I would like to share with you some newsworthy events that have recently placed CSI in the spotlight.

For two consecutive years, CSI is ranked the Number #1 Military Friendly School in the country. I’m pleased to announce that CSI will now be the only Purple Heart Institution in NYC. This does not mean we support military policy, military recruitment, or ROTC: it means we support our students who have served and are returning to civilian life. Additionally, Staten Island has lagged behind the other boroughs in the Basic Housing Allowance for veterans pursuing a college degree. This week, at a press conference on our campus, Congressman Dan Donovan announced an increase in the Basic Housing Allowance for Staten Island, highlighting the power of collaboration by the offices of Student and Enrollment Services, and Government Relations.

The CSI Library has been named a member of the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP), the first designation of this kind on Staten Island. This allows U.S. federal government publications to be available to the public. The CSI Library’s initial collection will focus on documents related to Staten Island, but also hopes to expand and support the History Department and Public History Program, the Legal Studies Institute, and government studies related to health sciences and education. This achievement was made possible with the collaboration between Academic Affairs; the Library, led by Amy Stempler; and Government Relations.

Our national accolades in creative writing continue. Professor Patricia Smith is a Pulitzer Prize Finalist following Tyehimba Jess’s Pulitzer prize last year. Congratulations go out to Professor Smith.

The Provost Search Committee will be co-chaired by Katie Cumiskey and Ken Iwama.  The Search Chairs and multiple constituents will meet with the search firm consultants on campus next week. The search is on track to begin by June 1 and to recruit and present applicants by the start of the fall semester.

Consistent with the Strategic Priorities, this year, we have been invited to participate in CUMU’s anchor institution initiative – a project that is designed to develop and share new strategies to create opportunities for institutions of higher education and enhance the economic and social well-being of their communities. Additionally, the Staten Island Performing Provider System (SIPPS), an organization focused on improving the quality of healthcare to SI’s Medicaid and uninsured populations, has partnered with CSI’s Workforce Development, School of Health Sciences, and School of Business in bringing $340K to the College and highlighting the benefits of Borough Stewardship.

As I reported last month, I am pleased to announce that our new Governance Plan is one step closer to the final approval by the Board FSA Committee. This means that the plan will be on the agenda for the May 7 meeting of the full Board. If approved, our new plan will be in place and effective the evening of May 7.

The budget process for this fiscal year is winding down but continues to prove challenging. Through the efforts of the Auxiliary Services Corporation and their contribution to the campus, we have a revenue stream from housing, food services, and rentals.  I would like to see these revenues reinvested to improve housing and food service, and to keep our rental areas in a state of good repair. However, in times of budget stress, they can be used to assist and ease stress on the tax-levy budget. This year, the ASC has provided guarantees of $1.9M in support to our operating budget. Although this annual amount is not sustainable, it has helped the campus push through the tough budget crisis and a realization for a better state budget and a long-term plan. I want to especially thank Executive Director of the Auxiliary Services Corp. MaryJeanne Hennessy, along with her staff and the board of directors, for their cooperation and understanding.

And finally, a brief update on campus construction. Weather permitting, the final phase of roadwork will start on April 30 and there will be the usual construction disruption as work proceeds on the north end of campus. This is a modification of what I told the Executive Committee last week when I thought we could delay the final phase until after Commencement. However, I was since informed that the delay would cost us nearly a quarter of a million dollars and I cannot justify that expense given our current financial climate. Thank you for your patience during this project.