President’s March 2017 Report to the College Council

President’s Report to the College Council

March 16, 2017


Good afternoon.

As I mentioned last month as part of my regular report of the Institutional Planning Committee (IPC), the College’s Strategic Plan expired on December 31, 2016, and the IPC will again be serving as the Steering Committee for the drafting of a new Strategic Plan. I further advised that, in light of current budget constraints, we do not plan on hiring a consultant for this process as we have done in the past.

In response to concerns expressed about the previous Strategic Plan process, this time, we envision a much more streamlined procedure. The IPC has preliminarily identified six Strategic Priorities that may form the direction of the new plan. Additionally, it has established small working groups to draft proposed Goals under each priority that we may wish to accomplish over the life of the new Strategic Plan.

It is important to note that, at this early stage, these proposed Strategic Priorities and Goals are merely a draft framework of proposals to start the wider conversation. The IPC will soon be establishing a fully transparent and inclusive process that will be designed to generate significant discussion and feedback from the entire campus community. This will, in turn, will inform the IPC and shape the final document for presentation to the College Council.

I will keep you fully informed of the Strategic Planning process as it progresses.

I am pleased to inform you that the accolades for the College keep coming. Just last month, the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs ranked CSI second in the nation in terms of the number of Fulbright awards of Master’s Institutions. A list of CSI Fulbright Scholars from 2000-2001 to 2016-2017 is provided below.

Finally, this week the New York State Assembly and Senate released their one-house budgets following the release of the Governor’s Executive Budget back in January. This signals that budget negotiations have now begun in earnest. We will be following the process very closely, especially as it may impact CUNY and CSI.

Again, I will keep you apprised of any major developments.


CSI Fulbright Scholars (2000-2001 to 2016-2018)


*Steve Arriaga

*Shahrukh Khan


Ava Chin

Monika Wojciechowski

Ying Zhu


Irina Sekerina


*Michael Young


Sarah Berger

Prosper Bernard


Barbara Clark


Jane Marcus-Delgado


Susan Smith-Peter

Cindy Wong


Alan Zimmerman


Nan Sussman


Daniel Fuchs

Peter Simpson


Stefano Harney


Gordon and Lorraine Di Paolo Board Room Unveiled

After months of extensive renovation to what was formerly called the President’s Board Room, located on the fourth floor of Building 1A, CSI President William J. Fritz, Provost Gary Reichard, College Vice Presidents and Deans, and other distinguished members of the faculty gathered to inaugurate the new state-of-the-art meeting space, the Gordon and Lorraine Di Paolo Board Room.

Thanks to a generous grant from Lorraine and Dr. Gordon Di Paolo, the facility now boasts furniture and technological upgrades, including new tables and chairs, as well as a new sound amplifier and speaker array, a wireless microphone system, and enhanced high-definition telecommunications functionality, which are all connected to a powerful and unified audio-visual processor unit that is operated via a wall-mounted touch panel.

Khatmeh Osseiran-Hanna, Vice President for Institutional Advancement and External Affairs and Executive Director of the CSI Foundation, warmly welcomed guests by highlighting the Di Paolos’ “lifelong commitment to students through scholarship opportunities and contributing to the excellence of the CSI experience.” She noted with pride that Dr. Di Paolo joined the faculty in 1971, earned the Dolphin Award for Outstanding Service and Contribution to the College by a Member of the Full-Time Faculty in 2015, and is now the College’s first one-million-dollar lifetime benefactor.

Dr. Fritz continued, underscoring the long history of support that the College and its students have received from the Di Paolos, “This room represents but a part of the ongoing generosity and support that Gordon and Lorraine have shown for our students, and our College over the years. We also have them to thank for the Gordon and Lorraine Di Paolo Overseas Scholarship and the Di Paolo Commencement Awards in Marketing and Management, which, respectively, broaden our students’ worldviews and global experience, and ensure that they complete their degrees so that they may fully pursue their professional goals. They have also established other scholarships and provided funds for disabled students; the College, in general; and other critical initiatives. For their enormous contributions, they were honored in 2009 at the First Annual Celestial Ball with President’s Medals.”

“Today is a tribute to all of you. I have worked forty years as a classroom teacher and I loved the challenge of making the material interesting. Now, as a part of the governance and leadership team, I discovered that CSI has the most impressive, hardest working and brightest people I have ever met. Your warmth nourishes me and my soul, and I thank you for that,” commented Dr. Paolo, as a retrospective slideshow from his personal and professional life graced the large monitors encircling the room.

“Lorraine and I are very fortunate,” he continued. “We both have jobs we love and are surrounded by people we respect. But we do not have our own children… the students at the college are our kids, and we are pleased and proud to support them as if they were our own. Thank you.”

