I hope that you have had a chance to enjoy the recent beautiful weather. I have had the chance to continue networking with folks on campus and off, and write to provide a brief update as to summer activities.

Last week, the campus was closed in observance of Juneteenth, and I took the opportunity to reflect on the history of that event and to acknowledge the ongoing struggles for racial and social justice in our country and at our College. As we look forward to the upcoming fiscal and academic year, I am committed to working with all of you to improve the campus climate and provide a welcoming, inclusive, supportive, and caring community for all. To that end, and working with the PSC Antiracism Collective (and others) I am proud to support applications that seek funding from CUNY’s BRESI (Black, Racial, and Ethnic Studies Initiative) call for proposals. Additionally, I am proud to commit funding and staff to further conversations—and actions—around racial healing and transformation at CSI.

I also had a pair of meetings with colleagues from the other senior colleges, and with all the Presidents and Deans from within CUNY to discuss the recently enacted state and city budgets. Although these were the best in several years, and represent a restoration of funding streams cut during the pandemic, we must be honest about the size of our structural deficit (approaching $15M dollars) and prudent when it comes to our spending—particularly as it pertains to staffing. In fact, even as our headcount has fallen, our personnel costs have remained static—and the operational costs of maintaining a large campus with an aging infrastructure are daunting. Thus, we need to be strategic and intentional in all aspects of our operations—from enrollment through investment—as we plan for our future.

This week, I had the pleasure of meeting with faculty and administrators from the Chazanoff School of Business, as well as that institution’s namesake, Jay Chazanoff. Jay and his late wife Lucille were instrumental in getting the School into position for its initial AACSB accreditation, and we are hopeful of securing that milestone in the near future. Speaking of accreditation, this week also bought official notification of the campus’ Middle States affirmation of reaccreditation. I was proud to be able to share the official word with my predecessor, Dr. Bill Fritz, as part of a pleasant and wide-ranging phone conversation. I know that Bill (and his wife Bonnie) were beloved members of the Staten Island family for many years and their influence, like that of Jay and Lucille Chazanoff, cannot be understated. They have left a legacy of borough stewardship, and big shoes to fill! In an attempt to do so, I met with local business partners to gauge interest in developing apprenticeships, internships, and other workplace-based applied learning opportunities for our students. I am encouraged that this focus—shared by the Chancellery as part of a recent Webinar drawing attention to CUNY’s role as an engine of social and economic mobility—will provide value added to the exceptional educational opportunities already in place at CSI.

In closing, I wish you all a safe and restful Independence Day weekend.

Until next time,

By Timothy G. Lynch, Ph.D. (he/him/his)