President’s Report April 2020
Dear KCC Community,
Although you received many emails from me over the past few weeks, this is my first monthly report since the beginning of the semester. I don’t need to tell you, that the past few weeks have been extremely difficult because you were right there with me.
As I reflect on this time, on the great losses we have suffered in our KCC community, in our families, and in our circle of friends and loved ones; on the challenges and frustrations that have accompanied the transition to the new way of working and being; and on the uncertainties we face right now and those that lie ahead, I realize that we still have many blessings to count. Even within our current context, faculty and staff are going above and beyond to support each other and our students. This work isn’t easy, and I am grateful for your commitment, resiliency and dedication to our students and College.
Kingsborough has long had a reputation of a campus that is civically engaged. Over the past few weeks, you have risen to the occasion of helping to secure much needed supplies for hospitals and other healthcare agencies. Thank you to all the departments, faculty and staff who went the distance to make this happen.
In my last communication to the campus, I shared with you the fiscal forecast for the University. We continue to actively plan for a number of fiscal scenarios based on budget information we will receive from the state, city and our enrollment. As you know, summer classes will be held online. Currently, the fall semester is scheduled to be on campus, however, we are planning for scenarios that might call for us to move from on campus to online, on campus with increased social distancing practices (hybrid), or for a scenario with teaching and learning fully online (asynchronous) along with remote operations.
Now more than ever, enrollment of new students and the retention of continuing students is the highest priority. The Division of Enrollment Management is engaging in ongoing and intensive outreach to prospective students and they are working with Academic Affairs and all related areas units to ensure that continuing students are registered for the summer and fall. The Division of Communications and Marketing is working on a number of social media campaigns for the college as a whole as well for as individual programs. In this virtual world, we recognize and are responding to the dire need for improvement of our website. As such, the Division of Communications and Marketing is also working in collaboration with IT to make the necessary improvements to make it more user friendly as well as improve and enhance the content.
In addition to planning for a variety of fiscal and instructional scenarios, we are also developing a plan for the transition back to campus. Although we know that, at the point we transition back to campus, the NYS Pause will be lifted, we want to be mindful of how we will re-occupy the campus. As part of this work, we are discussing what classes and offices should transition back first; what modifications to space do we need to make to classrooms and offices to alleviate overcrowding; and how we effectively promote distancing.
The Division of Student Affairs has been working diligently to keep students engaged, informed and connected to support services. Over the past two months, three town hall meetings were held with students via ZOOM . The forum provided an opportunity for students to ask questions and share with a number of Senior Staff who were on the call, issues they were experiencing. A fourth Town Hall will be held later this month along with a RAP (Registering, Applying and Paying for college) Session for prospective and continuing students sponsored by the Division of Enrollment Management which will be held on May 14th via Zoom.
Last week, I had the opportunity to participate in Professor Fridman’s English 12 class where we discussed the impact of paid work on students’ academic lives and success. My class visit, combined with the Student Town Hall Zoom sessions, only made me miss the energy of campus and students as they congregated in the cafeteria, and faculty and staff I encountered during my walks around campus. I have asked Chief of Staff and Interim VP for College Advancement Dr. Tasheka Sutton-Young to coordinate a KCC “we’re-not-gonna-talk-about-work” Social Hour Zoom for faculty and staff to reconnect, and share good news. More information will be forthcoming.
Colleagues, we are trying as best as possible to ensure business continuity. We concluded the search for Legal Counsel in March and I am pleased to share that Ms. Beth Douglas, will serve as our Executive Legal Counsel and Labor Designee. Ms. Douglas brings more than 20 years of experience as a prosecutor and civil litigation counsel with proven leadership in the formulation, modification, and implementation of policies and procedures. She has served as an advisor in sophisticated legal analysis in the preparation of complex and sensitive matters. She has worked in various capacities in the Kings County District Attorney’s Office, the New York City Police Department as well as legal firms and a private practice. Ms. Douglas holds a J.D. from New York Law School and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Syracuse University. The Division of Institutional Advancement raised over $12,000 for the KCC COVID Student Relief Fund.
In addition, we have identified three potential consultants who we will interview and eventually engage conduct a review of our Governance Plan; there’s a College Council meeting scheduled in the next two weeks; and although we will not have a physical commencement ceremony on June 16th, we will have an online Graduate Salute. More information will be shared in the coming week.
Lastly, I would like to take this opportunity to ask you to join me in a salute to all the medical personnel, frontline, and essential workers that have helped us to heal, helped to keep us safe, and keep the city running. This past week has been designated both Nurses Week and Teacher Appreciation Week. From where I stand however, we should recognize and acknowledge the work of both nurses and teachers every day. I am grateful for each of you, thankful for the dynamic work that you do and proud to serve students alongside you.
You and your families remain in my thoughts and prayers. Please continue to be safe, take care of yourselves and each other.