center (Building 2R) (CSI’s on-campus childcare center).

Extended hours, beyond the 3K and Pre-K hours, are available only for student/parents.

For more information, please see the online flyer, and call (718.982.3190) for a tour and more information on registration.

By Margaret Rooney, MSEd, MSSpecEd.

Cyber Café Hours of Operation

Please be advised that the 1L Cyber Café will be closed next week.

We look forward to serving you when we resume our regular hours of operation Monday, Jan. 27.

Bits and Bytes Hours of Operation:
Regular Schedule:
Monday – Thursday: 8:00am – 8:30pm, Friday: 8:00am – 3:30pm

By Jodi Merendino

President’s Budget Update – Jan. 15, 2020

I write to provide you with the latest information on our financial picture and steps we are taking to address a structural deficit in our budget. As you may recall, I sent out a number of campus memos early in the fall semester and made remarks at College Council throughout the semester detailing the serious nature of our budget for this year (FY20). All of these memos and remarks are available on the President’s Homepage.

In these fall communications, I described our challenge as, “… somewhere between a $2.5M and a $5.0M problem in order to achieve a balanced budget for FY20.” At the end of fall semester, this estimate was right on target and the number has solidified at approximately $4.1M. Working with CUNY, we have developed a plan that will allow us to close this shortfall in a manner that will avoid laying off staff, but will nonetheless require continued shared sacrifice. CUNY has agreed to fund initiatives like the HPCC and will provide assistance with mandatory costs. Additionally, they are loaning us funds this year that will be paid back over the next three years. That will leave us with approximately $1.4M to fund through the use of our own efficiencies and non-tax-levy funds.

While I mentioned that these measures will close this year’s gap, it is imperative that we continue to find savings and efficiencies to avoid similar conversations in the future. Tuition and fees at CUNY are some of the lowest in the nation so CUNY, in addition to requesting a tuition increase of $100 per semester, has requested an increase in student fees of $60/semester for health and wellness. Our mandated student fees are now about $475/semester and, if approved, the increase would put us closer to SUNY fees, which are more than $1,710/semester.

There are also positive signs in our enrollment as applications are up 18% from last year and our collection efforts are bearing fruit, with an additional $860k collected through November over last year.

With the help of Academic Affairs, we’re also improving our class scheduling. This winter session, we ran 16 fewer sections, but had more students. Make no mistake, these efforts, along with controlling our headcount, may have been unpopular, but were important in garnering additional support from CUNY. CUNY believes in our Mission and our Strategic Plan and has noted the improvements we have made. Even with their help, it will take understanding from the College community and will require us to continue operating in an austerity mode for the remainder of the fiscal year.

That said, we cannot lose this momentum on our savings efforts, starting with the four items I detailed in the fall:

  1. Our collections must continue to improve.
  2. Enrollment, including both admission and retention, must increase.
  3. The Provost, in partnership with the faculty, must find sensible efficiencies in workload, reassigned time, and address courses with workload credit that exceed student credit, course caps, and the appropriate use of adjuncts, sub lines, and lecturers. This spring, we will reduce adjunct hours by 10%.
  4. We must explore efficiencies outside of Academic Affairs such as rebidding of contracts, saving money by hiring our own staff rather than the use of contracted services, and in other areas, using more contracted services, moving staff from lower to higher need areas, combining units with similar functions, and implementing the use of shared services.

On this last point, in the next few weeks I expect to make some staffing moves that will provide critical support to our schools in advising students. These moves will be made in consultation with the Divisions and the affected staff.

In addition to continuing with these four initiatives, we need to closely monitor our personnel costs and I am implementing a hiring freeze. It makes no sense to bring on more staff under our current budget situation. I have previously written about the unsustainability of having a budget with PS costs so high that it leaves little money for needed supplies, professional development, or campus repairs. If there are health and safety positions that go vacant, I will review their critical need as appropriate.

While the above actions will present challenges, they will also present opportunities to improve our institution. I personally believe this is very good news and we will get through the year. I firmly believe that our future is bright, our enrollment will return, and we will continue to celebrate and build on the many outstanding accomplishments of this academic year.

By William J. Fritz

Eta Lambda Chapter of Phi Beta Delta Inducts New Members, Announces Upcoming Conference

The Eta Lambda Chapter of Phi Beta delta inducted its latest members last fall.

The Eta Lambda Chapter of the Phi Beta Delta (PBD) Honor Society for International Scholars at CSI recently inducted 33 faculty, staff, and students, and alumni, last fall, into the prestigious society. The goals of the organization include the recognition of individual achievement in the area of international understanding; the advancement of international programming, research, and scholarly exchange; and the creation of a campus network linked to a network of members in chapters worldwide.

The Eta Lambda chapter at CSI held its first induction ceremony in 2011. It is the first chapter within The City University of New York system. CSI currently boasts 200+ members. The chapter is housed at the Center for Global Engagement, which supports comprehensive internationalization. The Center also organizes events and special programming throughout the year for the CSI community, as well as specialized customized short- and long-term programs for international guests. The Center also administers countless student/faculty exchange and study-abroad opportunities, provides services to international students and scholars, and offers English-language programs for non-native speakers.

In other Society-related news, the PBD is pleased to announce that its 2020 Conference will be offered via Zoom on Thursday and Friday: May 14 and 15, 2020 from 11:00am to 5:00pm. This year’s theme is International Education in Our Changing World. Visit the national Website for more information.

By Winnie Brophy

CSI Reaches High School Students with Math Start™ Program

The Math Start cohort from New Dorp High School on a visit to CSI’s Willowbrook campus.

