City University of New York Interim Chancellor Christoph M. Kimmich called CUNY a “treasure,” in a keynote address at an Association for a Better New York breakfast today.
“It may be the most remarkable single institution of higher learning in the United States today,” he said. “it offers close to 300 degree programs from Accounting to Urban Planning. It is home to some of the most venerated colleges and academic programs in the world. The range and the quality of our academic offerings is unequaled in American public higher education and American public higher education happens to be the best public higher education in the world.” He added that ABNY has been “quick to recognize the invaluable resources to New York City to the people of New York City that is The City University of New York.”
Nothing that “every institution of higher learning in the country offers remedial instruction, whether they call it that or not,” he added that CUNY is “ahead of the curve in rethinking broadly and affirmatively how we shall respond to an unrelieved problem of poorly prepared students.”
He called for support of the Comprehensive Action Plan, currently being considered by the CUNY Board of Trustees, which undertakes the following:
- Increased collaborative learning programs with the public schools, building on the College Preparatory Initiative, which was introduced seven years ago to improve students’ academic preparation in high school.
- Mandatory intensive pre-freshman summer skills programs for all students needing remedial assistance, building on the proven success of current optional programs.
- Refresher courses for returning adult students who had previously mastered the subjects while in high school. The courses would be offered in the day, evening, on weekends, and with distance learning opportunities.
- New methods of teaching basic skills courses, including immersion programs, drawing on best practices available anywhere.
- A one-year limit on basic skills courses at community colleges and shorter limits at senior colleges.
- A uniform University-approved test of competence that must be passed by all students at the end of their remedial sequence.
Interim Chancellor Kimmich said, “The breadth of our student body is our glory and a point of excellence that moves me personally and about which I entertain strong convictions.” He added that “only one student in five takes any remedial course at all, and at the senior colleges, the figure is less than in 10. A mere 12% of the instruction delivered at the University’s campuses is devoted to teaching basic skills.”