President's Monthly Report
Dear Campus Community,
I am pleased to share with you my monthly report. In March, I was excited to continue my KCC learning and listening tour with the opportunity to visit two more academic departments, host a few more of our outstanding alumni and meet and talk to more members of our campus community at my Luncheon Meet and Greets.
I want to thank everyone that I’ve had the opportunity to talk to for the candor in which you shared your thoughts about the College and our needs. It has been helpful in bringing pressing concerns to light which I then share with my Senior Leadership Team. When I shared concerns that were raised about classroom furniture and its impact on active pedagogy with VP Rios, he was able to create an adhoc committee that connected his campus planning team with faculty to discuss ways to improve the students’ classroom experience. And when I shared the feedback I received about advisement with Provost Russell, she decided to create a forum where best practices can be discussed, and where faculty and staff can provide input into an advisement structure that would work best for KCC students. More information from Provost Russell will be forthcoming. Colleagues, please know, that while we are able to act with some immediacy regarding some of the information we receive, the information you provide me will ultimately help to inform our strategic plan.
Results and feedback from the COACHE survey which is now open for full-time faculty to complete will also be helpful in providing me with a better understanding of the College’s strengths and challenges. Please know that your completion is voluntary, but is very much appreciated.
This past month I was delighted to have my first of many meetings to come with student groups. I had an informative and spirited discussion with members of the Hillel, Yavneh and Tagar Clubs. I also attended my first Brooklyn Borough Hall meeting where a few of our students testified about the impact Kingsborough had on their lives.
As I entered my sixth month as President, I continued my efforts to forge partnerships that will benefit students and the College. I made visits to the Brooklyn Navy Yard with Dean Cook and Broadway Stages to discuss ways we can partner to expand experiential and workforce opportunities for students and create revenue generating opportunities for our campus that can bring more resources to KCC, and be used to support teaching and learning. I also was in conversation with Greg Bishop, NY Commissioner for Small Business Services, whom I hosted on campus about increasing opportunities for both our students and the campus. Additionally, Dr. Akunvabey and I were thrilled to host Kwaku Driskell, Program Officer for the Robin Hood Foundation.
During the last week of March, while two of our sister CUNY institutions were engaged in accreditation visits from MSCHE, I served as a MSCHE peer evaluator with a team in NJ. As you know, I believe strongly in service, including professional service. There is a need for volunteers with experience across all areas of the College; our teaching staff, and in administration. I encourage you all to consider volunteering to serve as a peer reviewer for MSCHE and for your own discipline specific organizations. Our own MSCHE visit might seem many moons away, but I know from personal experience that this time goes by very quickly. In the coming weeks, I will share with you a plan for how we will advance KCC’s culture of assessment as we strive to become an even a better college for our students and as we count down to 2025.
In the past month, AVP Todmann and I had the pleasure of meeting the original queen of all media, Ms. Vickie Schneps, CEO of Schneps Communications, and a strong supporter of the College. We are in talks to develop a consistent KCC presence in some of her periodicals—stay tuned!
Sadly, the world once again went dark as we mourned the senseless loss of lives in New Zealand as the result of the massacre in the Christchurch mosques. However, my spirits were lifted by the tremendous outpouring of support demonstrated at our memorial held on March 20th. Students from the Muslim Students Association, Rabbi Zaltzman and Father Mike joined me in offering words of condolence and hope. The following week on March 27th, in celebration of our beautiful diversity and respect for difference, the Division of Student Affairs held its inaugural student Lunch with Leaders with Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, President of the NYC Board of Rabbis; Reverend A.R. Bernard, Pastor of Christian Cultural Center; and Imam Tahir Kukaj of the Albanian Islamic Cultural Center.
If you attended Convocation, you now know two things: first, that I love Game of Thrones (GOT) television series; and second, that there are similarities between the wall in GOT and the walls at KCC that impede student and institutional success. While I anxiously await the final season of GOT to air on April 14th, on March 22nd, Provost Russell facilitated a summit on student success and developmental education. Data on key student indicators were presented and participants were able to discuss the implications of the data as well as paths forward to address identified areas of deficits.
Dr. Michael Barnhart, Chair of the History, Philosophy and Political Science Department and Coordinator for the CUNY Justice Academy, and I attended the CUNY Justice Academy Summit where we discussed the status of the program, challenges, successes and strategic goals for the coming year.
In celebration of Women’s History Month, the college was alive with a variety of activities. I was honored to be a part of the celebration and in recognition of this important month, served as the Keynote Speaker at the Women’s Center’s kick-off to the month’s program series.
Finally, it gives me great pleasure to share with you that Mr. Michael Valente has been appointed as the College’s Chief Diversity Officer. I would like to take this opportunity to thank members of the search committee for their service to the College. As you know, this critical position has been vacant for several months and we are excited that Michael has joined KCC. He comes to us from the CUNY Central Office where he served as the Chief Diversity Officer, Title IX Coordinator, and ADA/504 Coordinator, specializing in discrimination and sexual misconduct investigations, employment diversity and equity matters, and reasonable accommodations. He is a graduate of NYU and Albany Law School.
As I reach the end of this report, I will be going online to Amtrak.com to book my ticket to Washington, D.C. for next Tuesday, April 2nd . VP Fox, Provost Russell and I will be standing on eggshells while attending the official announcement ceremony to see if KCC wins the 2019 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence!