NYSBDC Leads the COVID-19 Economic Recovery

Left to right, Ken Iwama, NYSBDC Director of International Business Development Jinshui Zhang, CSI President William J. Fritz, NYSBDC State Director Brian Goldstein, and CSI SBDC Director Dean Balsamini

Ken Iwama, Vice President for Economic Development, Continuing Studies, and Government Relations at The City University of New York, College of Staten Island, was appointed to serve on the Advisory Board of the New York Small Business Development Center (NYSBDC) in February.

The NYSBDC Advisory Board is a collective of leaders in the industrial, government, and educational sectors who provide their unique perspectives on the issues facing small business owners across the state. State Director Brian Goldstein commented, “We are very pleased that Ken Iwama has joined the Advisory Board as he is a staunch advocate of our mission as the premiere business assistance organization in New York State. Additionally, The City University of New York is a valuable and longstanding partner of the NYSBDC, and through this continued collaboration Ken will provide needed representation and input on behalf of all of New York City.”

Amid the pandemic, the NYSBDC has taken a place at the front and center of the COVID-19 economic recovery. The organization has been leading Webinars across the state to help guide small businesses through these tough times. Additionally, Nora Santiago from the Division’s Office of Sustainable Community Planning developed a COVID-19 resource dashboard that provides critical data for New York City and Staten Island, including the number of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths.

The dashboard utilized the Environmental Systems Research Institute’s ArcGIS, the world’s leading mapping and location analytics platform, to visually display the virus’s impact over time. Data is extracted daily from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and they provide additional pertinent data as it becomes available. Since its release, the dashboard has been incorporated on the response Website of the national higher education organization, CUMU, and has even been shared by the Governor’s office.

The NYSBDC provides expert management and technical assistance to start-up and existing businesses across the state. It is administered by The State University of New York and funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration, the State of New York, and host campuses. Through 22 campus-based regional centers, and dozens of outreach offices, the NYSBDC applies the resources of university, private sector, and government to solve business problems and foster entrepreneurship, and emphasizes counseling and training services to women, veterans, people with special needs, and minority clients. The NYSBDC also focuses on projects that advance the job development, investment, and economic growth priorities of New York State, with an emphasis on manufacturers, exporters, and technology-oriented firms.

By Jasmine Cardona

Macaulay Alum’s Company Supplying Facemasks in Partnership with Local Nonprofit

Staten Island nurses who have benefited from David Kleyman’s efforts

As a response to the COVID-19 crisis, CSI and Macaulay Honors College alumnus David Kleyman ’16 has transformed his company, Wooter Apparel, into a distributor of facemasks and medical supplies, under the name CovCare.

Explaining the history of Wooter, Kleyman said, “I started Wooter halfway into college with my two partners Alex Kagan and Alex Aleksandrovski in 2014. We built that up into a $5million/year business, selling fully custom sports apparel. We sold custom basketball/football/baseball uniforms to schools, colleges, rec. leagues, etc., and even had some of the most iconic athletes wearing our stuff like Kawhi Leonard, Floyd Mayweather, and Master P.”

However, when the pandemic hit and shut down the sports scene, Kleyman found that no one was buying uniforms. Then, he had an idea. “My wife is a nurse, so I got a pretty good look at what was going on early on. We both got Corona in late March. During this time, my team leveraged all of the connections that we’ve built up in China over the years to create a supply chain to import masks. This is what started CovCare.”

With his new company, Kleyman opted to partner with SI-based nonprofit organization Project Protect, which, he explained, “was started by a childhood friend of mine, Benjamin Bokser. He had some family friends who were nurses in Staten Island hospitals. Hearing some horror stories from them, he naturally wanted to help. We started a GoFundMe that raised over $30,000 and donated over 15,000 masks to Staten Island University Hospital.”

Kleyman noted that “This has been a life-changing and humbling experience. I can’t even begin to describe how it feels to be able to help with such an important problem on a global scale.”

Regarding his future plans for this effort, Kleyman said, “Our goal is to supply America with one billion facemasks this year. This is audacious, but I am confident that we can do it.”

By Terry Mares

Faculty Center Info Hub (CSI): Blackboard Help Virtual Drop-in Center Hours for Week of May 4 to May 8

We hope you are all safe and well.

As we get closer to finals, the Faculty Center wants to ensure you have access to the assistance you need to complete all of your course(s) activities within the Blackboard (Bb) online learning environment. Therefore, as part of our Looking Towards Finals series, this week, we will be holding a series of less formal, office hour-style, drop-in sessions where you can come and ask any questions you have pertaining to Bb. 

