July 29, 2015
President Karen L. Gould has announced that she will retire following the conclusion of the coming academic year after seven years of service to Brooklyn College and The City University of New York. I wish to thank and commend Dr. Gould, the first woman to serve as the President of Brooklyn College, for her exemplary achievements. Under her leadership, Brooklyn College has enhanced academic quality across disciplines, significantly increased student retention and graduation rates, accelerated fund-raising goals, and expanded international education and global partnerships. The College has also secured more than $30 million to launch the Barry R. Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema, built new athletic fields and is well on the way to completing the new Leonard and Claire Tow Center for the Performing Arts.
The Feirstein School at Steiner Studios in the Brooklyn Navy Yard will stand as one of President Gould’s great legacies. It is the first public graduate school of cinema in New York City and the only school in the nation on a working film lot. The School is a major public-private partnership, and it has included the creation of eight new graduate programs including five new MFA programs in film.
In addition, Provost William Tramontano and President Gould created four new academic schools, resulting in a five-school structure at Brooklyn College which identifies the full range of its academic strengths: the Humanities and Social Sciences; Natural and Behavioral Sciences; Visual, Media and Performing Arts; Business; and Education. President Gould also led a fund-raising campaign to name the Murray Koppelman School of Business.
President Gould has been successful in enhancing the profile and quality of Brooklyn College’s science programs. As a result, enrollment in the School of Natural and Behavioral Sciences increased by 20.5 percent in undergraduate programs and 31.5 percent in graduate programs from 2012 to 2014. She also worked successfully to align the College’s science programs with the goals of CUNY’s increased emphases on science education and research. This included a multi-year facilities upgrade project, for which Brooklyn College has received significant state support, which will result in construction of the state-of-the-art Roosevelt Science Teaching Commons.
President Gould also initiated a comprehensive review of programs and activities in the School of Education, including a school-wide analysis and review of student achievements on the new statewide teacher certification examinations and a strategic review of the School’s current structure.
During President Gould’s tenure, the Washington Monthly magazine ranked Brooklyn College as the best “bang for the buck” in the nation, Princeton Review named Brooklyn one of the nation’s best undergraduate institutions, U.S. News & World Report ranked it as one of “America’s Best Colleges,” and Brooklyn won an Educators of Distinction Award from Saludos Hispanos for its commitment to higher education success for Hispanics.
There will, of course, be an appropriate occasion for all of us to express our deep appreciation to President Gould for her outstanding service to Brooklyn College and The City University of New York. I am confident that the next President of Brooklyn College will build upon her legacy and the superb work of the College’s talented faculty, staff and students.
A national search for a new president will begin this fall, consistent with the guidelines of the CUNY Board of Trustees.
July 08, 2015
Two highly respected leaders were appointed to lead community colleges at the City University of New York. Dr. David Gomez was selected as President of Hostos Community College and Dr. Thomas A. Isekenegbe was chosen as President of Bronx Community College.
Dr. Gomez was a longtime senior administrator at Kingsborough Community College before being named Interim President of Hostos Community College last July.
Dr. Isekenegbe, who was formerly President of Cumberland County College, has an outstanding administrative, teaching and leadership record that spans nearly 30 years at both two-year and four-year institutions of higher education.
In a statement on President Isekenegbe’s appointment, Chancellor Milliken stated: “President Isekenegbe has an exemplary record of leadership and accomplishment at Cumberland County College and throughout a distinguished career that encompasses administration, teaching, scholarship and community service. He is deeply committed and focused on student success and completion and has developed and implemented effective strategies to enhance student achievement. We are confident that he will provide inspired leadership for Bronx Community College.”
President Isekenegbe said, “I am honored and humbled by this appointment. I am looking forward to working with the Chancellor, faculty, staff, students, alumni and the Bronx Community to make Bronx Community College the best Community College.”
For more on President Isekenegbe, click here.
