Blackboard Update

CUNY’s data has been delivered to Blackboard, Inc in Virginia. The CIS team has been working with the company to configure the system in their hosted environment. The CIS team has also re-focused its attention to restoring the Blackboard 8.0 system located at CIS, but for interim use only. 

In addition, CIS is working to provide the Blackboard administrators with secure access to data that faculty have not been able to access since the system’s failure occurred. In spite of the instability of our system, it is our intent to provide faculty and students with as much access as possible both to retrieve/copy data and complete assignments.

Since we cannot guarantee how long the system will remain available or stable, we have enabled a data replication process between CUNY and the hosted environment.  This replication process means that changes made to the data during this time should be automatically synchronized with the data that we sent to Blackboard over the weekend.  However, please understand that we have not been able to test or validate this synchronization process since the hosted system is not yet completed.  We therefore strongly urge all of our users to save and copy, both in the system and locally, any changes made to any existing or new Blackboard content during this interim period. I suggest that faculty print/copy their grades from Blackboard while it is up so that they have a paper copy.
I will continue to keep the College community informed of progress.

The CLUE News Is Going Green

Starting with the summer edition, and from that point forward, the CLUE News will be “paperless” and only available online.  We are pleased to join CSI’s sustainability initiative as we all work to lessen our carbon footprint on the world.  

To view the CLUE News online, please Click Here  and then click on the “CLUE News” link. 

The last paper edition of the CLUE News will run from Sunday, May 10 through Saturday, May 16. Should you have any questions, please contact us at the New Student Orientation/CLUE office located in Building 2A, Room 208.

2009 Dolphin Awards

Each year, a member of the several categories comprising the College community is selected as the recipient of a CSI Dolphin Award.  I am pleased to announce that, on the recommendations of the Dolphin Awards Committee for 2008-2009, the following members of our community have been chosen:

Category 1: Outstanding Scholarly Achievement by a Member of the Full-Time Faculty
Mark White, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, Economics, and Philosophy

Category 2: Outstanding Teaching by a Member of the Full-Time Faculty
Susan Imberman, Associate Professor, Department of Computer Science

Category 3: Outstanding Teaching by a Member of the Adjunct Faculty
James Falkin, Adjunct Faculty, Department of Political Science, Economics, and Philosophy

Category 4: Outstanding Service and Contribution to the College by a Member of the Full-Time Faculty
Richard Flanagan, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, Economics, and Philosophy; Francisco Soto, Dean of Humanities and Social Science, Professor of Spanish, Department of Modern Languages

Category 5: Outstanding Service and Contribution to the College by a Member of the Non-Teaching Instructional Staff in HEO Title
Gloria Cortopassi, Director, Payroll Office; Tom Lauria, Director, Office of Automation/Networking/Users Support

Category 6:  Outstanding Service and Contribution to the College by a Member of the Non-Instructional Staff in CLT & OIT Specialists Title
Sepehrdad Vakil, Office of Information Technology

Category 7: Outstanding Service and Contribution to the College by a Member of the Non-Instructional Staff
Debbie Mahoney, CUNY, Office Assistant, Office of the Provost 
Category 8: Outstanding Service and Contribution to the College by a Member of the Non-Instructional Staff in Maintenance, Operations, and Security
George Mallon, Assistant Director, Office of Public Safety

Category 9: Outstanding Service and Contribution to the College by a Currently Enrolled Student
Peter DeCrescenzo

University Faculty Senate Election Results

The results of the University Faculty Senate (UFS) elections are as follows:
Elected as Full-Time UFS Senators for a three-year term, starting May 2009:
 Dr.  Sandi Cooper
 Prof. Mohamed Yousef
 Dr. Alan Zimmerman

Elected as the Full-Time Faculty Alternate UFS Senator for a one-year term, starting May 2009:
 Dr. Vasilios Petratos

Elected as a UFS Senator, representing the Adjunct Faculty, Substitute Faculty, and Full-Time College Laboratory Technicians for a one-year term, starting May 2009:
 Prof. Michael Batson

The Alternate UFS Senator, elected for a one-year term, beginning  May 2009:
 Prof. Louis Foleno
The other CSI Full-Time Faculty UFS senators whose terms are continuing are:
 Dr. Kathryn Talarico (2011), Prof. Roberta Klibaner (2010), and Dr. Alfred Levine (2011, term currently  being served by an alternate).
The chair thanks Dr. Margaret Berci, Dr. Simone Wegge, and Ms. Debbie Lane for their diligent work.

Bertha Harris Women's Center Welcome with Pizza

The Bertha Harris Women’s Center will host a Welcome with Pizza on Thursday, May 14, in the Women’s Center (Building 2N, Room 106) from 1:30pm to 3:30pm.

Come for pizza and soda, and discover CSI’s Bertha Harris Women’s Center  Learn about our upcoming fall events and opportunities for student participation.  Your host will be Rula Subieh, a CSI student and Women’s Center intern.  She’ll share her experiences as an intern working for the Women’s Center and as a Women’s Studies major. 

This is a PG CLUE event.

