President’s Report to the College
Dear College Community,
Even in the midst of the joy that came with returning to campus, unimaginable strife and loss continues in Ukraine. I ask you to continue to keep members of our college community and Manhattan Beach who are impacted by action that continues in the Ukraine in your thoughts and prayers. Counseling services are available to students and we are compiling an inventory of additional community-based services and resources that may be beneficial to our students. The Office of Student Life is also planning an Inter-faith prayer event. The date will be forthcoming.
I spent most of February ensuring that we were ready for the start of classes. We were ready for the start, but not for the cold. The COVID Response Team was in place on the first day, Saturday, March 5th at the front gate, but by Tuesday afternoon due to an impending weather system, we had to move the check-in site indoors.
It was wonderful seeing students return to campus en masse. Since then, I have had some opportunity to walk around campus and I have to say it feels good to once again see cars and pedestrians making their way on campus, hear the chatter throughout the buildings, see students hanging out in the cafeteria, hear faculty teaching, and see staff working in offices or walking through the halls. I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone—all of you, for the part you played in helping to breathe life back into our campus.
Although we fell short of our enrollment target (our headcount as of today stands at 11,079 a -9.4% decrease from Spring 2021); it was clear that our integrated and collaborative approach to enrollment made a significant and positive difference. Community colleges as a sector experienced a decrease of-12.9%.
Strategic enrollment efforts are already underway for the summer and fall semesters. Last semester there was a clarion call for faculty, staff and students to participate in recruitment efforts at high schools. I make this call again. It is compelling for students to hear from members of the college community who are experts in their field, understand the value of a KCC education and have experienced all the good that the college has to offer. It is imperative that in addition to reaching students via online forums, that we make every effort to connect with prospective students and their parents in person. If you are interested in being a part of “Recruitment Life” please contact Johana Rivera.
All things being equal, students have many choices of where to go to college, not just in CUNY but external to the university as well. Many colleges across the country and in NY are feeling the enrollment pinch. Everyone is stepping up their recruitment efforts; but new students are only part of the equation, retaining the students we have is equally as important. According to KCC’s Office of Institutional Research, while First-time, Full-time freshmen (fall to spring) retention has decreased significantly from Fall 2019 (82.6% ) we experienced an increased from Fall 2020 (71%) to Fall 2021*(preliminary data) (74.3%.) At Kingsborough we have that special something that makes students fall in love with us.
Students continue to share with me how welcoming and helpful faculty and staff are. We need to continue to ensure that we deliver not only excellent customer/student service but also that our actions show students that they belong here. It is this ability to cultivate a sense of belonging for our students that makes community colleges special. We know there are many reasons students step out from college for a semester or even longer. Let us continue to ensure that feeling like they do not belong is not one of those reasons. We all look to the Office of Student Life to lead engagement efforts, but this is work that we all can and should participate in. As such, I am pleased to announce that I will be launching a Call for Proposals for funding for departments and offices to develop/host student-centered activities that promote students’ sense of belonging in their department and at KCC. Details about the program and applications for funding will be available in April.
Given all that we have experienced in the last two years, I very much want to reconnect with members of our college community beyond formal meetings, seeing you in the halls, or finding my way into your offices. Starting this week I will be meeting with any member of the college community interested in talking about new and positive ways to move the college forward. Note, this is not a forum to discuss or address matters that fall under the purview of another body at the college. Attendance is on a first come, first serve basis. You can call x5109 to RSVP for the first session of Spring Forward on March 31st.
The University has launched Academic Momentum 2.0 (AcMo). A centerpiece of this work is moving the needle on student transfer success. At convocation, members of the college’s academic leadership participated in a session with Zun Tang, Director of Institutional Research from the Office of Applied Research, Education and Data Analysis at CUNY Central and VP Fox who presented on the KCC students’ transfer data and outcomes. As part of the effort to improve transfer outcomes, and in an effort to add a more human dimension to the transfer process and strengthen our relationships and pipelines, we will be hosting presidents of CUNY transfer institutions and members of their teams on campus to meet with students.
Essentially, each president will have the opportunity to come to KCC to speak to students about their college(highlighting unique and flagship programs etc.) and students will have the opportunity to ask questions. The first of such talks ‘City College Day at KCC’ is scheduled for this Wednesday, March 30th at 12pm. “Brooklyn College Day” is scheduled for May 10, “John Jay Day” on
May 24, and we are currently working on dates for a number of other colleges including Baruch, Medgar Evers and York College. Please encourage students to participate.
I want to take this opportunity to remind everyone about our Random Testing Program. Everyone, including those who are fully vaccinated and have received a booster is required to participate in random testing. You are able to test at any CUNY institution. If you do not test within the allocated time frame, you will not be able to enter the campus. The only way to reinstate your Cleared4 Pass and therefore access to the campus is to submit a negative PCR test. If you are in need of assistance you can contact Mickie Driscoll, who serves as the Local Vaccination Authority (LVA) for faculty and staff. Sasha Duncan manages the Cleared4 system and serves as LVA for student related matters. Also please note, effective April 4th, Ms. Duncan will transition to the Division of Enrollment Management. She will continue to maintain the aforementioned responsibilities as there is a symbiotic relationship between vaccination requirements and enrollment, as well as provide administrative support to the Registrar’s Office.
In closing, as you all know, VP Rick Fox has shared his intent to retire effective April 4th. VP Fox has been a mainstay at the college for 37 years. He has participated in external teams as well as led KCC through many successful MSCHE visits and accreditation activities. He has orchestrated numerous strategic planning efforts, facilitated a litany of discussions at College Council and other forums, chaired the spectrum of committees and fulfilled a host of other duties including serving as interim Provost. The only thing that outnumbers and outshines the many sticky dots he has used over his time at KCC, are his contributions to KCC and his wit. You can always count on Rick for a sage thought and a good chuckle both separately and at the same time. I will miss having him at the table and hearing Otis have his say on our Zooms. He has been a valued colleague and am grateful that I had the opportunity to work with him. I wish him the best that retirement after 37 years of serving our college has to offer.
Starting next month, the Department of Human Resources will be implementing a new communication, Farewell and Welcome;which will provide the campus with the names of members of the staff who have left the college or transitioned to new roles in the college along with the names and contact information of staff who will be assuming those duties.
I wish you continued good health and a productive semester.