In a statement on President Gomez, Chancellor Milliken said: “Dr. Gomez has proven himself to be an exemplary academic leader and administrator as well as a dedicated member of the CUNY community. As a Bronx resident, Interim President and former Dean of Faculty at Hostos, he is thoroughly familiar with the College and the surrounding community and has been exceptionally supportive of its students, faculty and staff.”
President Gomez said: “I am excited about this opportunity to build upon the progress that Hostos Community College has achieved and to continue this exemplary collaboration with our outstanding faculty and staff on behalf of our students. It is with great appreciation that I embrace the opportunity to serve this important institution that has been for more than four decades a vital and necessary part of the community in the South Bronx and beyond.”
For more on President Gomez, click here.
June 23, 2015
With deepest appreciation, we commend Mayor Bill de Blasio, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and The New York City Council on the budget agreement on the 2015-16 New York City budget and for its historic investment in The City University of New York.
The budget agreement provides for a long-term commitment to expand and fully fund the CUNY Accelerated Studies in Associates Program, or ASAP, up to $42 million in 2019. This nationally recognized initiative developed by the University to improve student completion at community colleges has resulted in more than double the traditional graduation rate. The new funding will allow CUNY to more effectively meet the educational needs of our students and prepare them for entry into the workforce.
The budget agreement includes needed support for capital construction and renovation at CUNY campuses to ensure that all the community colleges continue to offer modern and safe facilities. We are also most grateful for the inclusion of the City Council’s Merit Scholarship program for academic achievers.
We wish to especially thank the City Council’s Finance and Higher Education Committees, led, respectively, by Councilmembers Julissa Ferreras and Inez Barron.
This budget agreement provides a strong affirmation of support for a culture of innovation as exemplified by ASAP and other CUNY programs that strengthen student access, achievement and success.
June 17, 2015
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has made safety on college campuses a matter of the highest priority and through legislation he championed, has set an example for the nation in addressing sexual violence on campus. We commend the Governor and the New York State Legislature for reaching agreement on this important legislation. CUNY has been a strong supporter of these important reforms.
May 12, 2015
I am writing to announce the launch of a new strategic planning effort for The City University of New York, and to ask for your participation in this important activity.
There are few institutions that more fully embody the goals of public higher education–broad, affordable access to high quality academic programs–than does CUNY. Beginning in 1847, CUNY has opened its doors to immigrants, first generation and low-income students, providing a pathway to the middle class. At the same time it has demonstrated that academic excellence can be achieved in such an environment, and among its alumni are 13 Nobel Prize winners and many thousands of business, labor and political leaders, great teachers, extraordinary health care providers, accomplished artists and scholars and successes of every kind and in every discipline. It is this mission, embraced today on an unprecedented scale, that positions CUNY so well for the years ahead.
CUNY has done much to serve New York, and with record enrollment this year it continues to be one of the city’s and state’s most valuable resources. But all institutions can benefit from a critical assessment of strengths, weaknesses and opportunities in a rapidly changing environment and from a broad and thoughtful discussion of priorities for the future. To this end, I am initiating a process that will engage our internal stakeholders–faculty, students and staff–as well as alumni, supporters and community, state and national leaders. I expect this to be an exciting opportunity to think expansively and creatively about what it should mean to be the nation’s–if not the world’s–leading urban public university and what the implications are for our programs and activities.
I could not be prouder of the heritage of CUNY and at the same time more excited about the prospects for its future. I have had opportunities to discuss a few of my ideas about the future of CUNY, including increasing the academic success of our students, a need for more partnerships with academic, not-for-profit and business organizations, a need to fully embrace technology to advance our teaching and learning, research and engagement, the importance of adopting a global perspective, and more. And while I will enjoy a key role in helping shape the direction of CUNY for the years ahead, I am most interested in receiving ideas from the many internal and external stakeholders who are committed to CUNY and its role in New York and the world. This, of course, includes taking full advantage of each college’s strategic planning work, and collecting and reviewing those plans was a first step in this process.
