Prominent Geologist Dr. William J. Fritz Named Interim President of the College of Staten Island

May 21, 2012 | The University

The City University of New York has named William J. Fritz, an experienced and dedicated administrator as well as a prominent geologist, professor and expert on Yellowstone geology, as Interim President of the College of Staten Island. The appointment was voted on Monday, May 21, 2012 by the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees.

The appointment of Dr. Fritz, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at CSI, follows the resignation of Tomas D. Morales, who has been appointed President of California State University, San Bernardino after heading CSI for five years through a period of growth and innovation.

“Provost Fritz has played an integral role in the great successes at CSI, and will continue to guide the college and its administration in the right direction,” Chancellor Matthew Goldstein said. “He has extensive administrative and academic experience, is a champion of students and has a deep commitment to the people of Staten Island, where he resides and is very much engaged in the community.

“He will serve as Interim President for a period of up to two years to ensure necessary stability and continuity as the College of Staten Island moves to complete the important academic and administrative initiatives that have been commenced under the leadership of President Morales and Provost Fritz,” Chancellor Goldstein said.

As Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs since 2008, Dr. Fritz has served as Chief Operating Officer and as a key administrator at CSI, one of CUNY’s senior colleges and the only public college on Staten Island. Reporting directly to the President, his duties have included direct oversight of the Division of Academic Affairs, with a $60 million budget and 60 percent of CSI’s personnel in academic programs, enrollment management (registrar, admissions, financial aid, advisement, testing), institutional research, sponsored programs, library, international office, continuing education, women’s center, and a small business development center.

“We have developed, or are in the process of developing, many new academic programs designed to serve the needs of Staten Island, ” Dr. Fritz said. “I believe that our new residence halls will serve as a unique resource to the City – one that will provide a residential life experience on a safe traditional campus with full access to the resources and excitement of New York.

“As a faculty member and as an administrator, I have always put students first and believe that students deserve an education that is rewarding, relevant, rigorous, and affordable,” Dr. Fritz said.  “Our students increasingly come from the top high schools on Staten Island, are participating in study-abroad, are graduating in record numbers, and are going on to prestigious graduate and professional schools. A focus on students is a key to top-quality higher education and one that I look for and support in all programs,” he added.

At CSI, Interim President Fritz has introduced and promoted data-based decision-making for strategic planning and efficient, effective allocation of resources, resulting in more transparent budgeting and allocations based on data and need rather than on historical precedent. He initiated a campus-wide focus on the library, increasing the number of books, employees and hours with attention to providing nighttime access for commuter students.

He coordinated the college’s strategic planning process, developing with the President a new strategic plan, Many Voices, One Vision, with mission, vision and value statements with six strategic directions. He restructured academic affairs, examined departmental structure, promotion and tenure and created a new faculty center for professional development.

Within CUNY, Dr. Fritz has served on the committee of chief academic officers, the subcommittee of academic officers from the senior campuses and on an international education task force. He chaired the search for Provost at the New Community College at CUNY, and served on the Pathways to Degree Completion Task Force steering committee that developed and recommended the structure for the University’s new Common Core curriculum, the reform of general education that will take effect for all CUNY undergraduates starting in fall 2013.

Dr. Fritz has been significantly involved with the Staten Island community, from establishing academic partnerships with Staten Island high schools to working with cultural and other community institutions, to promoting CSI and the borough itself. His community work has included a first-time outreach to CSI’s 58,000 alumni, 26,000 of whom still live on Staten Island. He has served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Staten Island Museum (SIM), chairing its audit committee and sitting on its capital campaign committee, and has aggressively championed CSI’s academic programs to the community.

Dr. Fritz earned his Bachelor of Science at Walla Walla (Wa.) University in 1975, his Master’s of Science in Biology at Walla Walla in 1977 and his Ph.D. in Geology at the University of Montana, Missoula, in 1980.

He is a professor of geology at CSI, a member of the earth and environmental sciences doctoral faculty at the CUNY Graduate Center, and professor emeritus of geology at Georgia State University.

A student of Yellowstone geology for 35 years, Dr. Fritz was the director of a Georgia State summer geology field camp taught for many years in Dillon, Montana and Yellowstone. His research has focused primarily on Yellowstone, southwestern Montana, Snowdonia National Park in Wales, coastal Ireland, Mount St. Helens and Nevado del Ruiz in Colombia. His publications include the books Roadside Geology of Yellowstone County, 2nd Edition: Mountain Press, Missoula, with R.C. Thomas, and Basics of Physical Stratigraphy and Sedimentology: John Wiley and Sons, Inc., New York. (1988), with J.N. Moore, as well as numerous academic papers.

Dr. Fritz’s affiliations include Sigma Xi; National Society of Collegiate Scholars, Distinguished Member; Phi Beta Delta, International Honor Society; Sigma Beta Delta, International Honor Society for Business, Management, and Administration, Honorary Member. He is the recipient of the “Best Practices” Award, University System of Georgia, for Freshmen Learning Community Program.

The College of Staten Island offers 70 baccalaureate majors, 15 associate degrees, two undergraduate certificates, 44 minors, teacher certification in 12 undergraduate and seven graduate specializations, five graduate certificates, and 15 graduate degree programs to 14,000 students. The College employs 2,313 faculty and staff and 516 foundation and auxiliary services staff. As a comprehensive campus within a research university, more than 165 doctoral students are mentored by CSI faculty (137 are full time on the CSI campus) in 30 of the 34 CUNY doctoral programs offered through the CUNY Graduate Center in Manhattan. The CSI budget is $90M with another $50M+ in direct infrastructure support from CUNY.

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