Need help setting up your grade center in Bb? Need help creating and/or deploying tests in Bb? Unsure how to create assignment submission links or collect and review final papers and assignments from the submission links? Have another question? If so, stop by one (or more) of our virtual drop in center hours listed below and chat with one of the Faculty Center’s Blackboard LMS Specialists.

There is no sign-up needed to attend any of the drop-in sessions listed below. To attend, simply click on the access link provided anytime within 15 minutes of the start of the session. Once clicked, Blackboard Collaborate will appear at the top of the screen. It will show the specific training session you are joining and offer a place for you to type your name (please enter both your first and last name). Select Join Session after typing your full name.

Online Workshop TitleDateTimeAccess Link 
Looking Towards Finals: Finals Prep Virtual Drop in Center Mon 5/0410:00amEnter HERE
Looking Towards Finals: Finals Prep Virtual Drop in CenterMon 5/04 NoonEnter HERE
Looking Towards Finals: Finals Prep Virtual Drop in CenterMon 5/044:00pmEnter HERE
Looking Towards Finals: Finals Prep Virtual Drop in CenterMon 5/04 6:00pmEnter HERE
Looking Towards Finals: Finals Prep Virtual Drop in CenterTue 5/0510:00am 
Enter HERE
Looking Towards Finals: Finals Prep Virtual Drop in CenterTue 5/05NoonEnter HERE
Looking Towards Finals: Finals Prep Virtual Drop in CenterTue 5/054:00pmEnter HERE
Looking Towards Finals: Finals Prep Virtual Drop in CenterTue 5/056:00pmEnter HERE
Looking Towards Finals: Finals Prep Virtual Drop in CenterWed 5/0610:00amEnter HERE
Looking Towards Finals: Finals Prep Virtual Drop in CenterWed 5/06 12:00pmEnter HERE
Looking Towards Finals: Finals Prep Virtual Drop in CenterWed 5/06 4:00pmEnter HERE
Looking Towards Finals: Finals Prep Virtual Drop in Center Wed 5/066:00pmEnter HERE
Looking Towards Finals: Finals Prep Virtual Drop in CenterThu 5/0710:00amEnter HERE
Looking Towards Finals: Finals Prep Virtual Drop in CenterThu 5/07NoonEnter HERE
Looking Towards Finals: Finals Prep Virtual Drop in CenterThu 5/074:00pmEnter HERE
Looking Towards Finals: Finals Prep Virtual Drop in CenterThu 5/076:00pmEnter HERE
Looking Towards Finals: Finals Prep Virtual Drop in CenterFri 5/0810:00pmEnter HERE
Looking Towards Finals: Finals Prep Virtual Drop in CenterFri 5/08NoonEnter HERE
Looking Towards Finals: Finals Prep Virtual Drop in CenterFri 5/084:00pm Enter HERE
Looking Towards Finals: Finals Prep Virtual Drop in Center  Fri 5/086:00pmEnter HERE

For question about any of the trainings listed above, please contact Kristen Lindtvedt at kristen.lindtvedt@csi.cuny.edu.

Please note: Due to the fluid nature of things, we ask you not rely on our Center phone extensions, as all Faculty Center Staff as Center phones are not currently being forwarded. However, staff will be present within this Hub and on email from 9:00am to 8:00pm, Monday to Friday, so please utilize these formats, as well as the text and chat options provided where applicable.

By Kristen Lindtvedt

Academic Guidance Organized

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, CUNY has been issuing regular digests of academic guidance updates. In order to make these more accessible by topic, CUNY Faculty Affairs has compiled a one-stop digest for “Faculty Related Academic Continuity Guidance.”

It contains valuable faculty-relevant digests from CUNY policy memos and much practical guidance and information:

CR/NC Grading Policy Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

CR/NC Grading Policy

Proctoring Distance Learning Exams

Student Retention and Progress

Course Withdrawal Period

Incomplete Grades

Distance Learning

Supplemental Agreement for the COVID-19 Virus State of Emergency

University Summer Workload Regulations

Tenure Clock (Note Important May 1 Deadline)

Appointment/Non-Reappointment Notices

P&B Meetings and Remote Voting

Public Meetings

Distance Learning and Contractual Obligations

This very helpful Webpage will be continuously updated as things evolve, adding to and updating the list above.

By the Division of Academic Affairs

Admitted Student Conference – UPDATE

In accordance with CUNY’s directive to limit non-essential public gatherings and NYS guidelines, the March Admitted Student Conferences has been cancelled.