I will soon name a steering committee to assist me in leading this planning effort, and we will engage resources in specific areas to advance our thinking. We will also soon launch a “21st Century CUNY” website that will keep you posted on our progress and provide opportunities for comment on drafts and ideas. We have retained the services of AKA│Strategy, a leading consulting firm, as our partner in this process. AKA│Strategy, led by former CUNY vice chancellor Anthony Knerr, has assisted many institutions with planning, including Hunter College and Baruch College. We have begun to prepare for our work over the last few months, gathering data and enlisting resources, and we expect to conclude with a final strategic framework document in the next academic year.
I hope you will join me in this opportunity to think and plan anew for CUNY’s best future. I look forward to your ideas and our work together.
Best wishes and thank you for all you do for CUNY.
James B. Milliken
May 05, 2015
Chancellor James B. Milliken reported to the Trustees on President Barack Obama’s visit to Lehman College to launch the “My Brother’s Keeper’s Alliance,” a non-profit group focused on improving opportunities for young black and Latino men. Chancellor Milliken also discussed the success of the 13th annual Citizenship NOW! Call-In and provided details on a reception honoring more than 200 CUNY immigrant students who were awarded TheDream.US scholarship. In addition, the Chancellor summarized the State budget, which includes increased funding for various programs and initiatives.
To listen to a podcast of the Chancellor’s report, click here.
April 24, 2015
In his speech at the Association for a Better New York, Governor Cuomo announced his priorities for the remainder of the legislative session in Albany. We commend the Governor’s leadership on combating sexual assault on college campuses in New York State, and we look forward to working with him and the legislature on this important matter. We were also encouraged by his commitment to work for passage of the New York State Dream Act, which would provide academically eligible students with access to much-needed financial aid for higher education. We join the Governor in his important efforts to extend access to educational opportunity in New York.
April 01, 2015
We appreciate the dedicated leadership of Governor Cuomo, New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, Assembly Higher Education Committee Chair Deborah Glick, Senate Higher Education Committee Chair Kenneth P. LaValle and the membership of the New York State Legislature and their staffs on the adoption of a State Budget with significant investments in The City University of New York and the over 500,000 degree credit and adult and continuing education students we serve.
We will continue to work with all parties during the remainder of the legislative session on critical outstanding issues, including support for collective bargaining on behalf of CUNY’s faculty and staff, as well as “ maintenance of effort “ to address mandatory costs and passage of the Dream Act.
We are most appreciative of the additional funding provided for the basic operating costs of the community colleges, the SEEK and College Discovery programs, the Joseph S. Murphy Institute for Worker Education and Labor Studies, CUNY Leads, and childcare and foster care student access. The increases in student financial aid, merit scholarships and loan forgiveness will further advance the State’s commitment to access and affordability. Important new investment in the CUNY Accelerated Studies in Associate Programs (ASAP), which has been hailed as a national model and has had dramatic impact on graduation rates, is much appreciated.
We are especially grateful to state leaders for their continued support of CUNY’s mandate to maintain and expand its commitment to academic excellence and to the provision of equal access and opportunity for students, faculty and staff from all ethnic and racial groups and from both sexes, and to remain responsive to the needs of its urban setting, as required in the New York State Education Law.
CUNY continues to be the pathway to the middle class for so many immigrant, first generation and low income New Yorkers, and we are grateful for the vital support the state provides to make this possible. In part as a result of this investment, CUNY’s student enrollment today is at record levels and its students and faculty are winning more major national competitive awards than ever. The return on the state’s investment in CUNY is more apparent than ever.
