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Provost's Monthy Report
My Dear Colleagues,

Much of the world has changed in the last two months. At our institution, we have maintained a steady resolve to address the disruptions and the challenges created by the pandemic. We have met regularly in the division of Academic Affairs and Student Success and across our schools and departments, as well as the library, to conduct our work remotely, urgently balance competing demands, and respond to the needs of our college and our community as best as we can. We have focused on ensuring that our students, faculty, and staff are safe. We have focused on ensuring that teaching and learning can continue for the rest of the semester through distance learning modality under this crisis. Across the college, we acknowledge that instruction will also continue online for Summer 2020, and indeed will continue largely online (with some in-person teaching) in Fall 2020 if conditions do not change. In these decisions, we will be informed by the guidance provided by CUNY on academic continuity and related matters. We have begun planning and preparing to ensure that both summer and fall 2020 are successful.

I am immensely grateful to our dedicated College family of faculty, staff, and students, for the excellent way we have come together (and continue to come together) to answer this urgent call to duty. You have my highest personal regards. Thank you so much for all you do! And please continue to shelter in place, remain safe, and keep well.

In this combined Provost’s Report for February and March 2020, I will provide highlights of progress on a select number of key initiatives and activities within the division of Academic Affairs and Student Success in furtherance of our institutional mission and strategic priorities. For more updates and announcements from the Office of the Provost, along with past monthly reports, and emails to the campus community, please visit the Provost's Corner. For updates on COVID-19, please visit Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates and Resources.

  • Work on the development of the 2020-2025 Strategic Plan continued, with a meeting of the Strategic Plan Steering Committee, chaired by Provost Nwosu and co-chaired by Dr. Anne Rice, held on February 10, 2020. Following this meeting, a working group of the Steering Committee was charged by the provost to review and consolidate the 47-page draft strategic plan goals, objectives, metrics, and strategies that emerged as a result of the work of the 7 task forces into a single succinct document. The working group is co-chaired by Vice Presidents Dawn Ewing Morgan and Ron Bergmann, and includes Chair Dene Hurley, Interim Dean Pam Mills, Interim Dean Gaoyin Qian, Vice President Rene Rotolo, Vice President Reine Sarmiento, and Interim Dean Elin Waring. During the period under review, the Provost, along with the co-chairs, continued to refine the synthesized draft document. Several meetings to be held remotely are being planned for the remainder of the semester to review the synthesized draft plan: meeting of the Steering Committee, meeting of all members of the various taskforces, and a meeting with the President’s Cabinet. Following these meetings, a revised draft plan will be shared with the campus community for additional input and feedback. Completion of work on the development of the strategic plan is expected in fall 2020. Co-chairs of the task forces are Paula Loscocco and Jane MacKillop (Values, Mission, Vision); Pam Mills and Ronald Banks (Faculty and Staff Success); Donald Sutherland and Zoila Morell (Institutional Effectiveness and Assessment); Dawn Ewing Morgan and C. Alicia Georges (Diversity and Campus Climate); Elin Waring and Carl Mazza (Program and Curriculum); Dene Hurley and Reine Sarmiento, (Enrollment and Student Success); Ron Bergmann and Gaoyin Qian (Anchor Institution); and Rene Rotolo and Haiping Cheng (Resource and Facility Optimization).
  • We successfully submitted Lehman’s Supplemental Information Report (SIR) to MSCHE on February 27, 2020. The 126-page Report describes the progress the College has made regarding assessment and institutional effectiveness following the June 28, 2019 action letter from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). In that letter, the MSCHE acknowledged receipt of the college’s self-study report, noted the visit of its representatives to the college, reaffirmed the college’s accreditation, scheduled the next evaluation visit for 2027-2028, and requested the submission of the SIR by March 1, 2020. The Commission’s decision regarding the SIR will be communicated to the College sometime this summer.

  • On March 9, we received MSCHE approval for our substantive change proposals for the two doctorates in Nursing Practice to be offered at the College beginning fall 2020. MSCHE has added the credential “Doctor’s Degree-Professional Practice” to the list of degrees we can grant at Lehman. This also means that any future professional practice doctorates we want to develop and offer in the future will not require MSCHE approval. This is terrific news!

