President’s Welcome Back Message

It is my pleasure to welcome everyone – new and returning – to the College of Staten Island and a warm welcome to the CSI family.

This promises to be an exciting year for the College. We are in the second year of our five-year Strategic Plan; last week Forbes said that we are one of America’s Top Colleges (yet another accolade from a national publication); we’ve just won a grant to work with education institutions in Japan to advance online learning; and, one of our graduate students was recently awarded a Fulbright.

I hope you are familiar with the six priorities of Opportunity to Ascend, our new Strategic Plan, which was developed with input from across the College community. All of our efforts going forward will be oriented around these priorities: Student Success, Global Engagement, Borough Stewardship, Destination Campus, Scholarship-Driven Education, and Resource Management. I’m pleased that we’re making strides in all of these areas. Above all, our students are succeeding: CSI is actually ahead of comparable CUNY colleges for graduation rates and in other areas. And we deliver value for our students’ investments: In 2018, the College was ranked 19th on the list of Top 100 Most Affordable Universities in America.

It’s also an exciting time because we’re making real progress toward being a Destination Campus. You will see a number of projects reach their completion by the end of September, particularly plaza reconstructions in front of four buildings: 1N (Computer Science), 2N (John Marchi Hall), 5S (Nursing), and 3S (School of Education). Many other projects are at various stages across campus and reflect our commitment to providing a functional and attractive campus environment.

Our campus is a thriving community, with new and exciting activities taking place almost daily. Keep your eye on the College’s CUNY events calendar page ( CSI Today ( reports news and information almost daily and our social media ( is updated frequently. You are part of a community of people engaged in extraordinary research and pursuits, from the performing arts to the sciences, from athletics to zoology. We plan to introduce a new College newsletter soon, too, which will report on many of these stories.

Our athletics program continues to get stronger and stronger, with nearly all of our teams ranked #1 in CUNY pre-season polls. We have introduced men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track this season for the first time and four new coaches are guiding our women’s basketball, track and cross country, women’s soccer, and tennis teams. Importantly, the College’s participation in NCAA Division III athletics is helping us recruit, retain, and graduate very high-achieving students. Our student-athletes graduate faster with higher GPAs than the student body at large. They go on to prestigious medical schools, law schools, and graduate programs, and work at top firms and serve in the most prestigious not-for-profit organizations. I hope you will come out to show your Dolphin pride – game reports and team schedules are posted at (

Despite the financial issues with which we are all familiar, the state of our College is strong. I am confident that it will grow even more so over the coming semester and year – as long as we continue to work together on our common challenges.

In closing, I wish all of our incoming and returning students, faculty and staff great success this semester and throughout the academic year.

Campus Announcement

Over the last year, I have been assessing the operations of multiple departments that operated under the umbrella of the Division of Finance and Administration and their respective roles within the College’s Strategic Plan, in the context of the overall provision of services to the College community. As a result of this assessment, I decided to separate the three main branches of the former division, Facilities, Budget, and Auxiliary Services. Specifically, in an effort to ensure continued administrative and operational efficiencies, I have implemented the following reorganization plan effective Saturday, Aug. 1, 2018:

Hope Berte assumes the role of Interim Vice President for Campus Planning, Facilities Management, and Operations. In addition to Campus Planning and Facilities, in her role, Hope will oversee, Public Safety, Environmental Health and Safety, and Event Management, which will include the Center for the Arts. Operational Services will move into Hope’s portfolio and report directly to Cameron Christensen, AVP for Facilities Management and Operational Services.

Ken Iwama, Vice President for Economic Development, Continuing Studies, and Government Relations, will continue to serve as President of the Auxiliary Services Corporation and Chairperson of the Board.

Carlos Serrano, Assistant Vice President for Finance and Budget/Chief Financial Officer, will continue in his role and report to the President. The Office of Design Services is being moved from Carlos’s portfolio back to Institutional Advancement under the direction of Cheryl Adolph, Executive Director of Institutional Advancement and External Affairs.

In light of Hope’s substantial new responsibilities, she will no longer be serving as my deputy and is giving up her role as Executive Director of Human Resources. Robert Wallace will assume the role of Deputy to the President/Chief of Staff, while maintaining overall responsibility for the Legal Office and assisting the President in the management of all direct reports, including Human Resources and Athletics.

In addition to the above changes, Assistant Vice President Christopher Giordano left the College in July to accept a Vice Chancellor position with the University of Michigan – Flint. We wish Chris well in his new position and are pleased that Danielle Dimitrov has agreed to assume a portion of his duties as Interim Executive Director of Student Services.

While Danielle serves in this interim position, Catherine Ferrara will serve as the Interim Chief Diversity Officer, Title IX Coordinator, and 504/ADA Coordinator and will report directly to me.

I hope you have all enjoyed a safe and restful summer and I look forward to working together on our shared goal this year of making CSI a destination campus.


College Council President’s Report, April 19, 2018

I would like to share with you some newsworthy events that have recently placed CSI in the spotlight.

