April 3 Update for Faculty and Staff

As you know, yesterday was the first day of classes following the recalibration period. With the continuation of classes, I wanted to provide an update on some of the events of the last few weeks. This past week, through the hard work of many people in Student Affairs, Public Safety, Dolphin Cove, Purchasing, and Facilities, roughly 200 Dolphin Cove residents moved out, with nearly 30 students moving to the Queens College dormitory on Saturday.

Since that time, we have had a number of discussions with a liaison officer assigned to coordinate the activities of various state and federal agencies in the review of select campus locations. No final decision has been made, though that can change in a moment’s notice. As part of our overall preparations, we have compiled lists of protective gear and equipment that can be used to provide medical assistance.  

Late Tuesday night, we received the first shipment of computer devices from CUNY and yesterday, we had our first distribution of Chromebooks to students. We anticipate a second distribution early next week. Once completed, we will begin distributing technology to faculty and staff who require additional support. If you are in need of a Chromebook or iPad to assist in your work assignment, please advise the Vice President of your Division. I want to thank our IT team, Academic Affairs, the Business Office, Facilities, and Public Safety for developing and implementing our distribution plan.  

This past Wednesday, both Student Affairs and Academic Affairs hosted virtual conferences for students and faculty/staff, respectively, to learn how the transition to distance education is going and to hear what other issues are of concern during this turbulent period. Thanks to all who participated, and look for announcements of additional meetings from these and other departments in the coming weeks. Virtual office hours have also been implemented by Training, the Helpdesk, and the Faculty Center in order to support faculty, staff, and students with technology. They are also continuing to offer online training sessions on the best use of Blackboard Collaborate, Webex, and other distance-education modalities.

We are also working on ensuring that students stay connected and engaged throughout this semester. EDUCares is an academic care unit formed in Student Success that is working to connect students with faculty after the students have been absent from the virtual learning environment. Coordinated out of the Center for Advising and Academic Success (CAAS), it has contacted 1,427 students who were reported in 164 emails to educares@csi.cuny.edu from their faculty.

One thing that I want to stress, is that no matter your position, your efforts are critical and greatly appreciated. During this time of great uncertainty in the world, I know our efforts can seem insignificant against the backdrop of a global pandemic. However, I think what we’re doing now is as important as ever. Right now, we are continuing to give our students an opportunity to retain some normalcy and routine while moving ahead in their lives and academic careers.

Additionally, as the local community recovers from the severe economic impact that this pandemic is having, our College will continue to provide opportunities to receive a top education at a reasonable cost. Importantly, our Small Business Development Corporation is open and assisting our local businesses to apply for grants and loans to help them through this time.

In closing, I want to again thank you all for your work and hope that you and your loved ones stay healthy.

By William J. Fritz

CUNY Board of Trustees Staten Island Borough Hearing, Apr. 6, 2020

Please be advised that, in accordance with the directives of City, State, and Federal officials to mitigate COVID-19, the CUNY Board of Trustees will not convene its Monday, Apr. 6, 2020 Staten Island Borough Hearing. Instead, the Office of the Secretary will accept written testimony and statements from concerned individuals via email at hearings@cuny.edu until 11:30pm on Monday, April 6, 2020. All testimonies will be distributed to the Board of Trustees and Chancellery.  

By the Division of Economic Development, Continuing Studies, and Government Relations

Resumption of Online Tutoring at the Writing Center

The Writing Center is pleased to announce that it will resume its online tutoring services effective Thursday, April 2.

To schedule an appointment, students should contact robert.brandt@csi.cuny.edu, Monday through Friday between the hours of 9:00am and  5:00pm, following the directions that are contained in the attached file and are also posted on the English Department’s Webpage, which can be accessed online.

By Robert Brandt

Census Day 2020: Be Counted!

I know that we are all busy keeping ourselves, our families, and our community safe during this public health crisis. However, there is another urgent issue that I urge you to keep in mind, as it will affect our readiness for future health emergencies. Each of us must complete the 2020 Census.

As today is National Census Day, please remember that our ability to address a wide variety of important public needs – from disaster planning, to education, transportation, and public health – is directly affected by our Census responses, determining how the federal government allocates more than $675 billion a year. The funding on which our City relies will be jeopardized unless we all – every household – respond to the Census.

Our political power in Washington is also at stake. With a poor response to the Census, New York State could potentially lose two seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. If we have fewer people fighting for our interests, our voices will be diminished.

Complete the 2020 Census onlineby phone or by mail and eliminate the need for a census worker to visit your home, which is safer for everyone.