  • As requested by the U.S. Department of Education and MSCHE, we developed and submitted on March 24 Lehman’s Plan for Academic Continuity in response to changes in the delivery of instruction and support services to our students necessitated by the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

  • We submitted our 2020 Inventory of Registered Programs (IRP) Report to the New York State Education Department (NYSED) Office of College and University Evaluation (OCUE) on March 13, 2020.

  • On March 19, Lehman College was selected by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) to participate in its 2020 Institute on General Education and Assessment scheduled to take place from June 2-5. Lehman’s Team to the Institute will comprise of: Drs. Victor Brown, David Hyman (English), LaRose Parris (Africana Studies), Amanda Sisselman (Social Work), and Devrim Yavuz (Sociology).

  • The Office of the Provost completed space reconfigurations in Academic Affairs on the third floor of Shuster Hall to maximize space and create offices for the following: Assessment and Educational Effectiveness (suite 318); Academic Programs (rooms 382 and 384); Academic Personnel (suite 302); Institutional Review Board (room 310); Strategic Initiatives and Special Projects (room 386); and Academic Budget and Resource Planning (room 380). The Associate Provost for Academic Programs and Educational Effectiveness is housed in the Office of the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Student Success (suite 379).
  • Analysis by CUNY reported at the end of March 2020 shows very promising results for our ACE (Accelerate, Complete, and Engage) program: Overall, both ACE FTF and transfer students are doing better than matched comparison group students on most measures. Here are some of the most important findings related to retention, attempted and earned credits, and on track graduation as reported by CUNY Office of Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP):

    • One-Semester Retention: Both ACE groups had higher retention rates than matched comparison group students-95.7% vs 89.6% for FTF, and 90.2% vs 85.2% for transfers.

    • Attempted and Earned Credits: For FTF, both the ACE and matched comparison group students attempted the same number of credits in fall 2019 (15.8 cr.) as well as earned about the same number of credits (13.8 for ACE vs 13.6 for comparison group). In spring 2020, ACE students attempted an average of 1.1. more credits than the comparison group (15.5 cr. vs 14.4 cr.). ACE transfer students attempted and earned more credits than matched comparison group students. In fall 2019, ACE students attempted an average of 2 more credits (15 cr. Vs 13 cr.), and earned an average of 1.1 more credits (12 cr. Vs 10.9 cr.) than comparison group students. In spring 2020, ACE transfer students attempted an average of 2.2 more credits (15 cr. Vs 12.8 cr.).

    • On-Track Graduation: Both ACE FTF and transfers have higher ‘on-track to graduate’ rates than comparison group students. 80% of ACE FTF are on track to graduate compared to 74.8% of comparison group students, for a 5.2 percentage point difference. For transfers, the difference is much larger and statistically significant. 69.7% of ACE transfers are on-track compared to 50% of comparison group students, for a large 19.7 percentage point difference.

    • The ACE program is a comprehensive program designed to help students complete their academic journey to the bachelor’s degree within two years for transfers and four years for freshmen. The program provides a range of financial, academic, and personal support to students, including intensive academic advisement and career counseling, as well as tuition, textbook, and transportation assistance. A total of 236 students drawn from 17 academic programs are currently enrolled in the program, which is supported by a grant from the Robinhood Foundation.
  • I am pleased to announce that Lehman College was selected in March to participate in a major national initiative on faculty development titled “Scaling Instructional Excellence for Student Success.” The initiative is designed to strengthen student achievement and close equity gaps, and is supported by the National Association of System Heads (NASH) and Association of College and University Educators (ACUE), through a faculty development grant awarded to CUNY. Lehman participated in the development of the CUNY proposal for the grant. Four other senior colleges were also selected to participate in the initiative: Brooklyn, City Tech, Hunter, and York. Sixty faculty members to selected from each of the five CUNY colleges will participate in the initiative beginning in Fall 2020.

