I am taking this opportunity to welcome you back from the winter break. January was a cold month, but springtime is close by and the buds will soon blossom. As a faculty member, I always come to spring semester with a sense of anticipation. This year is no different. There are many exciting initiatives on our campus, some of them will be seminal in their effect on the future. Let me take a few minutes to share these with you.

(A) Residence Halls: The progress is spectacular. The buildings are up and being completed. Students are signing contracts. I urge you to visit the model apartment to experience what is being made available to our community. Soon we will be a 24/7 campus and we must be prepared to use this opportunity and meet its challenges.

(B) Schools: I have been consulting with various departments (business, education, nursing, PT) as to how they wish to proceed with the development of schools. I expect to make a recommendation to President Fritz concerning the appointment of an Interim Dean of the School of Business early in February. In parallel, a subcommittee, headed by Professor John Verzani, is in the final stages of issuing a report on the implications of changing to a school structure. On Thursday, Feb. 14, at 3:00pm, we will hold a town hall meeting where faculty from various departments will discuss the formation of Schools encompassing their disciplines. I urge the campus community to attend this important informational event.

(C) Initiatives: Many departments have been working on curricular and other projects:

-We are in the midst of our Foundations of Excellence Self-Study on the First-Year Experience. This should be completed this semester. Please complete the survey, which was emailed to you by President Fritz.
-The Social Work faculty has completed writing a full proposal for a Master’s in Social Work and it will move through faculty governance during the next month. We hope to admit our first cohort in September of 2014.
-Philosophy and Political Science/Geography wish to form two separate departments.
-Social Work wishes to split off from SASW and form a new department in adherence with accreditation requirements.
-Departments are developing new Master’s-level programs in Public Administration, TESOL, Mathematical Biology, and Engineering. Discussions are also underway on the development of a PharmD.

(D) Our faculty and students continue to be involved in scholarly activities. (A small sampling appears below:)

-Christine Tortora is organizing a National Conference on Linguistics that will take place at the Graduate Center.
-Alan Benimoff, our noted geologist, together with Mike Kress and President Fritz, will lead “A Serious Conversation about the Future of Staten Island” at a Superstorm Sandy Forum on Friday, Mar. 8. Please look for updates on this seminal event.
-Ying Zhu has received widespread acclaim for her book Two Million Eyes: The Story of China Central TV.
-Our faculty have received national recognition through the attainment of grants and prestigious visiting professorships.
-Seven CSI students, Michael Costantino, Jonathan Parziale, Christopher Savo, Brian Wong, Alaric Hyland, Daniel Kurzweil, and Timothy Smolka, with support from Maryellen Smolka and Nicole Dory, have excelled in regional and national competitions placing second at the International Supercomputing Competition in Salt Lake City, UT under the mentorship of Professor Deborah Sturm and team leader Professor Mike Kress.
-Elizabeth Che, a Psychology major, received first prize for her research poster in the Social and Behavioral Sciences category at the National Collegiate Honors Council Conference. She was mentored by Professor Irina Sekerina.
Kudos to our faculty mentors and their students.

(E) Capital Improvements: Planning for renovation of the 2M building and for construction of the Interdisciplinary High-Performance Computing Center (IHPCC) is moving ahead. The 2M renovations will provide eight badly needed classrooms and some office space. Occupancy is expected in fall 2014.

Personally, I am very excited about what is happening at CSI and I that hope you are enthusiastic as well. In the fall, I had lunch with approximately 60 faculty colleagues. This “Bring Your Own Lunch with the Provost” program was very helpful to me in putting my finger on the pulse of the faculty. It also provided my colleagues with a chance to talk to me in an informal relaxed setting. I hope that it was a positive experience and look forward to lunches with more of you during the spring semester.

In concluding, I hope that you find life of the campus stimulating and fulfilling. I, the Deans, and the Associate Provosts look forward to working together with you to implement your initiatives and to provide a first-class educational experience to our students.