I am pleased to provide you with my March College Council President’s Report:



MARCH 22, 2012 

The next few weeks mark the culmination of several years of countless hours of hard work and dedication by the entire College campus community in preparing for our reaccreditation review by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. From April 1 through 4, a Middle States Evaluation Team, guided by our Self-Study document, will be visiting the College of Staten Island to conduct a comprehensive assessment of our institution as measured by the Commission’s 14 standards for higher education excellence. A full agenda has been scheduled for visiting team members to meet with CSI’s governing bodies, including the various committees of the College Council and Faculty Senate, as well as with numerous other faculty, staff, and student groups. Additionally, a town hall meeting has been scheduled to ensure that all members of our campus community have the opportunity to engage visiting team members in meaningful discussions about our institution. We are confident that the visit will be as valuable and informative to the team members as the Self-Study process has proven to be for the College of Staten Island. I would like to take this opportunity to express my appreciation to Professor Richard Powers and Associate Provost Susan Holak for their leadership as co-chairs of the Middle States Steering Committee, and the faculty, staff, and students who served on the Steering Committee and Working Groups.  

Although the spring athletic season has not yet concluded, this has already been a banner year for CSI’s student-athletes, led by the incredible accomplishments of our Men’s Basketball team. After winning The City University of New York Athletic Conference tournament, the team earned its first appearance in the NCAA Division III National Championship Tournament since 2002. The team advanced to the tournament’s round of 16, before finally losing to MIT. Its national tournament success was an exclamation point to a truly great season, and I congratulate the players, Coach Tony Petosa, and his coaching staff, as well as the athletic staff for captivating our students, faculty, staff, and the Staten Island community with the team’s remarkable play. I also congratulate the Women’s Soccer team and the Cheerleading team for being crowned CUNYAC champions this academic year as well. I fully expect to be reporting on additional accomplishments by our student-athletes at the conclusion of the spring athletic season.   

I am pleased to note that Women’s History Month is currently being celebrated at the College. On March 1, a kickoff event was held in the Center for the Arts Lecture Hall. This well-attended opening event featured a keynote presentation by Kathleen Pesile, Trustee of the Board of The City University of New York. Trustee Pesile also moderated a Student Leadership Panel discussion with six accomplished female students from diverse backgrounds who provided their perspectives concerning women and student leadership at the College. I thank the Division of Student Affairs and the many other students, faculty, and staff for facilitating this event as well the many other programs celebrating women’s history this month.                

The College of Staten Island Student Government recently held a student leadership retreat in upstate NY. The three-day retreat, titled “Building Stronger Teams,” was attended by more than 40 members of the CSI Student Government, orientation leaders, Emerging Leaders Program participants, and members of many campus student clubs. The program, which was funded by Student Government and the Student Government Club Commission through Student Activity Fees, was facilitated by Teamworks founder and President Kristin Skarie, an international speaker and educator, with 25 years of team-building experience, along with members of the Office of Student Life team. I want to thank the Division of Student Affairs for their continued, unwavering support and development of our student leaders.   

The retreat and the success of our athletic teams all play a significant part in the building of community here at the College, a community that will be greatly advanced by the new student residential life project. Construction commenced on our new Residential Housing Complex on March 5, and a groundbreaking ceremony will be held on March 30 to commemorate this milestone event.    

Much of the recent progress concerning the construction of our long-awaited residential life project can be attributed to the efforts of the Division of Finance and Administration and its leader, Ira Persky. In acknowledging Mr. Persky’s efforts, I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate him on his recent appointment to the position of Vice President for Finance and Administration, effective May 1, 2012 upon approval by the Board of Trustees. Mr. Persky has over 30 years of comprehensive experience in higher education and most recently served as the College’s Interim Vice President for Finance and Administration. Previously, Mr. Persky served as Executive Director of the College of Staten Island Auxiliary Services Corporation, Executive Director of the Faculty Student Association of The State University of New York at Stony Brook, and General Manager of the CATA Inc., a not-for-profit corporation at Rutgers College of Rutgers University. I commend the outstanding work of the search committee chaired by Michael Kress, Vice President for Technology Systems. The committee’s diligence and insight produced an impressive pool of applicants, ensuring the success of this important search.   

In closing, please be reminded that the 2012-2013 New York Executive Budget for CUNY is nearing completion as the State budget deadline approaches. The University’s funding will directly affect CSI’s ability to advance excellence and education and services to our students, and there is still a small window of opportunity to impact on the process. If you have not already done so, I strongly encourage you to visit www.supportcuny.org to contact your state legislators and voice support for CUNY and CSI.