  • We had more good news from CUNY Central. Earlier in February, Lehman was listed as the top senior college for attaining Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) Textbook Provision Compliance for Spring 2020. We achieved 97.7% submissions, well above the 95% required. I want to thank all faculty who worked very closely with Dr. Carole Weisz in the Office of Academic Programs and Educational Effectiveness for this accomplishment.

  • At CUNY’s request, we submitted Lehman’s 2020 Report on Low Enrollment/Low Graduation Programs to CUNY’s Office of Academic Affairs on February 18. The following threshold established by CUNY was used in evaluating our programs:

    • Any program with enrollment of fewer than 10 in any single year of the last five years
    • Bachelor and Associate degree programs with fewer than 20 graduates per year
    • Master’s programs with fewer than 10 graduates per year
    • Ph.D. programs with fewer than 5 graduates per year

    • At the request of the Provost, the office of Academic Programs and Educational Effectiveness is initiating conversations with school deans to discuss the report and recommend action steps to address programs that have both low enrollment and low graduation. For example, programs with low enrollment that do not provide necessary courses for general education, licensure, or accreditation, will need to be reviewed for fiscal sustainability and growth opportunities.

  • We continued work on developing the framework for The CUNY Leadership Institute (TCLI) for Urban-Serving Institutions. The initiative, funded by the Andrew Mellon Foundation, is designed to build a pipeline of academic leaders from faculty in the Arts and Humanities for our nation’s urban-serving institutions. The six-month leadership Academy, expected to begin in mid-fall 2020, will utilize a combination of experiential and case-study approaches focusing on key areas in higher education leadership and administration, with the 25 CUNY colleges and the Central office serving as learning sites. EVC Cruz is the PI on the grant, while Provost Nwosu is the Program Director, and University Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs Annemarie Nicols-Grinenko is the Co-Program Director. Earlier in February, I held separate phone meetings with Dr. Nicols-Grinenko as well as Ms. Millicent Bender, Senior Program Manager, College Excellence Program, at the Aspen Institute, to discuss ideas and planning for the Institute.

  • Participated in the CUNY Joint Student Affairs Council and Chief Academic Officers’ Council held on February 13. The agenda focused mainly on transfers and retention. Provost Nwosu extended an invitation to participants to attend the BTAG Summit, which was scheduled for March 20 at Lehman, a meeting postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • On February 14, joined the Lehman team in a presentation to the CUNY sub-committee on Academic and Resource Planning held at the School of Labor and Urban Studies. The presentation, which focused on Lehman’s electronic Transfer Credit Evaluation (eTCE) system, was provided by Laurie Austin, Director, Admissions; Christopher Buonocore, Director, Student Success Initiatives; Jose Mancebo, Associate Director, Admissions; and Elkin Urrea, Web Applications Analyst.

  • Attended CUNY Chief Academic Council remote meetings on March 11, 2020 regarding academic continuity in light of the Covid-19 crisis.

  • Joined President Lemons at the Presidents’ Student Success Roundtable held at CUNY Central on February 5 and March 4. At the March 4 meeting, both of us presented on Lehman’s student success work with the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASC&U).

  • Travelled to New Orleans February 6-8 and participated in the AASC&U- Student Success Pilot Cohort meeting as well as AASC&U’s Winter meeting. The Lehman Team was awarded first place for the college’s innovative work on 90x30. Provost Nwosu introduced the winter meeting opening plenary speakers, Patrick Methvin, Director of Postsecondary Success at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Archie Cubarrubia, Deputy Director for Institutional Transformation in the Postsecondary Success Team at the Foundation. He and President Lemons participated in an invitation only breakfast meeting with Methvin and Cubarrubia hosted by AASC&U President Mildred Garcia. At the Winter meeting, he also joined Vice President for Enrollment Management and Associate Provost Reine Sarmiento in a presentation on our Bronx Transfer Affinity Group (B-TAG) and participated in a meeting of chief academic officers hosted by AASC&U Vice President Terry Brown. Also attending the Student Success Pilot Cohort and the Winter meetings were President Lemons, Assistant Vice President Jonathan Gagliardi, A&H Associate Dean Karin Beck, Dean of Student Affairs Stanley Bazile, Senior Director of Enrollment Management Richard Finger, and Director of Career Exploration and Development Bascillia Toussaint. Lehman is one of six institutions selected by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASC&U) to participate in a 15-month collaborative on student success with a focus on refining and validating an institutional transformation process that advances students’ success through information sharing and data exchange.