March 26, 2015
Dear Faculty and Staff:
I am writing to share with you the status of the New York State Budget negotiations in Albany with respect to The City University of New York. The Governor and leaders of the Assembly and Senate are working to reconcile the Executive Budget and the “one house budget bills” adopted earlier this month. During my meetings in Albany this week, all indications were that the parties are working hard to meet the statutory March 31 deadline for State budget adoption. We expect final decisions to be made over the next few days, and we are working with our partners and supporters to urge the adoption of important CUNY priorities.
Our top priority continues to be the funding needed to help reach a successful resolution of collective bargaining with faculty and staff. As I have said many times at Trustee meetings, public appearances and in numerous meetings with state and city elected officials, if CUNY is to attract and retain talented faculty—both full-time and adjunct—and staff, we need an agreement with competitive salaries and benefits, including retroactive increases. Without significant support from the state, it’s hard to see how we can be in a position to fund this essential obligation, and certainly not without heavy reliance on tuition and deep reductions in the university’s budget. And to this point, in my testimony before the fiscal committees of the New York State Legislature in February, I reminded legislators that the portion of CUNY’s budget supported by tuition revenue has grown significantly over the last four years.
As I indicated in the Chancellor’s Budget Request presented to the Board of Trustees last November, CUNY also needs significant additional funding to cover other mandatory costs, such as fringe benefits, salary step increments, energy costs and building rentals. We have also asked for improved funding for full-time faculty positions, capital repair and construction, community college base aid and the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP).
When the rational tuition plan was passed in 2011, it was clear that the State Legislature intended that additional tuition dollars would help provide funding for increased full-time faculty, academic programs and student support services important to improve retention and graduation. While tuition dollars were not intended to pay for mandatory costs, the “maintenance of effort” called for in the 2011 legislation has not provided for support of basic, mandatory costs. We are urging the Governor and the Legislature to clarify this important issue.
In February and early March, all campus presidents and their government relations teams—as well as students, faculty, alumni and civic friends—lobbied in Albany or held meetings in legislators’ district offices to stress CUNY’s budget priorities. In addition, borough meetings were organized with assembly members, senators and city councilmembers in conjunction with the borough presidents, to advocate for a strong investment in CUNY. Thousands of emails and letters from students, faculty, staff, parents and alumni have reinforced these efforts.
The 1979 New York State Education Law, which established the organization and funding of the modern City University of New York, eloquently framed the mission of CUNY. “The legislature’s intent is that the City University be supported as an independent and integrated system of higher education on the assumption that the university will continue to maintain and expand its commitment to academic excellence and to the provision of equal access and opportunity for students, faculty and staff from all ethnic and racial groups and from both sexes… The university must remain responsive to the needs of its urban setting and maintain its close articulation between senior and community colleges units… Only the strongest commitment to the special needs of an urban constituency justifies the legislature’s support of an independent and unique structure for the University.” It would be hard to conceive of a university with a commitment to this mission stronger than that of CUNY, which has demonstrated over the years the wisdom of this legislation and the importance of its support by the state.
New York has enormously benefitted from the almost one million alumni, reflecting the great diversity of our city and state, who have graduated from CUNY colleges. After ten years, over 80 percent of CUNY alumni live and work in New York. They contribute to a stable tax base, an educated workforce and strong communities. CUNY’s ability to serve the next generation of New Yorkers with the same commitment and effectiveness as in the past is to a significant degree a function of the state’s investment.
We will continue to deliver these important messages during the next few days of budget discussions and throughout the session when additional decisions on compensation and maintenance of effort may be made. I deeply appreciate the support of our faculty and staff in this effort, and I am grateful for all you do every day for CUNY and New York. Thank you.
James B. Milliken
March 05, 2015
In his March report to the Board of Trustees, Chancellor James B. Milliken remarked on ASAP’s national recognition, new support for STEM programs, and the need to remain competitive in retaining talented faculty and staff. Chancellor Milliken reiterated that his top priority remains the resolution of collective bargaining agreements to recognize the commitment of faculty and staff. The Chancellor said: “If CUNY is to attract and retain top talent, we need an agreement with appropriate salary and benefits.” Chancellor Milliken added that the University’s dedicated adjunct faculty deserves recognition and long overdue raises for providing “a critical component to our ability to offer a high quality education to our students.”