For two consecutive years, CSI is ranked the Number #1 Military Friendly School in the country. I’m pleased to announce that CSI will now be the only Purple Heart Institution in NYC. This does not mean we support military policy, military recruitment, or ROTC: it means we support our students who have served and are returning to civilian life. Additionally, Staten Island has lagged behind the other boroughs in the Basic Housing Allowance for veterans pursuing a college degree. This week, at a press conference on our campus, Congressman Dan Donovan announced an increase in the Basic Housing Allowance for Staten Island, highlighting the power of collaboration by the offices of Student and Enrollment Services, and Government Relations.

The CSI Library has been named a member of the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP), the first designation of this kind on Staten Island. This allows U.S. federal government publications to be available to the public. The CSI Library’s initial collection will focus on documents related to Staten Island, but also hopes to expand and support the History Department and Public History Program, the Legal Studies Institute, and government studies related to health sciences and education. This achievement was made possible with the collaboration between Academic Affairs; the Library, led by Amy Stempler; and Government Relations.

Our national accolades in creative writing continue. Professor Patricia Smith is a Pulitzer Prize Finalist following Tyehimba Jess’s Pulitzer prize last year. Congratulations go out to Professor Smith.

The Provost Search Committee will be co-chaired by Katie Cumiskey and Ken Iwama.  The Search Chairs and multiple constituents will meet with the search firm consultants on campus next week. The search is on track to begin by June 1 and to recruit and present applicants by the start of the fall semester.

Consistent with the Strategic Priorities, this year, we have been invited to participate in CUMU’s anchor institution initiative – a project that is designed to develop and share new strategies to create opportunities for institutions of higher education and enhance the economic and social well-being of their communities. Additionally, the Staten Island Performing Provider System (SIPPS), an organization focused on improving the quality of healthcare to SI’s Medicaid and uninsured populations, has partnered with CSI’s Workforce Development, School of Health Sciences, and School of Business in bringing $340K to the College and highlighting the benefits of Borough Stewardship.

As I reported last month, I am pleased to announce that our new Governance Plan is one step closer to the final approval by the Board FSA Committee. This means that the plan will be on the agenda for the May 7 meeting of the full Board. If approved, our new plan will be in place and effective the evening of May 7.

The budget process for this fiscal year is winding down but continues to prove challenging. Through the efforts of the Auxiliary Services Corporation and their contribution to the campus, we have a revenue stream from housing, food services, and rentals.  I would like to see these revenues reinvested to improve housing and food service, and to keep our rental areas in a state of good repair. However, in times of budget stress, they can be used to assist and ease stress on the tax-levy budget. This year, the ASC has provided guarantees of $1.9M in support to our operating budget. Although this annual amount is not sustainable, it has helped the campus push through the tough budget crisis and a realization for a better state budget and a long-term plan. I want to especially thank Executive Director of the Auxiliary Services Corp. MaryJeanne Hennessy, along with her staff and the board of directors, for their cooperation and understanding.

And finally, a brief update on campus construction. Weather permitting, the final phase of roadwork will start on April 30 and there will be the usual construction disruption as work proceeds on the north end of campus. This is a modification of what I told the Executive Committee last week when I thought we could delay the final phase until after Commencement. However, I was since informed that the delay would cost us nearly a quarter of a million dollars and I cannot justify that expense given our current financial climate. Thank you for your patience during this project.

Governance Plan

I am happy to announce that last night, the Board of Trustees approved the revisions to the College’s Governance Plan. The plan can be accessed online and we anticipate posting a copy of the plan on our Website in the near future. I again offer my gratitude to the members of the Bylaw Committee, the Committee on Organization, and everyone who assisted in the drafting and approval process.

Provost Search – Consultant Visit Schedule

As you may be aware, Provost Gary Reichard has announced his retirement effective December 2018. The firm “Academic Search” has been retained to assist in the search for a new Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs.

On Wednesday, Apr. 25, and Thursday, Apr. 26, the firm’s President, Dr. L. Jay Lemons, and Vice President, Dr. Andrea Warren Hamos, will be visiting the College. They will be conducting initial meetings with various campus constituents as set forth below to discuss the search process and to receive feedback which will assist in developing the position description and recruitment strategies.

If you are not a member of a constituent group, we encourage you to attend the Town Hall Meeting, which will be held on Apr. 25 from 2:35pm – 3:35pm. Academic Search will continue to meet with, and be informed by, faculty, staff, and students in future visits to the campus.

We encourage you to have a voice in the process, and we look forward to seeing you there.

Initial Campus Consultations with Academic Search

April 25, 2018:

10:30am – 11:30am: Department Chairs, 1A-406

11:45am -1:20pm: Search Committee, 1A-406

1:30pm – 2:30pm: Executive Committee of College Council and Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate, 1A-406

2:35pm – 3:35pm: Town Hall Meeting, 1A-406

4:00pm – 5:00pm: President’s Cabinet, 1A-406

April 26, 2018:

9:00am – 10:00am: Deans Council, 1A-406

10:00am – 10:30pm: Provost Office Staff,

10:30am – 11:00am: HR, Compliance and Diversity, 1A-406

Save the Date – Campus Strategic Planning Retreat, Apr. 20, 2018

Save the date for the Campus Strategic Planning Retreat on Friday, Apr. 20, 2018 in the Campus Center(Building 1C) Green Dolphin Lounge from 10:00am to 3:00pm.

Look for an agenda and more information early next week.

All members of the campus community are encouraged to participate as we strategize to align our budget and resources with the new Strategic Plan, Opportunity to Ascend.