Obligation to Report Honoraria by May 15 under State Ethics Law

I write as the College Ethics Officer concerning the obligation of each employee under NY State Ethics Law to report the receipt of honoraria (which includes travel reimbursements). Click Here to see the regulations at the New York State Commission on Public Integrity’s Website: .  The report of honoraria received between April 1, 2008 and March 31, 2009 should be sent by Friday, May 15, 2009 to Kathleen Galvez, College Ethics Officer, 1A- 210 or by email to The information to be reported is found on the form at the bottom of this memorandum.
Examples of honoraria are a speaking fee or compensation received for writing an article, or reimbursement for travel expenses not related to official duties ( i.e., the service provided for which compensation is received is not related to your job). The regulations (19 NYCRR Part 930, 930.2) specifically define honoraria as follows:

a payment, fee or other compensation to a covered individual for services rendered by a covered individual not related to the covered individual’s official duties, which payment, fee, or other compensation is made as a gratuity, or as an award or honor (e.g., for delivering a speech, writing or authoring an article or publication, or attending a meeting or conference), and

a payment, whether to a lodging site or a provider of transportation, for travel expenses made to or on behalf of an individual, or reimbursement to the covered individual for travel expenses incurred, for such services rendered by a covered individual not related to the covered individual’s official duties.

Under these two definitions, for example, honoraria received by a faculty member for delivering a speech, writing or authoring an article or publication, or attending meetings or conferences within his or her discipline do not trigger the need to file a report.

You should seek prior written approval through the Office of the College Ethics Officer for receipt of an honorarium (including travel reimbursements). If you have any doubt concerning the propriety of accepting an honorarium, you should consult with the Ethics Officer and then consider whether to file a request for prior approval or not to accept the honorarium. If you receive prior written approval you are not required to file a report for that honorarium.

Certain honoraria (including travel reimbursements) are prohibited. These include honoraria from individuals, companies, organizations, unions, vendors, and contractors that negotiate with (e.g., unions), do business with, or are interested in doing business with the University or the College. The regulations, for example, prohibit vendor paid travel to view demonstrations of a vendor’s products or services. The prohibitions also apply to employees serving as board members, whether compensated or not, and officers of related entities (e.g., auxiliary enterprise board, college association, foundation) as part of their official duties or within the scope of their employment at the College. Travel reimbursements for such purposes, however, may be made by the College when appropriate.
Should you have any questions, feel free to contact me at 718.982.2355.

Annual Report of Receipt of Honoraria: April 1, 2008 to March 31, 2009


Note: Only those employees who actually receive honoraria must file a report.

Maryann Avino-Matunas

It is with sorrow that we announce to the College community the passing of Maryann Avino-Matunas, formerly of the Business Office. Maryann was also the District Council 37 Shop Steward for College Assistants for many years prior to her employment at DC37.

The wake will be held on Sunday, May 3 at Freeman Manalapan-Marlboro Funeral Home, 344 Route 9 North, Manalapan, NJ 07726 (732.972-8484). A Funeral Liturgy will be celebrated on Monday, May 4, 10:00am at St. Thomas More Church, 186 Gordon’s Corner Rd., Manalapan, NJ 07726 in Manalapan.

In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate memorial donations to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, 281 Highway 79, Suite 14, Morganville, NJ 07731.

The College community sends its sympathy to her family.

Blackboard Status

I would like to take this time to update you on the current status of the Blackboard 8.0.  The following is a synopsis of emails sent by Brian Cohen on Wednesday, Apr. 29, 2009.  I will continue to update the user community as we receive information.

This has been a very frustrating time for the local campuses and the team at CUNY Information Systems (CIS).  The high demand for CPU resources caused the system to once again become unresponsive.

The Blackboard Crisis Response Team, comprising representatives from CIS, Blackboard, Oracle, Sun, VM Ware, Cisco, and All Stream, have been working to restore the system to a normal state.  Under the guidance of Cisco, Oracle, and Sun, CIS has installed diagnostic tools and equipment to provide additional data and have applied patches provided by Sun Microsystems.  While CIS does not believe that these efforts alone will keep the system from crashing again, they are being thorough in their efforts to restore the system.

At the same time, it has been announced by CIS that they are moving to a “hosted environment,” for Blackboard.  I would like to explain more about what that means.  From the users’ point of view, everything will look and function the same.  However from behind the scenes the Blackboard 8.0 system will no longer run at the CIS data center.  The University would use Blackboard 8.0 software installed on hardware located at the Blackboard, Inc. data center in Virginia.  This hosted Blackboard 8.0 environment was established by Blackboard to support its customers, and Blackboard manages and maintains it on a round-the-clock basis.  CIS is also working on an approach for users to log in to the hosted environment system and are modifying their network and Internet connections to handle the additional traffic.  The goal is to make this cutover as easy and transparent as possible to all users.

CIS believes that this plan will assist our efforts to identify the root cause(s) of these persistent problems, including whether they stem from within the CIS environment or are inherent to the Blackboard 8.0 system.  If the problems are not resolved while the system runs at Blackboard’s data center, then CIS focus will shift to the Blackboard 8.0 system and CIS will ensure that the company corrects these problems.  Should the problems turn out to reside at CIS, they will use the time while running in a hosted environment to track the root cause(s) and correct them.

To carry out this hosted system objective, a team of CIS staff responsible for achieving this transition to the Blackboard data center has been identified.

Some of the tasks that need to be completed before CIS can cutover to a hosted environment include:  moving the most current copy of the CUNY Blackboard 8.0 data/content to the Blackboard data center, establishing a technical and secure process that will allow our users to authenticate and login to the system at Blackboard, and modifying the current network architecture to allow for the increased network traffic over the Internet for this Blackboard usage.  Teams from both Blackboard and CUNY have already taken steps in each of these areas.  Data transfers have been tested and the actual transfer of data has started.  Brian Cohen states he has been assured by the Blackboard CEO that his team will work quickly to accomplish this cutover and he will be able to provide a better estimate of the time needed to complete the cutover once the data transfer has been completed.  However, they cannot yet establish a firm completion time.