To listen to podcast of the Chancellor’s Report, click here.
Full text of Chancellor’s remarks:
I am happy to welcome all of you to the March Board meeting.
I join Chairperson Schmidt in commending Senior University Dean John Mogulescu, University Dean Donna Linderman and their team for their tremendous success with ASAP, and their outstanding work. I also compliment the Community College Presidents for their work to make ASAP a great success. First Deputy Mayor Tony Shorris participated in MDRC’s announcement of the impressive ASAP results and clearly took pride in the city’s investment in our success.
ASAP now operates at seven CUNY Colleges and we are about to launch a pilot program for ASAP at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. ASAP’s stunning results in boosting graduation rates deserve the national attention the program has received. According to MDRC’s study, not only are more than half of ASAP’s students graduating within three years; more than forty percent graduate in 2½ years, compared to fifteen percent in the comparison group. Best of all, because the program generates so many more graduates, the cost per degree was actually lower, despite the substantial investment to operate the program. So ASAP produces more graduates in less time for less money.
There is good reason that ASAP and CUNY were singled out by President Obama as a program that others should emulate. Chairperson Schmidt noted Tennessee Governor Haslam’s interest as well. Today I sent the Governor a packet of material and hope we can work together to expand ASAP. If more community colleges develop ASAP-like programs, the community college expansion in this country could be significantly changed for the better.
We now have both the Governor’s Executive Budget for Fiscal 2015-2016, and the Mayor’s Fiscal Year 2015-16 City Preliminary Budget in hand. Both offer some positive developments, as I have outlined previously. The multi-year $150 million commitment from the Mayor to support STEM graduates and to expand ASAP will enter its second year as planned.
I am going to ask Vice Chancellor Sapienza to review a few key points regarding the state budget when I’m finished, including changes since the last meeting of the Board through the 30 day amendment process, but first I want to provide a few comments of my own.
Our top priority remains the resolution of collective bargaining with our faculty and staff. As you know, the University’s contract with our faculty expired in 2010. It is essential that we get the state’s support for the terms of an agreement that would be in the line with those of other unions, including retroactive increases that would recognize the commitment of our faculty and staff.
Years without across the board increases are, of course, creating a deepening problem. We are in a competition for talent, and our faculty salaries are well below other public universities in the region. With record enrollments and a universally recognized need to increase educational attainment levels, we cannot afford to lose qualified faculty or be unable to recruit new faculty. The imperative of reaching a resolution for our faculty and staff is clear. If CUNY is to attract and retain top talent, as we must, we need a collective bargaining agreement with appropriate salary and benefits. I have made this clear in every single conversation I have had with our state and city officials.
In that regard, it has been suggested to me that I could be more clear in making it known that I’m including CUNY’s dedicated and hard-working adjunct instructors when discussing the need for a new contract. I didn’t realize there was confusion, but let me be very clear: our adjunct faculty deserve recognition and long overdue raises. They provide a critical component to our ability to offer a high quality education for our students and we are grateful for their contributions.
Even without taking into account a contract with our faculty and staff, the proposed Executive Budget represents a significant cut to the senior colleges of $51 million, or a little over 4 percent of the senior college base aid budget. This includes unfunded mandatory needs of $25 million for fringe benefits, $10 million for energy costs, $8 million for building rentals and $8 million for salary steps. It’s clear from the 2011 State Higher Education Act that these amounts were not to be funded from tuition; however, that is in fact the only source of additional available incremental funding in the budget. So unless this shortfall is addressed by the Legislature, we are left in a difficult position.
In addition to the fiscal matters in the budget, there are a number of substantive policy changes that, we believe, require much discussion and review before adoption. These are matters that go to the heart of academic decision making and governance and I will ask Matt to review them with you when he discusses the budget.
