I am pleased to provide you with highlights from my February College Council President’s Report:
President’s Report to the College Council
February 18, 2016
During the first week of February, I sent a campus-wide email regarding the significant hardships that the ongoing State and City budget negotiations, and by extension, the unresolved labor negotiations, are placing upon our dedicated faculty and staff, and the understandable strain that is being placed upon our entire campus community during this process.
As I also indicated in my message, as our University and unions are working diligently with our State and City representatives to reach a collective resolution, I have started meeting with various campus constituent groups to listen to concerns and discuss ways in which, in the interim, we can improve our working and learning environment.
Along these lines, a College-wide campus climate survey will be implemented beginning March 1 to identify faculty, staff, and student perceptions of their campus experience, both good and bad, as a place of learning and as a place of employment.
It is important to note that this is not an administrative survey; rather, this was a component of the Faculty Diversity Strategic Plan that was drafted by the College-wide Diversity Council and strengthened by a faculty subcommittee. The completely anonymous survey is about more than diversity as it defines campus climate as, “the current attitudes, behaviors, standards, and practices of employees and students of an institution.” The climate is often shaped through personal experiences, perceptions, and institutional efforts. We really want to know what people think of our campus, and the results will be made available to the administration at the same time as the College community.
I think it is important to also inform the College Council and Faculty Senate of other measures within my power that I have recently undertaken. Specifically, I have spent a large portion of my time during the intersession and the beginning of spring semester to serve as an advocate for the faculty, staff, and students to those who have some say in the budget negotiations. At our annual Legislative Forum, held on January 29, representatives of every Federal, State, and City elected official from Staten Island were in attendance. Additionally, I have already traveled to Albany four times in January and February to meet with our State representatives, and I will be traveling there again next week.
At all of these meetings, I have carried the message of our incredible faculty and staff who serve our students. I have worked at an R1 Research University, both as a faculty member and as an administrator, and have read more than 2,000 promotion and tenure files including CVs, outside letters, and selected works. I can say without hesitation that our CSI faculty and their scholarship are on par with the best public institutions in the country. They publish in the best journals and presses, they perform in top venues, and read papers at the most prestigious national and international conferences. More importantly, they take the time to mentor undergraduate students in research, scholarship, and creative works, and they engage in promoting the College in the community and in serving on myriad College committees. Moreover, our administrators and support staff are simply second to none.
As a result, our students have affordable access to some of the best education in the country. Underscoring this are the numerous national rankings and accolades we have received in the past 18 months alone.
Our value as a public institution of higher education is undeniable, and the CSI value will continue to be the center of my advocacy for our College.