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This Week At Lehman Graphic
Office of the Provost's email digest: May 18, 2017

The First Year of the “Third Presidency”

It has been a privilege to serve as interim provost this year. With oversight of five schools, the library, the division of enrollment management, research/sponsored programs, and institutional research, I have certainly felt gainfully employed. As I look back, there has been significant progress on a number of fronts:

  • Provost Office administrators and staff have improved campus climate through clear, consistent and substantive communication: a weekly eDigest (Thank You, Alison); bi-monthly open office hours held in the faculty dining room (Thank You, Stefan); and a carefully planned and executed January off-campus faculty retreat (Thank You, Maria).

  • With assistance from the Deans and Provost Councils, I have been able to identify promising recommendations from the campus prioritization project and make them actionable through allocation of incentive funds (internationalization and global partnerships; experiential learning outcomes; online pedagogy; open educational resources; grant writing; engaged scholarship; adult learners; and outreach to our graduates). I owe a huge debt of gratitude to VP Clark, Bethania Ortega, Deans, Associate Deans, our Chief Librarian, as well as all other members of the Provost Council.

  • Spearheaded by Melissa Kirk (my outstanding Chief of Staff), we have established a “hub and spoke” system of service delivery with Office of the Provost as the technical assistance center and school administrative personnel as the providers of just-in-time support to faculty (Thank You, Deb, Edna, and Nestor).

  • While still a work in progress, we are closing in on a strategic plan for research in consultation with faculty advisory boards and the President’s Cabinet. The plan will incorporate faculty research, student research, scholarship of teaching and learning, and engaged scholarship (Thank You, ORSP, FRAB, and SRAB).

  • I have been engaged in important conversations with chairs regarding how best to articulate criteria and performance indicators for faculty evaluation and advancement that align with the College’s mission and preserve disciplinary integrity (Thank You, F P & B).

  • So that the entire campus community understands the critical role that we all play in getting students to the finish line, I am the “cheerleader” and sometimes “coach” for the enrollment division as it accelerates the pace of student success initiatives (seamless transfer agreements with the two Bronx community colleges; intrusive advising for seniors; and use of predictive analytics to determine course offerings). The Divisions of Enrollment Management, Student Affairs, and Information Technology, working together, made the heavy lifting possible.

Post-Prioritization Wrap Up: Past as Prologue

Marcie Wolfe, former director of the Institute of Literacy Studies, kindly agreed to work with me and do a “deep dive” into prioritization documents. Our aim was to provide information to advance President Cruz’s goal of strengthening Lehman’s “institutional effectiveness through the actualization and operationalization of the most promising recommendations and strategies” documented in Program Prioritization, in order to advance Lehman’s future as a model of “transformative, equity-based higher education.”

Marcie reviewed 80 Division of Academic Affairs reports; of these, 70 were authored by departments and the other 10 were prepared by key staff in student academic-support programs, centers, and institutes. It was not possible within the time frame allotted to review academic minors, nor was it possible to review administrative offices, though doing so would certainly have contributed to a deeper understanding of how the entire Lehman community supports its students.

To provide some policy context, Marcie read President Cruz’s speeches and published writings, CUNY’s Master Plan and Connected CUNY document, and articles, websites, and monographs on the following concepts: public colleges as stewards of place, the scholarship of engagement, high-impact practices in higher education. She also read and analyzed the results of the 2016 fall survey distributed by President Cruz; some of those responses are included in this review.

Her final report is organized into five sections: four theme-based information pages and a final page that collects some of the resource challenges (from Prioritization reports) to be addressed if Lehman is to fulfill its potential as a break-the-mold institution. The themes are:

  • Lehman as an anchor institution: a college that is, at its core, civics-minded and place-based.

  • Lehman as an engine of opportunity and social change: a lab site/model for transformative, equity-based higher education.

  • Lehman as an incubator of innovative teaching and learning practices: a college where teaching and learning are digital, analytical, experiential, justice-oriented, and culturally responsive.

  • Lehman as a catalyst for engaged scholarship and creative works: a “knowledge asset and resource” (AASCU 2002) both locally and globally.
There is a fair amount of overlap from one theme to another in the descriptions of programs and strategies. As Marcie noted, “Perhaps redundancy helps us to surface innovative strategies and urgent needs.”

Finally, the work described under these themes is congruent with CUNY’s Master Plan and call for a “Connected CUNY” where partnerships contribute to college readiness; access, learning, and completion; career success; knowledge creation and innovative research; and a sustainable economic model.

Over the summer, I will review the documentation on each of the four themes, update findings, and then provide a status report to the Middle States leadership team at the beginning of fall semester, 2017.

I look forward to thinking carefully and critically about where we have been and what we need to do in order to meet the grand challenge: 90 by 30.

A special thanks to Marcie for her continued commitment to Lehman. This was a labor of love.

Best wishes for a wonderful summer,

Niki Fayne
The Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs is the College's chief academic officer and senior member of the Cabinet. The Provost is responsible for all educational programs, as well as for academic issues that relate to the faculty, including appointments, promotions, and evaluations. She also is responsible for preparing accreditation reviews, strategic planning, and the review of division and departmental budgets. Questions? Email alison.abreu@lehman.cuny.edu or call 718-960-8222.