I am pleased to provide you with highlights from my March College Council President’s Report.
President’s Report to the College Council, March 20, 2014
Although we are well into the spring semester, this is the first time I have had an opportunity to address this body and I want to formally welcome everyone back from the intersession.
While the term “intersession” can connote a short break or period, significant developments actually took place involving the College of Staten Island during this time.
On January 15, the Board of Trustees of The City University of New York appointed James B. Milliken as its seventh Chancellor. J.B., as he likes to be called, is a nationally prominent leader in higher education who currently serves as the President of the University of Nebraska system. I recently had the opportunity to meet and speak with him, and I am confident that the new Chancellor will continue the momentum of support given to the College under the leadership of former Chancellor Matthew Goldstein and Interim Chancellor William P. Kelly. CUNY has announced that he will assume the position of Chancellor no later than June 1, and I anticipate that he will be reaching out to many constituents across CUNY during this transition period. J.B.’s appointment has received tremendous accolades nationally and promises to advance CUNY to the top of American public higher education.
On January 31, we hosted our annual Legislative Forum, which was very successful. Every local legislator was represented at the event where we had the opportunity to directly advocate for our major capital projects. The College’s presentation focused on funding for the Interdisciplinary High-Performance Computing Center and gaining more space on campus. We demonstrated that the realization and success of many of our College initiatives are largely dependent on the construction of our Interdisciplinary High-Performance Computing Center, including:
–CUNY 2020 Challenge Grant proposal to launch a CUNY Center for Big Data Analytics and Visualization in conjunction with CSI’s School of Business;
–START-UP NY program pursuant to which the College can establish tax-free areas for, and partner with, new and established businesses in the area of technology and consistent with academic interests of the College;
–Renovation of our 2M building to provide ten new classrooms, which is still on schedule for opening in Fall 2015; and
–Creation of the first newly constructed academic space to address the needs of all disciplines since the establishment of the Willowbrook campus in 1993.
We have far outgrown our initial campus design, nearly doubling our enrollment. The new building will support the entire campus by providing new classrooms, faculty offices, laboratories, and research areas, and will also allow us to reconfigure existing spaces.
We also advocated for funding from our Borough President and local City Council members for a new Media Culture Center and for general campus improvements.
In February, I conducted follow-up visits to Albany to meet with other key lawmakers to not only advocate for funding for the Interdisciplinary High-Performance Computing Center, but to also advocate for other CUNY and CSI funding priorities such as the cost of salary step increments for instructional staff. Two additional members of my staff, along with our Student Government President, also visited Albany to advance our funding requests. Our legislative efforts and outreach are being recognized. For example, the Governor’s office has been very deliberate in including the College for participation in two of his most recent, major press conferences and meetings on Staten Island.
As I previously communicated to the campus community, Janine Scaff has been appointed to serve as Interim Vice President for Institutional Advancement and External Affairs following the departure of former Vice President Dr. Kenneth Boyden. Ms. Scaff, the former Assistant Vice President for Institutional Advancement and External Affairs at the College, has an extensive track record in fundraising and advancement. Prior to her arrival at CSI, she was Director of Major Giving for Villanova University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Ms. Scaff has also served as Director of Development at Temple University’s Boyer College of Music and Dance, and Director of the Philadelphia Orchestra Association’s Annual Fund. She has already developed strong relationships within the Staten Island community, and I am confident that our Comprehensive Campaign will continue to grow during this transition.
The first meeting of the Institutional Planning Committee will take place on March 28 to hear details of the START-UP NY initiative, consider a Baccalaureate in East Asian Studies proposal, a Minor in Legal Studies proposal, and a proposal for reactivation of a Bachelor in Science/Master’s in Physician Assistant. Based on the IPC report to this body in December and the subsequent positive votes in the Faculty Senate, I have forwarded recommendations to the CUNY Board of Trustees for the creation of the four new departments —Social Work, Sociology and Anthropology, Curriculum and Instruction, and Educational Studies. These recommendations will be considered by a Board subcommittee in April and will then be presented at the full Board meeting on May 5. Assuming approval, the new departments will be able to hold elections before the end of the academic year.
Finally, I want to remind everyone that the annual CUNY Board of Trustees Staten Island Borough Hearing will be held on March 24 at 5:00pm in the Recital Hall.
I believe that this is a great start to the spring semester as the College continues to implement its Master Plan and Strategic Plan on behalf of the faculty, staff, and students.