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President’s Monthly Report and Update May/ June 2022

Dear College Community,

I will get to a review of the salient items from May, but first I would be remiss if I didn’t say Thank You to all of you for all that you do that propelled us into to the position of Top Ten Finalist for the 2023 Aspen Prize for College Excellence.   We continue to make strides in the five areas that the Aspen Prize focuses on: teaching and learning, certificate and degree completion, transfer and bachelor’s attainment, workforce success, and equity for students of color and students from low-income backgrounds.  A team from Aspen will visit us in the fall to do a deeper dive into our data and to speak to members of the college community. 

  Special thank you to Assistant Dean Davy and her team for facilitating our first annual Assessment Week.  Over a hundred members of the college community attended workshops and presentations with assessment efforts from across the college, including my own presentation on the results of the 2021 Faculty and Staff Satisfaction survey. This year, with the assistance of Dean Alley Young and Jonathan Cavalieri, we constituted a small committee of faculty and staff, (Thank you to Loretta Taras Cynthia Olvina, Janine Palludan Richard Fruscione, David Zilberman, Jason Leggett, Christine Vaz, Bryan Powers, Malcom Smith, Peter Santiago and  Paule Lafortune)  to review the results and develop recommendations. I will be sending a focused communication regarding the results of the survey along with the ad hoc committee’s recommendations with the college community.

Our assessment will continue to be a critical focus for all of us as we move closer to our reaccreditation visit in 2025.  More information regarding assessment related activities for the coming activity will be forthcoming.

Unfortunately, I was not able to present my determination on the recommendations offered by the Governance Review Taskforce.  This meeting will be scheduled in September shortly after the start of classes.  I will ask the Council Secretary to send out a Save the Date prior to the end of this semester.

Speaking of data, preliminary PMP data is now available.

We demonstrate clear strengths (e.g. one year retention rates, credit accumulation) and improvement on some metrics (e.g. serving students with developmental needed, STEM enrollment, 3-year graduation rates). However, there are areas of concerns (e.g. as transfer rates when compared to other community colleges, faculty diversity, and fall to spring retention).

As you know, last month we completed our series of Transfer Talks with Presidents Mason of John Jay College and Wu of Baruch College.  Now that we have hired Juliana Dorcelus as the KCC Transfer Manager, we can expect to see an increase in transfer related activities in the coming fall .  As Provost Russell has shared,  phase two of our Academic Momentum Campaign (AcMo 2.0), will have a focus on improving the outcomes of students who transfer vertically within the CUNY system from the associate degree to the baccalaureate degree pathway. Improving transfer is a shared imperative across all colleges.  

With regard to faculty diversity, we are currently engaged in implementing the University’s Lecturer Hiring Initiative which has an emphasis on increasing faculty diversity by hiring lecturers for teaching assignments in pathways and gateway courses that have high failure rates and wide equity-gaps in course outcomes.   In addition, as I have updated a recent message to the campus, I am pleased to share that the search is currently underway for an Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in  addition to leading professional development on such topics as identity, privilege, racism, anti-Semitism, LGBTQIA inclusion, gender equity and diversity, implicit bias, cultural competence, health equity, social justice, and related topics. The Assistant Dean will also work closely with KCC colleagues who are experts in these areas, faculty, staff, students and affinity groups to cultivate a learning and workplace climate that embraces and sustains equity, diversity and inclusion. 

Enrollment, while not a PMP metric, remains a high priority.  In late May, VP Rivera and I met with Reine Sarmiento, Interim Vice Chancellor of Enrollment Management, to discuss enrollment efforts challenges and the need for strengthening the relationship with the DOE.  Currently, we lag behind where we were last year at this time.  We continue our recruitment and marketing activities to attract first year, transfer and readmit students and anticipate that once final exams are over, to see an increase in continuing student registration. As I have shared, I have awarded special funding for departments and offices to develop/host student-centered activities that promote students’ sense of belonging at KCC. In addition to the announced awards, the following proposals were also funded.

