I hope this email finds you well as I write with updates and information concerning recent College activities.
This week continued to be an active one on campus. On Tuesday, after a meeting with the College Council Executive Committee (where we set the agenda for that body’s forthcoming meeting and discussed issues such as free speech on campus), I met with my colleagues from the other CUNY Senior Colleges (where we discussed, among other items, the role of campuses in furthering graduate education). That evening, we hosted an official unveiling of the student-inspired and student-produced DEI Public Art Mural in 1P, led by faculty member Dianne Hebbert of Performing and Creative Arts. Many thanks to Chairperson Siona Wilson, Prof. Hebbert, and especially the student models and artists who participated in this CUNY-funded project. I think it is a fantastic addition to our public art collection!
The following day, many of us gathered in the lobby of 1A for the inaugural “First Generation Day” where we celebrated the accomplishments and achievements of those who, like 53% of this year’s first-year students, were first in their family to go to college. From its founding, CUNY has strived to educate such persons, and the charter of its predecessor (the Free Academy, now City College, founded in 1847) explicitly calls this out. The University and CSI have long placed an emphasis on providing access to transformational educational opportunities, and from speaking to many of those in attendance, we have succeeded beyond measure in this effort. Indeed, the prior day’s “Careers in Legal Studies” event —like the Physical Therapy Department’s “White Coat Ceremony” held the following day–demonstrated just how far many of our students and alums can go once they graduate from CSI (and their willingness to “give back” to their alma mater). Many thanks to Professors Michael Paris and Zaghloul Ahmed for organizing those events, and to Jennifer Durando (CAAS) and Dr. John Meche (Men’s Center) for taking the lead on the inaugural “First Gen” initiative.
That evening, I attended a Board meeting for the CSI Foundation, where we analyzed our investment portfolio and discussed our spending policy as it relates to scholarships. Speaking of scholarships, this is one way in which your #CUNYTuesday generosity can make a big difference in the lives of our students. We are currently sitting near the top of the leaderboards, but have a long way to achieve our philanthropic goal during this Season of Giving. I encourage you, again, to support our efforts with a donation. Other opportunities to support those in need include the Athletics Program’s Thanksgiving Food Drive and the return of the Bertha Harris Women’s Center Holiday Toy Drive. Your generosity is appreciated!
This week, I also participated in, and presented at, the Continuing Education Association of New York (CEANY) where I was part of a presidential panel. We discussed the current landscape of workforce development and continuing education, micro-credentials and certificate programs, pathways to degree-granting programs, and the ways in which curricula can lead to careers for our students. Above all else, it was clear that while we continue to value ACCESS we also must emphasize OUTCOMES, and by providing ladders for upward social and economic mobility, whether through our academic programs or via career-enhancement, we are certainly doing that. To that end, I am pleased to announce that CSI is the recipient of a multi-year grant from the New York State Economic Development Corporation to develop a “certified business incubator” to assist the local community with job training and small business development. Many thanks, and a big congratulations, to Jasmine Cardona for her work in shepherding this initiative.
At this time, I want to acknowledge the passing of English Department faculty member David Bridston, who was a fixture in the Writing Program, and who had previously worked with both the Percy Ellis SEEK program and the Center for Global Engagement’s English Language Institute. His sudden death was a shock, but his memory is a blessing. The support of our colleagues in the Counseling Center, particularly Mary Murphy, who made herself available to Professor Bridston’s students, was much appreciated and commendable.
As the week ends, I also want to acknowledge the approach of Diwali and wish all who celebrate a festive holiday: it’s message that light conquers dark, good conquers evil, and knowledge overcomes ignorance is indeed inspiring. Additionally, I want to recognize the Veterans Day holiday and thank all who have served in our country’s military. CSI was recently recognized as the #2 Military Friendly and Military-Spouse Friendly School in the nation, and our hope is that this lofty recognition meets the needs of those who so selflessly served our nation. Next week brings a full slate of activities to support and honor the military veterans among us and we hope you will join in recognizing and celebrating them!
Until next time,
Timothy G. Lynch, Ph.D. (he/him/his)