Strategic Plan Feedback Discussion Board

We want to remind you that there are still opportunities to share your final feedback on the Strategic Priorities for the College of Staten Island 2017 – 2022: Opportunities to Ascend. The Blackboard site will remain open for comments until Sunday, Nov. 5. We have created the Strategic Plan Feedback Discussion Board for your convenience. Review of comments will take place at the Friday, Nov. 10 Institutional Planning Committee meeting.

If you need to refer to the original priorities before the revisions were made, the link is still available as “read only” from the Blackboard home page.

Thank you for your continued support of this important initiative.

College Council President’s Report, Thursday, Sept. 28, 2017

Good afternoon.

I would like to take the opportunity to once again welcome everyone back for the 2017/2018 Academic Year.

Over the summer, the College made several new administrative appointments. After national searches, Marcus Tye has been appointed the Dean of the School of Health Sciences and Ken Iwama has been appointed Vice President for Economic Development, Continuing Studies, and Government Relations, and President of the Auxiliary Services Corporation. Notification of other appointments were previously set forth in campus announcements.

I want to express my sincere support for the people of Puerto Rico. On Staten Island, due to Superstorm Sandy, we fully understand the impact of natural disasters. The effects of the recent hurricane have devastated most of the island of Puerto Rico. With nearly four million residents inhabiting more than 100 miles of rough terrain, relief efforts have been extremely difficult. Personally, I still have not heard from many lifelong friends who reside in Puerto Rico. It is our responsibility to continue our serious conversations about resiliency, climate change, and sustainable infrastructure.

As many of you already know, the College is experiencing major construction. We have received acknowledgment that the formula used by CUNY to allocate capital dollars to the campuses should be readjusted for CSI and we are seeing the results of that acknowledgment. We have received more than $57M in ongoing capital construction funds from the State that have been invested to address our longstanding infrastructure needs, many of which date back to when Willowbrook State School and Halloran General Hospital occupied our campus. I understand that construction projects are a hardship to many, but these are short-term consequences of progress and improvement.

The College has received longstanding complaints about our roadways, sidewalks, and crumbling infrastructure.

  • The Loop Road reconstruction, along with the addition of new curbs and storm sewer drainage, will ensure that the surfaces will last longer and that flooding will be better controlled.
  • New gutter installations on the buildings will control rainwater runoff, which will direct water to new underground retention basins.
  • The first phase of the Building 2M construction has been completed and once we receive the certificate of occupancy from the NYC Fire Department, we will be opening ten new classrooms for the College. The next phase of the project, demolition of the first floor, is currently underway.
  • The Hardscape Project, which is in progress, will replace the courtyards of four academic buildings. Work on the remaining eight courtyards will take place at a later date yet to be determined.
  • The substation repairs have been completed, and the transition back to two Con Ed feeds should be happening over the next two weeks.
  • We have submitted a request to CUNY for sidewalk repairs and replacement on the inner walkways, which we hope to start in the spring, as well as a plan that addresses adding rear service pads for vehicle use to most of our buildings. We are waiting for notification of available funding for these projects.

Unfortunately, our operating budget has not realized the same momentum, and we are currently facing significant challenges. Over the past two years, our operating budget has been cut $5.5M; this in addition to the 1% plus deficit from last year’s budget for which we need to account this year. While we are experiencing record increases in graduation rates, first-time freshman and graduate enrollment, our undergraduate student retention rates continue to decline. Looking at our overall expenditures, we have determined that 90% of costs are derived from Personnel Services (which have focused on academic hiring), which have been further exacerbated by the recent settled labor agreements for faculty and staff.

Actions that we have already taken to address the situation include decreasing the adjunct budget, placing on hold 77 non-faculty positions valued at $4.6M, and reducing Other Than Personnel Services (OTPS), overtime, and temp services expenditures. I am working with the Budget committee to look at strategies for the future, and I will continue to work with CUNY to address our budget challenges. Moving forward, we will need to manage our budget more holistically and strategically to advance our mission.

Therefore, our new Strategic Plan is more critical than ever. We need to align realistic institutional goals with resources, which is a departure from our previous plan. The preliminary Strategic Priorities of the new plan reflect upon growing much of what we are already doing as opposed to moving in wholly new or different directions. Additionally our previous plan expired in 2016 and there is an expectation by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education that a new plan will be completed by the end of 2017.