Sexual Assault Awareness Month

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and I would like to take this opportunity to share valuable information with our community to help sustain our continued efforts to prevent sexual violence on our campus. It’s time for us to come together and take action to create a safer environment for all.

The College is committed to promoting the well-being and safety of all our community members. We want to provide support and guidance to those who may experience sexual harassment or sexual violence (which includes dating, domestic, and intimate partner violence, as well as stalking/cyberstalking), whether it occurs on or off campus. CUNY’s Policy on Sexual Misconduct outlines the resources that are available to anyone who experiences such violence, and I encourage everyone to read it.

These issues are extremely serious and often difficult to discuss and report, but when we all play a role and speak out against harmful attitudes and actions, we can help prevent sexual harassment and sexual violence from reoccurring. We must be dedicated to ending the violence and continue to help any student or other member of our community in need of assistance. If you experience or observe sexual harassment, sexual violence, stalking, or domestic/dating/intimate partner violence, please contact any of the College officials below:

  • Jessica Collura, Interim Title IX Coordinator/Chief Diversity Officer; 718.982.2250; Building 1A, Room 103


  • Michael Lederhandler, Interim Director of Public Safety; 718.982.2111; Building 2A, Room 108


  • Jennifer Borrero, Vice President for Student and Enrollment Services; 718.982.2335, Building 1A, Room 301


  • For a confidential consultation, students may contact The Counseling Center; 718.982.2391; after hours 855.582.6069; Building 1A, Room 109


Employees may also contact:


  • Hope Berté, Executive Director of Human Resources; 718.982.2379, Building 1A, Room 201


  • For a confidential conversation, employees may contact CUNY’s Work/Life Program Deer Oaks 24-hour helpline at 855.492.3633; or access their Website at

We also strongly encourage anyone who experiences any form of sexual violence or stalking on or off campus to immediately report the incident by calling 911, contacting NYPD Special Victims Division or your local police precinct, or contacting the Office of Public Safety, which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Our campus Public Safety officers can assist with filing a complaint both on and off campus, and in obtaining immediate medical attention and other services.

Through continued awareness and being proactive about these issues, we will all benefit in making our campus a safer place. Thank you for getting involved and for supporting our efforts.



President’s February 2017 Report to the College Council

Good afternoon and let me welcome everyone back from the winter break to the start of a new spring semester.

On Monday, Jan. 9, I sent an email to the College community informing that Governor Cuomo, in his “State of the State Address” earlier in the day in Manhattan, announced that the Institute of Basic Research (IBR) of the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities will be transitioned to the College of Staten Island and CUNY. There has been a long collaboration between scientists and staff at IBR and CSI faculty in the Neurosciences (Chemistry, Biology, Physical Therapy) that involves joint publications, collaborative research, joint federal grants, and supervision of master’s and doctoral students. This collaboration has historically included the CSI Center for Developmental Neuroscience, operated under a Memorandum of Understanding between IBR and CSI.

This is an exciting opportunity to create a nationally recognized research center that highlights our interdisciplinary strengths in understanding developmental disabilities. Our management of IBR can more effectively advance our respective missions and potentially generate efficiencies by having a single research office and centralized operational support, including streamlining the mentoring of doctoral students in collaboration with The Graduate Center, CUNY and facilitating the submission of city, state, and federal grants and contracts. In response to faculty inquiries, it is my vision that IBR should operate as a revenue-generating research center for non-tenure-track scientists who would not be merged into existing College academic departments.

It is anticipated that a Blue Ribbon Panel, to be appointed by the Governor, will determine the specific details of the merger. My main concern is that we receive appropriate start-up funding by the State to ensure that the merger does not divert from, but actually supplements, resources to our main campus. I, along with Vice President Ken Iwama, traveled to Albany on Tuesday, Feb. 7 to personally speak with every one of our State representatives concerning this start-up funding as well as our budgetary needs on campus, and I will continue to press this point with them. I will keep you informed of any new developments as they occur.

There has been significant turmoil in this country of late, which I have responded to publicly on numerous occasions. On Tuesday, Nov. 15, I sent a message to members of the College community voicing support for faculty, staff, and students who may have felt vulnerable or may have had concerns for themselves, their families, or their friends in the aftermath of the Presidential election.

In my report to the College Council on Thursday, Nov. 17, I reiterated my support, and added that while the College will continue to preserve the free exchange of ideas and differing viewpoints, which is the foundation of academic freedom, any actions that violated CUNY’s Policy on Equal Opportunity and Non-Discrimination would not be tolerated. I emailed my full report to the College community on Monday, Dec. 12.