The Office of Recruitment and Admissions is developing various options for our prospective students who wish to learn more about our College. This includes online options and virtual events that provide much of the content we were eager to share at the Conference. This will include:

  • Increased promotion of our existing virtual tour so that students can see our campus, featured facilities, and Dolphin Cove.
  • A new admitted student Webpage, featuring special video presentations, Webinars, resources, and much more for our newly admitted class.
  • Our new closed Facebook group for Fall 2020 admitted students so that they can interact with each other and have questions answered by New Student Mentors (peers).​

In dealing with this challenge, there is opportunity to provide more information to our prospects using the virtual platforms. Perhaps your department was unable to attend the Admitted Student Conference or conduct a session. Now, you have the opportunity to create a video or host a Webinar at your convenience.  I encourage you to contact to me if you are interested in exploring these options.

By Emmanuel Esperance, Jr.

CSI Is Closed Sunday and Monday

Since I wrote to you this afternoon and over the last several hours, we have been notified that five members of the campus community are eithe awaiting results of the Coronavirus test or have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive to the virus. We appreciate that these people have updated us so that we can take appropriate precautions.

Only one of the five, a student who was last at the school on Wednesday, Mar. 11, is symptomatic. The others have been exposed to people who are feeling ill but they themselves don’t have any symptoms.

State health officials believe that since the student was asymptomatic when she was on campus and none of the others have any symptoms, the risk to our community is low, but I believe it prudent to exercise caution while we consult further with health experts and perform a deep cleaning of the campus in accordance with City and State guidelines.

The student was only at Willowbrook; however, both the Willowbrook campus and St. George will be closed Sunday, Mar. 15 and Monday, Mar. 16. Dolphin Cove will remain open. During this time, only essential personnel are reporting to campus.

As always, if you feel sick, please contact a healthcare provider. If you don’t have a healthcare provider, please call 311. Hospital staff cannot ask you about your immigration status or deny you care based on your ability to pay.  

Your health and safety are my number one priority. We will keep you informed of developments. Please continue to check our Webpage for the latest updates.

By William J. Fritz

Training and Support for Distance Learning

I wanted to take this opportunity to share additional information regarding training and support services that are available to you in preparation for distance learning. While we have a plethora of resources available on our Website, we wanted to focus specifically on services you will need in order to migrate your course content. I would like to also stress that these services are being provided as a short-term solution and do not replace the importance of instructional design when developing your online course. Please take a moment when things settle down to visit our Distance Learning Website if you wish to explore teaching online in the future.

Blackboard Quick Guides

·       Blackboard (Bb) Faculty Quick Start Guide

This quick guide contains Blackboard tutorials and videos for basic Blackboard functionality (e.g., logging into Blackboard, uploading content, and posting assignments)
Please note: As of Friday, Mar. 13, all of the Blackboard courses have been set to “available.”

·       Blackboard (Bb) Collaborate Ultra (also included in Quick Start Guide)
Blackboard Collaborate Ultra can be used in creative ways to support your teaching and learning. The platform allows you to offer both synchronous and asynchronous collaborative sessions for your students. Recording capabilities allow you to conduct live lessons, which can be posted and shared with your students. Features such as a whiteboard, sharing your desktop, sharing files, simple polling and breakout sessions allow you to actively engage students.

·       Blackboard (Bb) Student Quick Start Guide

Cloud Applications

·       Store and access files from different devices, share files, and collaborate on content.

o   Dropbox

o   OneDrive

·       Office 365: Access office applications remotely

·       Cloud Virtual Desktop: Remotely access your course software

Training Opportunities

·       Training sessions are available for Blackboard, Bb Collaborate, and other technology tools, which you can use for hosting and sharing content (e.g., Cloud repositories such as Dropbox and OneDrive and Cloud applications such as Microsoft Forms).

·       Evening and weekend training has been added to the training schedule to accommodate adjuncts.


·       Information Technology Services, the Faculty Center, and the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures are working together to provide the necessary support during this stressful time.

·       ITS has cross-trained student staff and has established a phone triage in order to provide additional support.

·       The Faculty Center and Modern Languages have a team of technologists who will continue to support your Bb needs.

·       Departments throughout the campus are leveraging a train-the-trainer model to provide further assistance when necessary.

·       Library public labs, Rotunda, and the Campus Center will remain open for students to use.

·       Student support is available in the evenings in the Open Computer Laboratory (1L-212)

Contact Information:

·       Information Technology (helpdesk@csi.cuny.edu; benji.kuriakose@csi.cuny.edu )

Call Center: 718.982.HELP

o   Press 1 for Technical Support (e.g., computer problems and account information)

o   Press 2 for Technology Training (e.g., Blackboard and other software applications)

·       Faculty Center (michael.castelli@csi.cuny.edu ; 718.982.3909) 

·       Modern Languages (valeria.belmonti@csi.cuny.edu ; 718.982.4155)

Thank you again for your continued support.

By Patricia Kahn, PhD