We have been working on the new Strategic Plan for two years pursuant to the following timetable:

  • Utilized a consultant in the fall of 2015.
  • Student, faculty, and staff focus groups met in the spring 2016.
  • In spring 2017, the College’s Institutional Planning Committee, upon consultation with small constituent groups, released a draft of six Strategic Priorities: Student Success, Global Engagement, Borough Stewardship, Destination Campus, Scholarship-Driven Education, and Resource Management.
  • The proposed Strategic Priorities were posted on Blackboard in May 2017 for the entire campus community to review and provide comment. There have been nearly 200 comments of which 90% were positive.
  • A second Town Hall Meeting will be held on October 3 and will consist of table-top discussion for each strategic priority as well as the mission, visions, and values with each table reporting on its discussions.
  • The revised draft will be distributed to the College Council in October and posted to Blackboard by mid-October for final comments by the College community.

In closing, I wish everyone great success this academic year.

Thank you.

Statement on Puerto Rico

I write to you all today to express my deep concern for the people of Puerto Rico as well as others devastated by the destruction caused by recent natural disasters. As members of our CUNY and CSI communities struggle with the aftermath of these disasters, including their effects on families and friends, the CSI community is coming together to offer our support.

The Office of Student Affairs, in conjunction with Student Government, NYPIRG, CAB, and the CSI Armed Forces Club, is accepting monetary donations at the Campus Center (Building 1C) Cafeteria and the Library (Building 1L) Cyber Café. Additionally, the NYC FDNY is accepting donations of the specific items listed below at FDNY Donation Sites  located throughout the city:

  • Diapers
  • Baby food
  • Batteries
  • First aid supplies
  • Feminine hygiene products

For more information on CUNY relief initiatives for the victims of hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, please go online.

Further, there are many other resources available for information about disaster relief:

Government – Puerto Rico

Government – New York

National Foundations and Organizations

International Foundations

 

I encourage everyone in our campus community to provide whatever support you can to these critical relief and recovery efforts.

CSI Strategic Plan Town Hall

Please join the members of the Institutional Planning Committee for a Town Hall to discuss the draft Strategic Priorities document on Tuesday, Oct. 3 from 1:30pm to 4:30pm in the Campus Center (Building 1C) Green Dolphin Lounge.

1:30pm – 2:00pm        Program Begins (light refreshments)

2:00pm – 2:15pm         President’s Opening Statement/Instructions for Table Top Discussions

2:15pm – 3:30pm         Table Top Discussions

3:30pm – 4:30pm         Reporting Out (by each table’s designated reporter)

The Strategic Plan Blackboard site will be open for comments until the afternoon of Thursday, Oct. 5. IPC will consider all additional comments received to that time at its scheduled meeting on Friday, Oct. 6. In mid-October, a revised draft will be posted on the Blackboard site for comment for one additional week. Your input and feedback on the CSI Strategic Planning Process 2017-2022 is essential.

We look forward to you joining us on Oct. 3 for this inclusive process designated to generate significant discussion and feedback from all.

President’s Welcome Back Message

I am pleased to welcome back all of our returning students, faculty, and staff. For those who are new to the College of Staten Island, I extend to you a warm welcome to the CSI family.

Upon your return to campus, as you drive around the Loop Road it is hard to miss the detour and road closures signs, the construction vehicles, and the multitude of strategically placed construction materials. While our operating budget this year is pretty challenged, there has been a lot of capital money available for new construction as well as critical infrastructure maintenance. There are approximately $57M of State-funded projects happening on campus right now. The Loop Road Project is well underway and consists of rebuilding the entire Loop Road including the addition of curbing and storm sewer drainage. I do understand the concern from the campus community as it relates to timing; however, when working with multiple state agencies, as well as permitting with city agencies and coordinating with outside contractors, we have little control over when projects are commenced. Regardless of whether or not these projects were started on June 1, we would still have experienced detours and loss of parking during the fall semester. Please be sure to keep up with the email updates regarding this project as they will provide pertinent information about getting around campus.

In addition, several buildings are on track for installation of gutters with downspouts leading to newly installed underground water-retention tanks. These tanks connect to the storm sewer system and will retain water for future irrigation use to advance sustainability on campus. In addition, several academic buildings are slated for reconstruction of their main entry plazas. We anticipate obtaining occupancy of Building 2M by the end of September. Phase three of seven will bring ten new classrooms and two new office spaces to campus. We are currently moving ahead with phase four, which consists of the demolition and construction of the first floor of the building. This location will primarily house courses for the School of Business; however, classroom space is open to the campus community.