The College of Staten Island/CUNY (CSI) has created new opportunities for area students to ascend academically as it partners with Staten Island high schools through The City University of New York’s (CUNY) Math Start™ program. Math Start™ is a math proficiency and college readiness model that fosters students’ full math potential, study habits, and self-advocacy skills in order to be successful in college.

This unique collaboration was part of the 30,000 Degrees initiative, which strives to address the national crises of college access and completion. Created by the College of Staten Island/CUNY, St. John’s University/Staten Island Campus, Wagner College, and four local public high schools, 30,000 Degrees adopts an anchor mission to increase the number of college graduates with a bachelor’s degree or higher from Staten Island by 30,000 by the year 2025.

The first Math Start™ collaboration under this framework was launched in 2017 between CSI and New Dorp High School (NDHS). The implementation of the program at NDHS marks the first time this nationally recognized model was used in a high school, versus a college setting.

Dr. Deirdre DeAngelis, Principal of New Dorp High School, sees this partnership as an opportunity to bridge a systemic divide between college and high school, so that students don’t fall into what she calls “The Moat.” “This proactive approach allows students to be better prepared and more qualified to take on the challenges of college-level work. Students who enter college in a remedial status are less likely to remain in an atmosphere where they are experiencing defeat from the beginning. In order to strengthen the transition, or walk over the draw bridge, we have utilized the strength of the CSI Math Start™ program, especially the curriculum, training and support staff, to provide our students a more successful experience and start to college life.”

Dr. DeAngelis is the longest-serving female principal in the City of New York, winner of the Sloan Public Service Award, and was honored by Education Update at its 2019 ceremony at the Harvard Club in Manhattan, along with CUNY’s new Chancellor, Dr. Felix Matos Rodriguez, and Interim Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Dr. Vita Rabinowitz.

Student participants in Math Start™ each receive dedicated support through college matriculation, financial aid, and a first-year course selection process, which includes an opportunity to enroll in CUNY’s Accelerated Study in Associate’s Program (ASAP). ASAP provides financial incentives and dedicated support for full-time associate’s-degree students. CSI’s ASAP offers a bachelor’s degree track: the only one of its kind in CUNY. Rather than waiting for students to waste financial aid and invest time in remedial courses at the point of college enrollment, this historic collaboration starts with at-risk, college-bound high school seniors; saving students’ time, money, and grief.

In the collaboration’s pilot year, one hundred percent of students passed the seminar class, earning college-credit. Eighty-nine percent (25 out of 28) of participants enrolled in college, both within and outside of the CUNY system. Eighty-two percent (23 out of 28) of participants addressed their college math remedial needs, before graduating high school. Due to the success of this first-year pilot, an additional CUNY Math Start™ cohort ran in New Dorp High School last academic year. In Year 2, 89 percent (24 out of 27) students passed the seminar class once more, earning a college credit. Approximately 85 percent (23 out of 27) of participants had self-identified as intending to enroll in CUNY and non-CUNY colleges in fall 2019. Another 70 percent (19 out of 27) of participants addressed their college math remedial needs, before graduating high school.

“CSI’s most successful community partnerships involve organizations with great leaders who have vision in addressing the most pressing issues faced by our borough. Principal Deirdre DeAngelis, our 30,000 Degrees partner, is such a leader in helping us to create this completely novel implementation of Math Start™, one of CUNY’s signature programs. Together we will continue to develop innovative ways to ensure New Dorp students succeed in college and beyond,” said Ken Iwama, Vice President of Economic Development, Continuing Studies, and Government Relations at CSI.

Considering the impressive results of the program, University officials made this model more accessible to the community, specifically in St. George, at Curtis High School, and for adults with high school equivalency diplomas, who intended to enroll in college in fall 2019. CSI recruited candidates for an Adult Learner-Math Start™ cohort to experience the program at CSI’s St. George Campus. The launch provided the same academic and advisement support to returning adult learners who have not yet applied to CUNY, much like the partnership model which ran at New Dorp High School. CSI has also made significant improvements to the experiences that high school students can access when visiting campus and CSI’s Technology Incubator; particularly in the STEAM fields.

All of these activities under 30,000 Degrees reflect CSI’ strategic priority as borough steward, and its anchor mission to “intentionally apply an institution’s long-term, place-based economic power and human capital in partnership with community to mutually benefit the long-term well-being of both” (The Democracy Collaborative). Articulated by institutional leadership, and in alignment with New York City’s College Access for All initiative, the vision of 30,000 Degrees is to direct the public purpose of each institution toward confronting social inequities that inhibit educational aspirations and economic prosperity on Staten Island.

By Crystal Montalvo and Terry Mares

Dr. Martin Luther King Day of Service

The College of Staten Island’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, Monday, January 20, engages our Dolphin community to embody Dr. King’s vision and bring people of all ages and backgrounds together, strengthening their communities and building a stronger Staten Island. This year, we will need volunteers to help honor Dr. King’s legacy with Project Hospitality and the Council of Jewish Organizations. We will be painting what will become a new food pantry to help combat the rising food insecurity here on Staten Island. 

The event will take place at Temple Emanu-El, 984 Post Avenue, Staten Island, NY 10302 from 9:00am to 4:00pm.

To volunteer, or if you have any additional questions, please call Robert King Kee at 718.982.3119. 

Volunteers should wear clothes that can get dirty.  Long pants are recommended and closed-toe shoes are required.  All painting supplies are provided.

By Robert King Kee