Unfortunately, New York City’s current response rate is lower than that of the country as a whole. New Yorkers are winners. We cannot let other states beat us! Remember that:

  • Your immigration status doesn’t matter (there is no citizenship question)!
  • Your language doesn’t matter (the census will collect responses in 13 languages)!
  • Your age doesn’t matter (babies count too)! 

It’s also very easy to complete the census, as there are only ten questions. It takes less than ten minutes to respond — but the impact will be felt for the next ten years.

This is our one chance this decade to be counted. Complete the census right now — and then encourage two people to do the same.
By William J. Fritz

Want to learn more? Check out www.cuny.edu/census #CUNYcounts #GetCountedNYC

Funding Opportunities

Please see the announcements below regarding funding opportunities and information likely to be of interest to many of you:.

-The RFCUNY Office of Award Pre-Proposal Support (APPS) has developed two online advisories for the biomedical, health science, and social science, and arts and culture CUNY faculty on COVID-19 funding and relief opportunities.

-Reminder: CUNY Research in the Classroom Grant ($7,500) Deadline for application is Friday, Apr. 10, 2020.  

Free Webinar on Research Against COVID-19 through the ASRC on Tuesday, Apr. 7

RFCUNY has also implemented and posted Coronavirus FAQS for RF field staff and principal investigators.

The OSPR staff are fully online and we are working to provide our usual services and assistance as you navigate the many challenges of this tumultuous time. We know that many of you are working on new proposals or amendments to current projects and understand that there will be ongoing questions as you move ahead with your work. While it may seem difficult, we are here to help you as we all persevere. We will provide regular updates on opportunities and useful resources. 

By Anne Lutkenhouse, Rosmery Frangoulis, Donna Oliva, and Mel Pipe

Free Access to eTextbooks

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is impacting our country in an unprecedented way. We are proud to be members of the community and understand that we all are facing unique challenges at this time. As we all adjust to distance learning at the College of Staten Island, we at the CSI Bookstore wanted to let you know about our partnership with VitalSource and publishers around the nation to provide free access to eTextbooks through the remainder of the spring term. Below, we are providing an FAQ on VitalSource that should allow students and faculty to access thousands of eBooks through Monday, May 25, 2020.

How do students access VitalSource Helps content?
To get started, students should go to the VitalSource Website. Before students can begin searching for and reading eBooks, they will need to log-in or create a Bookshelf account with their institution-provided email address.

It is important to note, while students at your institution may use Bookshelf today as part of an Inclusive Access program, they may access content via an LMS integration that does not require an email address, or their account may be linked to their personal email address. To access VitalSource Helps content, students must use their institution-provided email address.

For students accessing Bookshelf for the first time:
Instructions on creating a Bookshelf account that you can share with students and instructors is online. Once students create an account with an institution-provided email address, they should login and click on the “Explore” tab in the upper left corner of the screen.

For students with existing Bookshelf accounts linked to their institution-provided email address:
Students with existing Bookshelf accounts linked to their institution-provided email address will see a new tab called “Explore” when they login. This tab provides access to the free available ebooks.

For students with existing Bookshelf accounts NOT linked to their institution-provided email address, an article explaining how a student can check the email account associated with their Bookshelf account, and how to change it to an institution-provided email account to access VitalSource Helps ebooks is available.

How long is the VitalSource Helps program available?

We and the publishers are offering free access to eBooks through Monday, May 25, 2020 to ensure that affected students are able to use required learning materials through final exams. Once the free access period ends, students will maintain access to their Bookshelf account. However, eBooks provided during the VitalSource Helps program will no longer appear.

How many titles may be accessed for free as part of the VitalSource Helps eBook program?
Users may add up to seven titles to their account for free. There is a “counter” in the lower left corner of the Bookshelf screen to help users keep track of the number of books accessed.

What type of content is available as part of the VitalSource Helps eBook program?
VitalSource, publishers, and resellers have worked together to make tens of thousands of eBooks available to allow students to find their required learning materials. Students may access up to seven titles.

Custom content, interactive content, and content used for assessment are not included. Commonly assigned materials from publishers, often referred to as “courseware” (like Pearson’s MyLab, Cengage MindTap, WileyPlus, etc.) are not included in this program.

As always, students will be able to purchase physical books with us at the Bookstore on our Website and get books shipped directly to their home. For the foreseeable future, shipping charges will be waived so that students can get the books as easily and as safely as possible.

We hope that everyone is able to stay safe and keep learning to the best of their abilities and that we may help in this time of transition.

For more information, please contact the Bookstore Manager, Nicole Kempster, at nicole.kempster@csi.cuny.edu.

By CSI Auxiliary Services