I am also pleased to announce that this fall, CSI returned to St. George with classes at 120 Stuyvesant. Enrollment at St. George has reached 520 students, which is more students than when Staten Island Community College first opened its doors there in 1956. The initiative is to provide access to the more than 18,000 18- to 24-year-old residents with high school diplomas living in the surrounding area, who do not possess a baccalaureate degree and are not currently enrolled in a CUNY institution. The success of St. George has greatly advanced our overall enrollment for the fall semester.

This fall, we will be completing our new Strategic Priorities for 2017-2022, as well as a restated Mission, Vision, and Values. The Institutional Planning Committee, with the assistance of many faculty, has drafted the following Six Strategic Priorities along with three to four goals for each: Student Success, Global Engagement, Borough Stewardship, Destination Campus, Scholarship-Driven Education, and Resource Management. If you have not already done so, you should log in to your Blackboard account and comment on parts of the Strategic Plan. On Tuesday, October 3, we will hold a town hall meeting to solicit further input.

In closing, during this period of construction, I ask that we all work together to ensure the safety and well-being of all members of our campus community. The inconvenience of these construction projects will be minimal compared to the benefits that will be experienced as we continue to address our aging infrastructure.

I wish you all great success for this semester.

President’s Statement on DACA

I applaud the action taken by the Chancellor, Chancellor’s Statement on DACA and the CUNY Board of Trustees, CUNY BOT’s Statement on DACA concerning  President Trump’s decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. I write today in support of these statements and to reaffirm the commitment I made to our students and campus community in December 2016. Specifically, I want to reassure the campus community that:

  • CSI will take no action to assist in the enforcement of the immigration laws except as required by law;

CSI will continue to protect student record information in compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act;

  • CSI will not turn over student information to immigration enforcement authorities except pursuant to court order;
  • CSI will not request or gather information about students’ citizenship or immigration status in the course of providing educational or other services or in connection with public safety activities except as required in connection with tuition or financial aid eligibility;
  • CSI will not permit immigration enforcement officials to enter its campuses except as required by a warrant or court order; and
  • CSI will work with city, state, and federal leaders in support of immigration reforms that maximize, not diminish, educational opportunities for all students.

As part of The City University of New York, we will continue to do everything we can to support our DACA students. I wish to remind you of the following resources:

  • CUNY Citizenship Now! provides free, high-quality, and confidential immigration law services to help individuals and families on their path to U.S. citizenship.
  • For further information or if you have any questions, you can contact Isabel Bucaram, Esq., at CUNY Citizenship Now!, by text, phone call, or WhatsApp at 646.860.5678, or

At the College of Staten Island, we are deeply committed to the security of our students, faculty, and staff, and in the coming days and weeks, we will be making our voices heard in support of calls to members of Congress to pass legislation to protect the young people affected by yesterday’s decision and to safeguard our shared future.

 

CSI Statement on Recent Events in Charlottesville, VA

Many of us have been following the recent events taking place in Charlottesville, VA.

I want to express my deepest sympathies for those impacted by the tragic loss of life and wish for the full recovery of the many others who suffered serious injury.

The College of Staten Island condemns the violence, hatred, bigotry, and intolerance of extremist groups such as neo-Nazis, the KKK, white supremacists, and the like.

As I have previously stated, CSI’s Mission has always been to provide our students with an environment that allows them to achieve excellence and to embrace diversity, and to provide an inclusive and respectful workspace for our employees. We are proud to be a diverse and welcoming campus for students, faculty, and staff with a wide range of backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. We remain absolutely committed to these goals, and will have zero tolerance for intimidation and/or violence that undermines our free and open environment. Violence is not free speech and will not be tolerated on the CSI campus where we engage in civil conversations about difficult topics.

Institutions of higher education should be the center for serious conversations on difficult topics, and the College will continue to support the free exchange of ideas and differing viewpoints. However, any actions that violate CUNY’s Policy on Equal Opportunity and Non-Discrimination will not be tolerated.
Please join me in pledging to uphold our noble Mission and values.

Welcome Back BBQ

President William J. Fritz invites you to our campus-wide Welcome Back BBQ on Wednesday, Aug. 23 on the Great Lawn from noon to 1:30pm. The rain date, if necessary, is Aug. 24.