I know you join me in urging the Legislature to address these matters, both fiscal and policy. As a first step in that process, on February 10th I appeared before the New York State Senate Finance and Assembly Ways and Means Committees joint committees, and have had the opportunity to meet several members of the leadership for further discussions.
I also want to mention the very good work that the presidents, their staff, the faculty and students have been doing in carrying the same message to our elected officials. We are very pleased to have so many delegations going to Albany on an ongoing basis. I had dinner with Trustee Awadjie last Thursday and he was having trouble keeping his eyes open. I assumed it was my company but he assured me that it was getting up at 4:30 that morning to join six busloads of students traveling for a lobby day in Albany. We could not have authentic and effective advocates on CUNY’s behalf and I want to thank Trustee Awadjie, his colleagues, and the USS for their enthusiasm and their efforts.
Within days of my testimony I made a second visit to Albany which was downright celebratory. As Chairperson Schmidt mentioned, we held the CUNY Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Caucus Luncheon Awards. I was delighted to join Trustees Berry, DiMartino, Foster and Awadjie, members of the central office leadership, many of our college presidents, staff and students. We had the honor of presenting The CUNY Educational Leadership Award to Ms. Arva R. Rice, President and CEO of the New York Urban League, an institution that for 90 years has helped underserved communities surmount educational and economic obstacles, and most recently published the Parents’ Guide to STEM. The second award went to David C. Banks, a CUNY alumnus and founder of The Eagle Academy Foundation, dedicated to providing young urban men quality education and supporting them to achieve their highest aspirations. We look forward to enrolling their graduates, and I know that CUNY will be in competition for them. I had the opportunity to meet one of these graduates at the 100 Black Men Benefit Gala two weeks ago; he had applied to and received 22 college offers!
We were also joined that day by many of our State legislators, including the newly elected Speaker, Carl Heastie, Secretary of State, Eric Schneiderman, State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli and City Controller Scott Stringer. We received great media coverage for the event and it was terrific to see the support CUNY had from so many of our state legislators. If you haven’t been to one of these events, I urge you do attend in the future. Not only is it a great showing of our students and friends in Albany, but you get to see why Jay Hershonson is a leading candidate to replace Jon Stewart on The Daily Show.
There are a number of developments relating to CUNY’s ongoing work in sustainability in many areas. I plan to report more fully on this in the future. But today I am pleased to report that CUNY will receive an $860,000 grant from the federal Department of Energy to help develop the market for resilient solar power in New York City and New York State so that solar installations can operate during power outages. This investment will be increased by the state to total 1.3 million. This project is conceived and managed by University Director for Sustainability, Tria Case.
The latest New York City Executive Budget includes three new positions for Solar Ombudsmen, to continue CUNY’s work in making the city and state make greater use of renewable energy. We are pleased to play a role in helping the city develop sustainable energy.
Our ongoing work in Jamaica Bay, to make the federal marshlands more resilient to storm damage is continuing to progress.
The New York City Department of Administrative Services announced that CUNY’s community colleges will receive an additional $2 million, for a total of $8 million to make our campuses more energy efficient.
A $500,000 grant from the New York State Energy Research & Development Authority) will fund a new project by Sanjoy Banerjee, Director of the CUNY Energy Institute, to develop a next generation battery for energy storage that is long lasting, high energy, low cost and safe for urban environments.
In sum, CUNY is deeply involved in efforts to find strategies in sustainability in many areas across the federal, state and local levels.
This year, CUNY has received an unprecedented eight regional Emmy award nominations. I want to commend CUNY TV and director Robert Isaacson for this impressive showing. Stay tuned for the announcement of the winners on May 2nd.
I’d like to now ask Vice Chancellor Matt Sapienza for his analysis of the state budget initiatives that have a significant academic impact.