President’s Report to the College Council

April 27, 2017


Good afternoon. I think that it is most appropriate to open my remarks today with a quote from journalist and publisher Joseph Pulitzer.

Put it before them briefly so they will read it, clearly so they will appreciate it, picturesquely so they will remember it and, above all, accurately so they will be guided by its light.

At last month’s meeting of the College Council, I said that the accolades for the College keep coming. This month, I am pleased to inform you—that nothing has changed—the accolades keep coming.

It was recently announced that Tyehimba Jess, Associate Professor of English, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in recognition of his work Olio, a volume of original verses. The Pulitzer organization called it a “distinctive work that melds performance art with the deeper art of poetry to explore collective memory and challenge contemporary notions of race and identity.” Described by his Department Chair Lee Papa as “a great colleague and teacher,” Prof. Jess is dedicated to both scholarship and teaching, as evidenced by his special requests to teach introductory composition courses. While Professor Jess is currently on sabbatical, he will be returning to CSI for the fall 2017 semester, we will all look forward to celebrating with him on his return.

Faculty at the College of Staten Island are exceptional in the way that they use their scholarship in the education of our students. As I have mentioned previously, 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. Our faculty—our Distinguished Professors, our Pulitzer Prize and Guggenheim awardees, Fulbright Scholars, and other nationally recognized scholars—all have deep and substantive connections with our undergraduate students through teaching, including the teaching of introductory courses, and in mentoring students with their undergraduate research, scholarship, and performance.

Our level of scholarship and teaching is taking CSI to new heights of academic excellence and is advancing our reputation as a respected institution of higher education. I believe that the development of our new Strategic Plan is critical to ensuring that the College’s efforts support this positive growth, in addition to fulfilling our accreditation requirements.

I mentioned last month that the IPC has preliminarily identified six Strategic Priorities that may form the direction and framework of a new Plan. These priorities are, in no particular order of importance:

1. Student Success

2. Global Engagement

3. Borough Stewardship

4. Destination Campus

5. Scholarship-Driven Education

6. Resource Management

The IPC has established small working groups of faculty and staff that have drafted proposed Goals under each priority that we may wish to accomplish over the life of our new Strategic Priorities. These working groups will be reaching out to additional College constituents in the coming weeks for consultation and recommendations.

I plan to share a working draft of the Strategic Priorities and Goals with the campus community prior to the end of this academic year for review and feedback over the summer and early fall. This will be just the beginning of a fully transparent and inclusive process that will be designed to generate significant discussion and feedback from all stakeholders and to have the new Plan endorsed by this body in October or November.

Thank you.