In my report to the College Council on Thursday, Dec. 15, I unequivocally stated that CSI would support CUNY’s pledge to take a series of steps available under the law to protect and support undocumented students. I emailed my full report to the College community on Thursday, Dec. 22.

On Friday, Jan. 27, the President issued an Executive Order that suspended entry of all refugees for 120 days, barred Syrian refugees indefinitely, and for 90 days blocked entry for citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, including holders of student visas.

On Monday, Jan. 30, I emailed the College community to advise that I applauded and supported the Chancellor’s statement that  “While I understand it is the responsibility of the administration to keep our country safe, I believe that this Executive Order is inconsistent with the values of openness and inclusiveness that have made CUNY—and our country—great.”

It is my understanding that a resolution may be presented to the Faculty Senate calling for the College to designate itself a “Sanctuary Campus” and enact various measures of protection for students, staff, faculty, and others on campus. Let me say that I applaud our faculty for exercising their constitutional right and academic freedom to express their deep concern for others shared by many of us, although CUNY has not authorized any of its campuses to self-designate as a “Sanctuary Campus” and holds the position that all CUNY campuses should maintain a consistent and united front. Also, some of our most vulnerable members of our campus community have actually asked us not to self-designate as a “Sanctuary Campus” for fear of inviting targeting and reprisal. However, I will—whether the resolution is passed or not—exercise available power to implement all other actions requested therein.

In fact, we have already acted. For reasons of confidentiality, I am not at liberty to disclose specific details, but as one recent example, we successfully assisted a member of the College community, whose immigration status was placed in jeopardy, by engaging the collaborative power of our faculty, staff, legal counsel, and Government Relations. Additionally, at my request, the Provost has convened a planning group to bring an array of immigration, legal, and other experts to campus to provide accurate information and assistance to students, faculty, and staff who want to know and exercise their rights and remedies under the law. We will continue to work in this proactive manner in the future.

There is a quote attributed to Mark Twain that “Action speaks louder than words but not nearly as often.” Working together, all of our actions can speak loudly and often in the coming days and months.

Thank you.

CSI Named 2016-17 STEM Jobs Approved College

CSI has been named a STEM Jobs Approved College

The College of Staten Island (CSI)  has been designated a 2016-17 STEM JobsSM Approved College by Victory Media, the leader in connecting young professionals with education and career opportunities, and creator of STEM JobsSM media and resources for students interested in science, technology, engineering and math. The 2016-17 STEM JobsSM Approved Colleges survey rates universities, colleges, community colleges and trade schools on their ability and responsiveness to connecting programs and students with high-demand, high-growth STEM occupations.

For additional information, visit the STEM JobsSM Web site.

CSI ranks No. 118 for Most Affordable Colleges

CSI has ranked No. 118 for Most Affordable Colleges

The College of Staten Island (CSI) is No. 118 in the Student Loan Report’s Most Affordable Colleges for Incoming Freshmen with Financial Need Report.

Schools are ranked based on data from Peterson’s Financial Aid Data, which includes percentage of students with financial need, and average amount given to students in financial need.

Read the full story, and view the complete listing in the Student Loan Report online.

The Office of Diversity and Compliance

Danielle Dimitrov, Chief Diversity Officer, Title IX Coordinator, and 504/ADA Coordinator will be taking an extended leave until June 2017.

In her absence, Jessica Collura will be the Interim Chief Diversity Officer, Title IX Coordinator, and 504/ADA Coordinator. Jessica currently works as the Human Resources Manager for Classified Employee Relations. Prior to coming to CSI, Jessica worked at the New York City Fire Department as an Associate Disciplinary Counsel in the Department’s Bureau of Investigations and Trials. She also worked as an Assistant District Attorney at the Bronx County District Attorney’s Office.

Please contact Jessica by phone: 718.982.2250 or email: for matters related to recruitment searches and the following CUNY policies:

Thank you.

Statement From Chancellor James B. Milliken

Earlier today, CUNY released a statement from Chancellor James B. Milliken concerning the President’s Executive Order on immigration expressing, “While I understand it is the responsibility of the administration to keep our country safe, I believe that this Executive Order is inconsistent with the values of openness and inclusiveness that have made CUNY—and our country—great.”

I applaud the Chancellor’s Statement and further express my support by resending my report to the College Council made on December 22, 2016. While my remarks focused on undocumented students, they also encompassed a larger theme of commitment to our community. At the College of Staten Island, we are deeply committed to our students, faculty, and staff, and continue to take pride in our institution as a place where serious conversations about difficult topics happen.

Please contact Stephen Ferst, Executive Director, the CSI Center for Global Engagement at, 718.982.2100, or contact Isabel Bucaram, Esq., at CUNY Citizenship Now!, by text, phone call, or WhatsApp at 646.860.5678, for further information or if you have any questions.