  • Met with Ms. Yubelkys Monalvo, Executive Director of the Hispanic Educational Technology Services (HETS) on February 18 to learn more about the organization and discuss access to the organization’s resources for Lehman’s students. HETS is the first bilingual consortium of higher education institutions in Puerto Rico, the United States, and Latin America and focuses on providing access to resources to enhance Hispanic student success and opportunities in higher education. Lehman is a founding member of the consortium. Assistant Vice President Jonathan Gagliardi participated in the meeting.

  • Held dinner meeting on February 19 with the Honorable Kojo Yankah, founder and President of the African University College of Communications in Accra, Ghana, and a former government minister and member of the country’s parliament, and discussed linkage opportunities with Lehman. Dr. Bertrade Ngo-Ngijol-Banoum, Chair, Department of Africana Studies, Associate Provost Brown, and Executive Director, CUNY University Student Senate Cyrille Njikeng, joined the meeting.

  • Joined President Lemons in a campus ceremony on February 20 announcing New York State Senator Alessandra Biaggi’s funding support for the college’s composting project. Senator Biaggi, Vice President Rotolo, and President Lemons spoke at the event, which was attended by several members of the campus community and external partners such as the New York Botanical Gardens (NYBG).

  • Held phone meeting on February 21 with Provost Lon Kaufman of Hunter College to discuss the consortial arrangement for the Ph.D. Nursing Program at the Graduate Center.

  • Participated in the February 21 monthly meeting of the American Council on Education (ACE) Council of Fellows’ Professional Development Committee to finalize the program for the annual leadership convening of the ACE Fellows scheduled for March 13 and 14, 2020, in San Diego, California. Also held a phone meeting with Provost Gladys Palma de Schrynemakers of the CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies on February 28 to discuss her participation in one of the panel sessions on the role of the chief academic officer in leading innovations on college campuses. A special session at the ACE annual meeting in San Diego titled: Leading Institutional Change: The Academic Leader’s Toolkit,” featuring Provost Nwosu and Laura Niesen de Abruna, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at York College of Pennsylvania, as panelists, and moderated by Scott Newman, Vice President for Academic Affairs, Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology, was also finalized during February. Both the ACE annual meeting and the ACE Fellows convening were subsequently cancelled in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Participated in the Board of Directors’ meeting of the National Association of Chief Academic Officers (ACAO) held on February 5, 2020.

  • Held a breakfast meeting on March 2 with Dr. Anderson Torres, President and CEO, R.A.I.N. Total Care, Inc., a major partner with Lehman. The multi-social service agency, which also recruits Lehman students for employment and internships, provides home care services to geriatric populations as well as those with disabilities in New York City and Westchester. The agency also has a community-based mobile meal program directed at the homeless population and hungry persons in the South Bronx in collaboration with the Bob and Dolores Hope Foundation.

  • Met with Professor Laura Oliveira, Director, NYC-LSAMP (Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation in the STEM) and Dr. Pam Mills, Interim Dean, School of Natural and Social Sciences (NSS) on March 3 to discuss planning and updates on program implementation for the spring 2020 semester. NYC-LSAMP, funded with a $3.9 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), is an alliance of eight CUNY senior colleges (Baruch, Brooklyn, CCNY, CSI, Medgar Evers, Macaulay, Lehman, NYCCT, and Queens) and three CUNY community colleges (BCC, Guttman, and Hostos). The program is designed to increase the number of underrepresented minority students who pursue and graduate with degrees in STEM. Lehman is the lead institution on the grant, and provides planning and oversight, with Provost Nwosu as the PI.
  • Convened Provost’s and Deans’ Council (PDC) meetings on February 20, March 5, and March 26, and discussed the following agenda items: Academic Affairs and Student Success updates; Online Education Strategic Session facilitated by Provost Nwosu and Dr. Olena Zhadko; updates from the five schools, Library and administrative departments across the division; updates on remote student services; Summer and Fall 2020 enrollment planning; among others.

