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President’s Monthly Report and Updates - October 2021

Dear Campus Community,

I know that November is typically regarded as the month of ‘thanksgiving’, but this past month gave us much to be thankful for.   I am grateful for the faculty and staff who squared off on the field, for those who cheered us on and for those who donated to our Play for Pink Intramural Softball game which helped us to raise breast cancer awareness, funds for the Women’s Center, and fun among members of our faculty and staff.  As we continue to grapple with the deep racial, economic, health and other disparities laid bare by the pandemic, I am grateful for the work of faculty and staff who are engaged in efforts and initiatives to confront and address racism and inequity. Along with Provost Russell, I was honored to bring greetings at the KCC Diversity Symposium Committee’s Fall 2021 Equity and Anti-Racism Summit (EARS) opening session.  I would learn later that the opening day of EARS (October 18) would have been George Floyd’s 48th birthday.  Perhaps it was fate, the series would start on this day. But I also know no matter when the series started, it would be due to the bold and brave leadership of KCC faculty and staff that understand how these issues affect student outcomes and understand that we have an imperative to work collectively to create an inclusive and equity-focused community of teaching and learning.  It is in this spirit that this past month HURFS-RC (Historically Under-Represented Faculty and Staff Resource Center) held its Mentoring Circle. In addition, this past month the college’s RELA (Racial Equity Leadership Academy) team met to further refine our Racial Equity Change Effort (RECE).

This year we launched a comprehensive review of the College’s Governance plan. I know that there are many ways in which this work can be approached.   We have framework in place with regard to how it will occur; we have Dr. Cohen in place to lead and facilitate this work and we have members of the college community actively engaged in this work. I am grateful for your participation in this critical work.  I know that there has been little or no attention to our governance plan for many years and I also know there are strong opinions as to what the KCC governance plan should look like. What I also know is that we cannot allow our differences in our opinions result in behaviors that are antithetical to our college values.  It is important that we continue to be professional and respectful throughout our work together, particularly with regard to our governance review.  The inclusive and equitable community we seek to create is not just for students, it is for all of us. There is enough room at the table for everyone’s voice. 

I am grateful for VP Fox and the members of the Strategic Planning Committee for their work in developing the College’s 2020-2025 Strategic Plan: Charting a Course for Equity, Excellence, and Resilience and for its approval at the October College Council meeting.  Our Strategic Plan will serve as a blueprint for our work over the next 4 years.  An annual update will be shared with the campus community.

While the Monthly Reports from the senior leadership team provide the campus with salient information from each division, we do not have a forum that provides the college community an opportunity to engage with senior staff, ask questions, provide feedback or make suggestions. As such, last year I instituted Community Chats as forum to do so.  Before the end of the semester we will host a Community Chat: Faculty Edition and Community Chat Staff Edition so that we can continue to share information, provide updates on a variety of efforts and garner feedback.   In addition, in January, I will launch the KCC Director’s meeting, a monthly meeting of Directors of Programs/Offices from across the college to share information about key activities in each of their areas.  The goal here is to both address and improve communication between units and create greater synergy with regard to programming and efforts. More information will be forthcoming.

As we continue to build a culture of assessment and prepare for our Middle States review (2024-2025), I am grateful that we now have the administrative leadership of Colleen Davy (Academic Assessment) and Jonathan Cavalieri (Administrative Assessment) to further support our college wide assessment efforts.  This semester I created the Assessment Leadership Council (Provost Russell, VP Fox, Cavalieri, Davy and I) to provide overall direction and coordination of academic and administrative assessment efforts.  The Council meets monthly, and at our October meeting we discussed a number of key tasks such as improving the college’s data governance structure; clarifying a process for requesting data; creating an inventory of routine data requests; development of a comprehensive assessment website; administrative assessment needs, and the importance of sharing and discussing data college-wide.  I have asked VP Fox to share salient PMP data and goals for the current year at the next College Council meeting 

Last week, VP Rivera shared our final enrollment numbers for the fall.  With an enrollment of 11,617 students, we fell slightly short of our Fall 2020 enrollment of 11,636.  I am grateful for the staff in the Division of Enrollment Management, all our advisors, and student support personnel who worked diligently to advise and enroll students. As I have shared previously, there are enrollment declines throughout CUNY, but more so in the community college sector.  Now that the student vaccination deadline has passed (10/21), and the policy with regard to administratively withdrawing students has been implemented, we can anticipate an additional reduction in our overall enrollment.  VP Rivera will send an updated report once all the withdrawals have been completed.  In addition, I have asked her to present at the next College Council on our strategic efforts to improve enrollment over the next year.   

Registration for the winter, spring and summer sessions started on November 1. As we move to return to our pre-pandemic schedule, our goal is to have 70% in-person classes and 30% hybrid or online.  Students will be required to provide proof of vaccination no later than 10 days before the start of classes.  If they do not, they will be dropped from their in-person classes.  More information regarding the spring semester will be forthcoming.

Thank you to the COVID Response Team for all their efforts throughout the last month -uploading vaccine information to CUNYFirst and CLEARED4 and providing guidance, and resolving issues as they occurred; to the IT staff for your continued assistance in helping students to access CUNYFirst and their emails; to the Forward Committee for a well- thought out reopening plan that has helped to ensure the health and safety of the campus community and keep positive cases down; to Public Safety for their continued efforts to resolve issues at the front gate; and to the Communications team for ensuring that critical information was shared on social media and on the website. 

In October we also had good news to share about our partnership with Instride to provide students with the opportunity to earn a debt-free associate degree in a range of fields, from tourism and hospitality to community health and business administration, with the ability to automatically transfer into a CUNY bachelor’s degree program.  We were also excited to share that our Maritime Technology program received $1.5 million dollars from the New York City Council with matching funds from New York State for a total of $3 million to establish an offshore wind (OSW) basic safety training facility. 

Finally, last month we kicked off our CUNYTuesday/GivingTuesday campaign.  As you know the proceeds from our efforts go directly to support students.  


I am grateful for each one of you and all that you do to help the college fulfill its mission. I hope you will consider making a contribution to further support student success at KCC.  

Continue to stay safe, mask up and follow all required protocols. Let’s put COVID in our rear view so we can concentrate on the road ahead and the future of KCC.