Message from John Verzani, Chair, College Council

The executive committees of the College Council and the Faculty Senate have been trying to keep an archive of CSI- and CUNY-related activity during this historic time. The archive is online.

To help keep track of the new news, we are going to try to write summaries every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. The first of these can be found online.

We hope this is a helpful means to keep track of the swirl of initiatives and activities.

Be safe.

By John Verzani

Free Online Tutoring Available for Your Students

The Office of Academic Support is now offering free online tutoring–seven days a week. We strongly urge that students take advantage of this free academic assistance. We believe this service is critical now — during this challenging distance-learning period. Our students need all the structured help we are able to offer.

Please announce and promote this free online tutoring in your classes.

Tutoring is available in a wide variety of subjects in the Humanities and Social Sciences, Business, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. The online service occurs remotely through Blackboard Collaborate, and students can access tutoring sessions online.

Advise your students to identify day and time that work best for them, then click on the tutor’s respective time slot to enter the virtual tutoring room. We are here to help your students stay on top of their coursework.

I would like to express deep gratitude to Dr. Leonardo Pignataro (for us, simply “Leo”) and the team that managed to make this amazing transition happen.

Wishing you and yours a restful weekend in these strange times.

By Ralf Peetz

COVID-19: Business Office Update

I need your help. We are experiencing issues with processing time sheets for part-time personnel because the procedure previously sent is not being followed.

A few items have been brought to my attention regarding the Modified Part-Time Timesheet Submission Policy:

1.       Not all Part-Time employees were distributed the communication timely from their divisions.

2.       Submissions of timesheets are being sent directly to employees in my office and not to the established email aliases we have created.

3.       Part-Time employees are submitting their own timesheets to us along with an email from their supervisor indicating that the timesheet is approved.

We must receive the approval and timesheet submission directly from the supervisors. The employee cannot submit their timesheet directly to us, as it opens the door for manipulation after approval from the supervisor.

 Please ensure all Department chairs/heads and supervisors are familiar with the new procedure. A copy of the procedure is online

By Carlos A. Serrano

Reminder: Recalibration Period and Spring Break

This is just a reminder that, as announced by CUNY Chancellor Matos Rodriguez, administrators and staff will continue to work as they normally would during the Recalibration Period, from Friday, Mar. 27 to Wednesday, Apr. 1, and during Spring Recess, from Wednesday, Apr. 8 to Friday, Apr. 10,  albeit remotely in most cases. As previously noted, only essential personnel should report to campus.

By the Office of Human Resources

College of Staten Island Facilities Used to Support the Fight against COVID-19

Consistent with my recent video message, we have been making arrangements for Dolphin Cove and the Recreational Center (Building 1R) to be used by the State in their efforts to stem the tide of the spread of COVID-19 and in support of our Island community. As Governor Cuomo noted in today’s press conference, the College has been designated a Phase B location. I will provide additional information as it becomes available, including when a date for use of Dolphin Cove and the Recreational Center is finalized.

By William J. Fritz

Guidance from CUNY Regarding Domestic and International Travel

Please review this guidance from CUNY Academic Affairs regarding current restrictions on travel:

Prospective Academic and Business Travel (Faculty, Students, and Staff): All non-essential University-related international and domestic travel is indefinitely suspended at this time; this includes the suspension of all Spring 2020 and Summer 2020 study abroad programsIt also includes all CUNY-sponsored student international travel (including spring break), non-CUNY credit-bearing programs, and non-credit travel under the auspices of CUNY or any CUNY college or student organization. Please know that credits earned on non-CUNY study abroad programs this summer will not be accepted by the University.

Requests for exceptions to this policy will continue to be reviewed by the Office of Global Education and Initiatives and the Office of Risk, Audit, and Compliance, but will also be elevated to the Executive Vice Chancellor and University Provost, who will make a final recommendation to the Chancellor after consideration of any national and local travel restrictions, as well as guidance established by local health authorities and the CDC for New York and the travel destination to limit the risk of exposure and unintended geographic spread of COVID-19. 

Offices supporting group travel should continue to submit Trip Proposals and provide risk management reporting as usual.

Planning for and Returning from Personal Travel: The Department of State’s Global Health Advisory (issued March 19, 2020) warns that a shutdown of international travel options is imminent, and that Americans abroad should arrange to immediately return to the U.S., or risk an indefinite stay abroad. In order to help CUNY students return home before it is too late, CUNY will continue to offer rebooking support to any CUNY student or employee abroad (regardless of citizenship) who is unable to make these arrangements directly with the airline. Individuals should contact with details on their CUNY affiliation (including EMPLID if possible) to receive instructions on accessing this support. ​

By the Division of Academic Affairs

A Message from the Chancellor: Further Clarity on Recalibration Period for Educational Equity

I want to take this opportunity to provide further clarity on the rationale for our decision to implement the Recalibration Period for Educational Equity, which we announced yesterday. Our primary reason for moving up some days from the Spring Recess is to give us time to get laptops and tablets into the hands of students who need them. If we did not pause, we would get too far into the semester, and students who have been without access to technology since March 19 would then have a tough time catching up and likely drop out of the semester.

The first batch of computers we purchased for our students is scheduled to arrive this weekend, and we are finalizing plans with the campuses to distribute them swiftly early next week. Each college will devise a distribution plan that is compliant with New York State on PAUSE. College presidents and deans will be in touch to communicate the procedures and schedules for distribution of this equipment.

Our plan is for a substantial number of laptops and tablets to be in the hands of students before distance learning reconvenes on April 2. The pause is to allow time for the delivery; though I recognize that it may be disruptive to our instructional momentum, it is essential to make sure thousands of our students don’t feel left out of their education. This, to me, is not a small consideration but pivotal to our commitment to equity, and to our mission of supporting all our students and making sure that we continue being an engine of upward mobility, even during these most trying of times for everyone.  

The Recalibration Period can also provide faculty an opportunity to reflect on their experience during the first week of distance learning, with an eye to making adjustments when classes restart. I would hope it also affords faculty added flexibility in their personal lives as they continue to adapt to the additional responsibilities and challenges that the current situation presents in New York City and the metropolitan region.

Here is more information about the Recalibration Period:

  • All 16 colleges will be on pause in the Recalibration Period, no classes will be held, and no assignments or tests should be due during this period. These colleges are: Baruch, BMCC, Brooklyn College, Bronx Community College, City College, City Tech, College of Staten Island, Hostos, Hunter, John Jay, Lehman, Macaulay Honors, Medgar Evers, Queens College, Queensborough Community College, and York College. 
  • All faculty and students at these schools will be off from Friday, March 27 to Wednesday, April 1 and again from Wednesday, April 8 to Friday, April 10, for a condensed Spring Recess. Administrators and staff will continue to work as they normally would from March 27 to April 1 and during Spring Recess, albeit remotely in most cases. All local plans to reduce campus density for faculty, staff, and students remain in place.
  • The only schools exempted from the Recalibration Period are professional schools and graduate schools (Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism, School of Labor and Urban Studies, School of Law, School of Medicine, School of Professional Studies, School of Public Health and Health Policy, and The Graduate Center) and the community colleges that operate on a different academic calendar (Guttman, Kingsborough, and LaGuardia) and just recently started their Spring semester. 
  • There are a few other programs exempted including Pre-K to 12 schools in our system and pre-matriculation programs like CUNY Start, Math Start, CLIP and Adult Literacy. Decisions on continuing education and graduate programs are at the discretion of school presidents and deans. 
  • In recognition of the difficulty posed by these circumstances, we are enacting a flexible credit/no credit policy, under which students will have 20 days after they receive their grades to decide if they want to convert any or all of the letter grades they earn in their classes to Credit/No Credit (CR/NC) grading. You can find details on the policy here

I hope this adds clarity to my communication from yesterday. For the latest information, please visit the University’s coronavirus page, which also includes a video message from me. For student resources, tools and tips, visit our new continuity page

I thank you again for your patience, and for understanding that what drives our decisions every day is what is best for our students and their success. 

By Félix V. Matos Rodríguez