I hope that the start of November finds you well as I write with information and updates as to recent campus activities. This week has been particularly busy: here’s hoping the additional hour of sleep we gain with setting our clocks back on Sunday provides a bit of rest and relaxation. 

This week was all about building and enhancing relationships, both on campus and off. It began with Provost Steiper and I hosting a visit from Joshua Brumberg, Interim President of The Graduate Center, CUNY. We discussed ways in which that institution can better understand and serve CSI as we look to grow our own graduate enrollment and develop deeper connections to the benefit of our faculty researchers. We are pleased that so many CSI faculty serve in administrative capacities at the GC, and feel this reflects well on the scholarly and creative activities in which they are engaged; it is also a testament to the reputation our faculty hold within the University. On Tuesday, members of the administration attended a breakfast with Richmond County District Attorney Michael McMahon (and others) where we signed a pledge of support for victims of campus sexual violence. Thanks to the hard work of Tara Mastrangelo, our Director of Institutional Equity and Title IX Compliance, we have embarked on a campaign of education, programming, and prevention that we believe will stem the tide of intimate partner/dating violence that plagues too many college campuses. The partnership with the local DA’s office is but one example of how we continue to interface with local agencies to better serve our campus community. 

On Thursday, our community engagement could be seen in full force as we hosted the annual Health and Wellness Expo of the Staten Island Economic Development Corporation (SIEDC). I had the opportunity to speak to many local elected officials—namely Borough President Vito Fossella, and State Assemblymen Michael Reilly and Michael Tannousis—about issues germane to our campus. We heard inspiring words from Adam Herbst, New York State Deputy Commissioner for Aging and Long-Term Care of the NYS Department of Health, and saw a wellness fair attended by hundreds from across the Island. Many thanks to those faculty and staff who participated in this activity. The following day, I hosted a delegation from the City Council, including Councilmembers Joe Borelli, David Carr, and Kamillah Hanks, to express our gratitude for the support they provided that led to a multi-million-dollar investment in our Center for the Arts. The reputation that CSI has in the local community can be seen in the fact that five current members of the CSI Foundation Board of Directors—including yours truly—were recognized as among the City & State New York’s 2023 Staten Island Power 100. It is clear that the campus has a high place (and in my opinion a richly deserved one!) in the minds of many. 

The week was also about internal relationships. Early in the week, there was a photography exhibit, where our talented students displayed their work in 1P, and on Thursday, we participated in our first of many planned monthly “Spirit Days.” It was great to see so many of my colleagues, as well our students, embrace the opportunity to “paint the campus blue.” That evening, we hosted an opening reception for a new exhibit “Request Lines Are Open (Remix)” by artist Jason Simon, Emeritus Professor of the Department of Media Culture, in 1P. The exhibit will be on display in the Gallery until December 7, and I encourage you all to check it out. Many thanks to Professors Cynthia Chris and Siona Wilson for curating—and for inviting me to—the opening! 

The week concluded with a meeting of the Institutional Planning Committee, where we discussed curricular proposals, assessed a report from the AREC Committee, and forged ahead with our strategic planning process. It was invigorating work.  This was followed by a tour and conversation with President Lilia Cedillo of the Benemerita Universidad Autonoma de Puebla, a Mexican University with over 120,000 students (not a typo!) to discuss potential exchange and articulation programs.  

Finally, the busy week included the launch of our annual “Season of Giving”. I encourage you all to support the transformative work we are doing here at CSI by making a pledge—the first $25,000 of which will be matched by a generous donor, Lorraine Di Paolo! You have a choice of initiatives to support and we have established an ambitious goal to reach by the end of the month, so every contribution counts. We encourage ALL members of our community to consider giving to this campaign, in any amount. I thank you and look forward to the results of your collective generosity.

Until next time, 

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