  • Attended the General Faculty meeting held on February 26 and provided the Provost’s Report, as well as participated in a Q&A Session with President Lemons.

  • Attended the Faculty Budget and Personnel Committee (FP&B) meeting on March 31.

  • Met with Kenneth Schlesinger, Chair, TPCCE, on March 31, regarding the committee’s work.

  • Attended the February 5 and March 4 College Senate meetings held in Carman Hall, B04.

  • Participated in the College Senate Governance Committee meeting held on February 11.

  • Held phone meeting with Dr. Joseph Fera, Chair, College Senate Governance Committee, on March 6.

  • Participated in the February 26 Joint Budget Committee meeting chaired by Dr. Haiping Cheng, and presented the Provost’s Report to the committee.

  • Met with the Fellowship and Scholar Incentive Committee on February 3, and provided a charge as well as answered questions on the committee’s work for the year. The committee is chaired by Carl Mazza (Social Work), and includes Dimitra Karabali (Physics and Astronomy), Kofi Benefo (Sociology), Daniel Fernandez (Languages and Literatures), Robert Schneiderman (Mathematics), and Teresita Levy (Latin American and Latino Studies).

  • Participated in the President’s daily COVID-19 Check-in and the campus-wide Taskforce meetings held during February and March to plan and prepare the College for dealing with the pandemic.

  • Participated in the President’s Cabinet meeting on March 18 and March 25.

  • Participated in the President’s Advisory Board (PAB) meeting held on February 26.

  • Continued regular 1:1 meetings with President Lemons, Deans, and members of the President’s Cabinet. Agenda items included strategic and operational issues regarding the strategic plan, budget, curriculum and pedagogy, student success, technology, COVID-19, fundraising, and personnel, among others.

  • Held regular 1:1 meetings with new Associate Provost for Academic Programs and Educational Effectiveness regarding accreditation, assessment, curricular, pedagogy, faculty development, and related matters.

  • Convened meeting of the Academic Affairs and Student Success (A2S2) Leadership Team on March 12 and March 16. The team consists of direct reports to the Provost in non-instructional units within the division.

  • Continued regular 1:1 meetings with Brandon Begarly, Director of Research and Sponsored Programs, to discuss college progress on research and creative activities, and other related items.

  • Attended the Institutional Advancement Workshop for deans and department chairs held on February 28. The workshop, sponsored by the divisions of Institutional Advancement and Academic Affairs and Student Success was facilitated by Ms. Rachelle “Shelly” Butler, Vice President for Development and Institutional Advancement at City College. President Lemons and Vice President Susan Ebersole also attended the workshop.

  • Met with President Lemons and Dr. Pam Mills on February 11 to discuss the draft guidelines for the Lehman Professors of Excellence (LPE). Both Dr. Mills and Dr. Nancy Dubetz co-chaired the committee established by the Provost to develop the draft guidelines. LPE is designed to recognize and attract faculty members of outstanding merit and national and international reputations whose work enrich the college across the three areas of scholarship, teaching, and service.
  • I was gratified and humbled to join colleagues, family and friends on March 2 at the 80th Birthday Celebration of Clarence Stanley, Director, Small Business Development Center (SBDC) held in Carman Hall. Under Stanley’s leadership, Lehman’s SBDC has made significant contributions to small business development in the Bronx, resulting in job creation and investment of millions of dollars in the area’s economy.

  • Met with Dr. Rima Brusi, Distinguished Lecturer, Department of Anthropology, on February 18 to discuss the conference on climate and disasters planned to be held at Lehman in March, a convening subsequently postponed due to the COVID-19 crisis.

  • Met with Brian Murphy, Chair, Department of Computer Science on February 25.

  • Met with Bertrade Ngo-Ngijol-Banoum, Chair, Department of Africana Studies on February 18.

  • Met with the faculty of the Department of Economics and Business on February 27.