The KCC Resilience Project: Digital Storytelling by Second Language Learners to Promote Students’ Sense of Belonging

Gabrielle Kahn and Maria Bartolomeo-Maida

Intuitive eating and African movement for EveryBODY

Ilona Fridson

Please see the full listing of proposals along with descriptions here:

On May 22, I attended the  NYC Council Speaker Adrienne Adam’s State of the City Address.  Highlights of the Speaker’s plan include a focus on Affordable Housing, Improving Physical and Mental Health, Reducing Violence through Community-based Public Safety, Increasing Access to Food and Parks and Expanding Opportunity which includes the establishment of CUNY Reconnect, a program much like our KCC Flex program that will bring adults with some college credits but no degree back into classes and earning degrees.  

Last month, I was excited to be reunited with our retirees at our annual Retiree Luncheon, and celebrate students at the Phi Theta Kappa International Honors Society Induction and Dean’s List Awards Ceremonies. Earlier this month, winners of the Annual Presidential Art Awards were selected, which was a difficult task because our students are incredibly talented. This week, I hope to see you as we continue our week of celebration of our students at: 

·       Nursing Pinning Ceremony tonight (6/13) at 6pm in the PAC 

·       Lavender Graduation on Tuesday (6/14) at 4:30pm in U219/U220

·       Awards Ceremony on Wednesday (6/15) at 6pm in the PAC 

·       Commencement this coming Thursday (6/16) at 11am  

Also on Tuesday, grab you Pride T-shirts and Jeans and join us in our celebration of Pride on Tuesday.   Next Thursday though, it’s time to get dressed up in your favorite blue hues and join us for A Night By The Sea and Under the Stars, our 16thAnnual Fundraising Gala.  Join us by purchasing a ticket, making a donation, or get in on the early bird auction for NY Yankee tickets (drawing on 6/1/22) and many other prizes( of all, come celebrate our honorees New York Council Navy League,  our outstanding KCC Alumna Jill M. Morris, KCC’s own Prof. Ryan McKinney, Director of the Theatre Arts Program; and Suzanne Murphy, Chair of the KCC Foundation Board. 

Colleagues, it went by quickly and I can't believe that we have reached the end of yet another academic year.It is difficult for me to talk about the end, without thinking about the beginning.  As you may know, Helen Fabrizio has decided to retire from KCC after an outstanding 26 years of service to the college. Given the location of her desk, she is literally the first person  we see and the one of the first persons I saw on my first day at KCC.  She was pleasant and helpful, but I came to know her as so much more.  She has a memory that holds within it more information (from the most random to the very important) than any terabyte of data; she has a wonderfully wicked and dry sense of humor; she is observant;  she gives the best advice and calls it as she sees it (usually straight from the hip).  I cannot imagine what it will be like to open the doors to A226 and not have her there: calm, steady and ready take on the day and anything that is asked of her.  She is not one for the spotlight, so I can imagine her now shaking her head vigorously  in disbelief as she reads this (especially because she edited this report prior to me adding this just because I knew she would object).  But I want her to know how deeply grateful I am (we all are) and enriched I have been (and certainly we all have) because of our time together.  

Because I made a turn down memory lane, I have to see the rest of this through.  I am thinking now about the day I came to campus for my in-person interview.  Everyone was friendly and helpful, but it was Tasheka Sutton Young that stood out the most in my memories.  I remember I had a relatively large bag with me, (it held sneakers of course), and at every turn she kept offering to hold my bag.  At the time, I thought it was odd, strange even why did she insist on holding my bag?  I never did give it to her, but when I was eventually appointed and started as President, she took the bag.   And by bag, I mean she took her role as the chief of staff, support, confidante, colleague, executive, counsel, consummate professional, student advocate, knowledgeable and skilled administrator, interim and then permanent VP of Institutional Advancement, collaborator, birthday party coordinator, leader, task-master, deputy, manager -- and ran with it.  

As much as I am saddened by her impending departure, I extremely proud of the gigantic and brave leap that she is taking. I am honored to have had the opportunity to work with her and learn from her.  It won’t be too long until Tasheka is standing at her own finalist interview for the position of President.  My hope is that when she becomes president, that she will have a Chief of Staff that is as incredible to her, as she has been to me. 

Wishing everyone a safe and relaxing summer. Thank you for your herculean efforts this past year in lifting the college and our students higher.