President’s Report September 2019
Dear KCC Community,
I trust that your new academic year is off to a good start. I am pleased to share my monthly report with you. During the first days of September, the campus was abuzz with registration and enrollment activities, preparing for the first day of classes, and the new academic year. New Student Orientation was out of this world with more than 1,000 students in attendance. I must mention that on the day before classes began, we enrolled over 500 students. Thank you to VP Rivera, VP Cohen, Provost Russell and all the members of their teams for their hard work during this critical time.
Although we continue to face enrollment challenges (like many of our sister institutions), with the collective and collaborative efforts of departments across the College and the use of data driven strategies, I am optimistic about the coming year and the future. To this end, VP Rivera has convened the Strategic Enrollment Management Committee (EM2020). The Committee is charged with looking at new marketing and outreach strategies in order to expand our recruitment footprint and increase enrollment. The Committee will also take a critical look at student cohorts (freshmen, continuing, readmits, and transfer) to determine how we can better attract and retain them.
I also want to extend a big thank you to VP Rios and his entire team for supporting our registration and enrollment efforts, and for their work in getting the campus ready for the first day of classes and the new academic year. The signage makes an important difference. To complete the process, we have contracted with an external vendor to have the corresponding building letters erected in a few weeks.
As part of our recruitment, retention, and campus upgrade efforts, we continue to meet with elected officials, members of the CUNY Central chancellery, and donors who are invested in the success of our students and College. In September, I was pleased to welcome to campus Executive Vice Chancellor Hector Batista; Senior Vice Chancellor for Institutional Affairs, Strategic Advancement and Special Counsel Glenda Grace; Vice Chancellor for Communications and Marketing Maite Junco; and welcome back Peter Sloane, chairman and CEO of The Heckscher Foundation for Children. VP Rodriquez Dorestant and I enjoyed a great discussion with Mr. Sloane regarding the need to develop workforce training and employment opportunities for students. This past month, I also had the opportunity to visit with Councilman Mark Treyger and Senator Velmanette Montgomery who have a number of constituents in their districts that attend KCC.
Also in September, I was pleased to represent KCC at the West Indian American Day Carnival Association VIP Breakfast. Along with Dean Mitra, I attended the Brooklyn Botanic Garden President’s Circle Dinner with other supporters and academic members of the Garden. I ventured out of Brooklyn to Atlanta to the High Museum’s VIP Dinner. I was among the first to see School Bell Time (1978), which had hung in the President’s suite but is now on loan to the museum as a part of “Something Else: Romare Bearden’s Profile Series.” At Fall Convocation, senior staff and I shared highlights of the past academic year and what’s on the horizon for 2019-20. A full report on highlights and horizons will be shared in a few weeks.
In the interim, I would like to share a few a new initiatives that kicked off in September. To help advance college priorities and improve institutional effectiveness, I have convened a new body, the Executive and Administrative Staff Cabinet (EASC), which is comprised of members of the Senior Staff II and staff from a variety of administrative offices. The charge of the EASC is to help support the attainment of college goals, promote and enhance collaboration across divisions and offices, and identify and resolve institutional issues. I am grateful that Stephanie Akunavey and Andres Escobar agreed to serve as chairpersons. The EASC has already had its first meeting and I am looking forward to the fruits of their labor.
Despite interruption from a fire alarm evacuation, I was excited to commemorate International Peace Day, and welcome Julia Lisi from the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village and Dr. Marie Claudine Mukanabano, a Rwandan genocide survivor, who shared her story about hope and perseverance. Thank you to Helen Nasser for coordinating this event.
Colleagues, I have experienced many highs this past month: the joy of welcoming faculty and staff at convocation; the out-of-this-world New Student Orientation; the energy of the last day of enrollment; greeting students on the first day of classes at the gate with Provost Russell; and arriving on campus on the first day of autumn to see the day break. And just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, I attended my first athletic event, the Women’s Volleyball game against Bronx Community College, in which our Waves were victorious.
I have never been an athlete, and I think I have shared with you that I was an average student in college. I can’t imagine what being a student and an athlete entails. As I watched the Women’s Volleyball team play, work so effortlessly together, and follow the guidance of their coaches, I thought about the discipline it takes to be a student athlete and balance studying, practicing, playing, traveling, and attending class. I was hooting and hollering, and I was in complete awe. As we proceed along this new academic year, may we all continue to be in awe of our students, and continue to support and cheer them on as they fulfill all of their dreams.