  • Held 1:1 meeting on February 19 with José Higuera López, Deputy Director, CUNY Mexican Studies Institute, and received update on the institute’s activities.

  • Attended the Lehman College Art Gallery exhibition titled Young, Gifted, and Black, held on February 26.

  • Met with the Office of Institutional Research Team on February 24.

  • Held lunch meeting on March 4 with Dr. Jermaine Monk, Assistant Professor, Department of Social Work.

  • Met on March 4 with Tarialy Hernandez, President, Lehman Student Government Association (SGA) and Jose Acevedo, Vice President, Student Legislative Assembly.

  • Convened a meeting on March 5 to discuss the Consultant’s Report on the Proposed School of Business at Lehman College. In attendance were the consultant, Dr. William Hopkins, Founding Dean, School of Business, Brooklyn College, Dene Hurley, Chair, Department of Economics and Business, Jane MacKillop, Dean, School of Continuing and Professional Studies, Pam Mills, Interim Dean, School of Natural and Social Sciences, Susan Ebersole, Vice President for Institutional Advancement, Rene Rotolo, Vice President for Administration and Finance, and Victor Brown, Associate Provost for Academic Programs and Educational Effectiveness.

  • Met with the College’s Commencement Committee on March 11 to discuss planning for the 2020 Commencement. The committee is co-chaired by Dr. Victor Brown, Associate Provost for Academic Programs and Educational Effectiveness, and Ms. Maria Camaj in the Provost’s Office, and draws membership from multiple units from across the College. Graduation for the year has now been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Conducted a walk-through of the Old Gymnasium and the Student Life Center on February 24 with Dr. Stanley Bazile, Dean of Student Affairs and Executive in Charge of Student Affairs to review the proposed space for the Care Center related to the Food Pantry, the Career Closet, and support services for students. Also visited the offices of the SGA in the Student Life Building on February 24 with Ms. Suzette Ramsundar, Associate Director, Office of Campus Life, and met with a number of student leaders: Alicia Rodriguez Allie, Senator; Danysha Reyes, SGA Student Service Planner; Famata Kajakhe, SGA Office Manager; and Katherine Ramirez, SGA Campus Facilities Officer.

  • Convened the third in a series of monthly Faculty Conversations with the Provost on February 19. The forum offers an informal opportunity to dialogue with faculty on a wide range of campus issues.
  • Continued the searches for a permanent dean for the following three schools: Natural and Social Sciences; Education; and Heath Sciences, Human Services, and Nursing. However, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the remaining interviews will be conducted remotely between April and May.

  • Continued the search processes for the Manager for Academic Budget and Resource Planning and the Associate Director for Athletics. Again, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, all interviews for these positions will be conducted remotely.

  • Completed the following five (5) faculty searches with offers accepted: Brittany Fox-Williams, Assistant Professor, Sociology; Israel Augustus Durham, Assistant Professor, English; Eve Eure, Assistant Professor, English; Douglas Oberlin, Assistant Professor, Health Sciences; Julia Hood, Lecturer (Doctoral), Counseling, Leadership, Literacy and Special Education.

  • During the months of February and March, I interviewed a total of thirty-four (34) finalist candidates for eight faculty positions (16 candidates in February and 18 in March) in the following academic units: Economics and Business, English, CLLSE, ECCE, Anthropology, Psychology, Social Work, and History. This is the largest crop of candidates I have interviewed in a single month. I have been impressed with the diversity and the quality of the candidates, and I commend the various search committees, department chairs, and school deans for their dedication and commitment to inclusive excellence. Our students and college will be well served by these exceptional hires in the years ahead.
Wishing everyone continued goodwill and good health as we navigate the remainder of the semester.

Peter O. Nwosu, Ph.D.
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Student Success
Lehman College
The Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Student Success is the College's chief academic and student success officer and senior member of the Cabinet. The Provost is responsible for all educational and student support programs, as well as for academic issues that relate to the faculty, including appointments, promotions, and evaluations. He also is responsible for preparing accreditation reviews, program reviews, campus strategic planning and the review of division and departmental budgets. Questions? Email provost.office@lehman.cuny.edu or call 718-960-8222.