Welcome to the Fall 2020 Semester

As we prepare to start this most unusual fall semester, I want to thank all of you for your creativity, persistence, and support of our students during the last six months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our re-entry plan was approved by CUNY last week, which lays out a plan for a slow, careful move back to campus. This does not mean that there will be significant on-campus activity in the near future. We hope to have two academic buildings, 6S and 5N, up to the standards for air quality and signage specified by New York State for higher ed by early next week, which will open the door for very limited sponsored research activities as approved by the research re-entry committee and also will allow for some necessary on-campus teaching in areas such as physical therapy, nursing,  biology, and chemistry. Stay tuned for updates on these activities, but for now, assume all instruction and other work will occur via distance education/telecommuting unless you are specifically informed otherwise.

Speaking of research, this was a very good summer for our faculty receiving research grants:

• Tobias Schaefer from the Math Department and his NYU colleague Eric Vanden-Eijnden had their project, “Sharp Large Deviation Estimates of Fluctuations in Stochastic Hydrodynamic Systems,” funded by the National Science Foundation. The award amount is $147,603 over three years.
• Dr. Kristen Gillespie-Lynch​ in Psychology received funding from NSF for her project, “Promoting Engagement in Informal STEM Learning as a Path to Employment for Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder.” The award amount was $945,539 over three years.
• Also in Psychology, Dr. Sarah Berger (and her co-PI Regina Harbourne) were funded by NSF for their project, “The Role of Sleep in Infant Motor Problem Solving.” The award amount was $485,916 over three years.
• Dr. Maria Knikou from Physical Therapy received a National Institute of Health RO1 grant to support her research project  titled, “Priming with High-Frequency Trans-spinal Stimulation to Augment Locomotor Training Benefits in Spinal Cord Injury.” The amount in the first year (of five years) is $597,511.

Several faculty members achieved recognition for their scholarly efforts:

• History Professor Alexander Zevin was selected to receive one of the five Henry Wasser Awards presented for outstanding Assistant Professors in CUNY for 2020. The Feliks Gross and Henry Wasser Endowment Awards are named after two of the CUNY Academy’s founding members. 
• In Media Culture, Associate Professor Racquel Gates is the recipient of one of this year’s Academic of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences Academy Film Scholar awards for her book in progress Hollywood Style and the Invention of Blackness.
• In the School of Education, Dr. Greg Seals was a recipient of the John Dewey Society Outstanding Achievement Award for his book Teachable Moments and the Science of Education (Routledge, 2019). 

All of these accomplishments emphasize the importance of research, scholarship, and creative activity to the academic life of CSI. I know that our researchers and scholars have been frustrated by the impact of the campus closure resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, and Facilities and Academic Affairs are working hard to provide a safe campus environment where research activities that rely on campus facilities can resume as soon as possible. In the meantime, I would like to wish you all a productive and safe fall semester.

J. Michael​ Parrish