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Provost's Monthy Report
Dear colleagues,

The spring 2020 semester was unlike any we ever experienced or imagined. Faced with a raging pandemic, we quickly left the campus mindful that the health and well-being of our community was paramount. But we rapidly re-assembled virtually and restored instruction and support services as best as we could to serve our students and our region. Over the course of the remainder of the semester, we were challenged, some members of our campus community got sick, and we lost a few to COVID-19. Yet in the midst of it all, our students remained resilient, our faculty and staff soldiered on, and together, we creatively reimagined the meaning of community and togetherness despite our physical distance. If anything, we should take pride in this important milestone-more than 3600 students from the 2020 Class graduated from the College this spring, a powerful testament to the work we continue to do to transform lives, ignite new possibilities, meet our 90x30 challenge, and increase educational attainment in the Bronx and in the region!

In this combined Provost’s Report for April and May 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 during the last months of the spring semester 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 Corner. For updates on COVID-19, please visit Coronavirus Updates and Resources.

  • The College successfully held two major virtual recognition events for the 2020 graduating class: the Class of 2020 Virtual Recognition Ceremony held on May 28 and the Virtual Honors Recognition held on May 26. Both events were also carried on BronxNet, the Bronx borough’s independent local television station. The names of more than 3600 graduates were displayed at the Class of 2020 Virtual Recognition Ceremony, along with congratulatory messages from so many faculty and staff. Messages also came from Chancellor Felix Matos; President Lemons; Provost Nwosu; SGA President Tarialy Hernandez; class of 2020 graduate Kassandra Montes; The Honorable Charles Schumer, U.S. Senator; Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul; Attorney General Letitia James; Bronx Borough President Rubén Diaz, Jr.; and Honorary Degree recipients: New York City Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot and Latin Jazz legend Bobby Sanabria. I want to especially thank members of both campus planning committees who worked tirelessly to successfully plan these two important milestone events:

    • Class of 2020 Virtual Recognition Ceremony Victor Brown (Chair), Maria Camaj (Co-Chair), Stanley Bazile, Ronald Bergmann, David Charcape, Karen Crowe, Rafael Gonzalez, Colleen Lutolf, Gladys Maldoon, Brendan McGibney, Dugeidy Ortiz, Devrim Yavuz, and Nadine Zerphey.

    • Virtual Honors Recognition: Victor Brown (Chair), Alison Abreu, José Acevedo, Maria Camaj, Karen Crowe, Sophia Diamantis-Fry, John Lucente, Colleen Lutolf, Brendan McGibney, Deira Pereyra, Wil Rampersaud, Erika Reinhart, Sharanjit Sahi, and Carole Weisz.

    A formal in-person commencement celebrating the accomplishments of the 2020 Class will be held next year once the COVID-19 pandemic is controlled.

  • The Office of Prestigious Awards successfully placed twenty-six (26) iFellowship Scholars with internship opportunities in Philadelphia, Amsterdam, Manhattan, and the Bronx.
  • Work on the development of the 2020-2025 College Strategic Plan continued during the period to revise and refine goals and objectives of the plan in light of the changing health and fiscal climate facing higher education and the nation. The revised goals and objectives were presented to the President’s Cabinet, the May General Faculty Meeting, and the Strategic Plan Steering Committee. Additional work on the plan’s development will continue over the summer. Members of the steering committee are: Provost Nwosu and Anne Rice (co-chairs), Ron Banks, Ronald Bergmann, Haiping Chen, Dawn Ewing Morgan, Alicia Georges, Dene Hurley, Paula Loscocco, Jane MacKillop, Gladys Maldoon, Carl Mazza, Pam Mills, Zoila Morrell, Gaoyin Qian, Rene Rotolo, Reine Sarmiento, Donald Sutherland, and Elin Waring.
  • Program Review Guidelines and Program Review Schedule for all academic programs were finalized by the Office of Academic Programs and Educational Effectiveness (APEE), in consultation with School deans, with an effective start date of AY2020/2021 for the first cohort of programs selected for review.

  • The first phase of the task begun early this spring to identify, review and recommend a new Assessment Management System (AMS) for the college was completed. Working with multiple stakeholders that included the Assessment Council and the Division of Information Technology, APEE reviewed various products and recommended that the college adopt Nuventive Improve as its new AMS to replace Taskstream.

  • The division of Academic Affairs and Student Success submitted four paper proposals for presentation at the 2020 annual conference of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) scheduled for December this year. The theme of the 2020 conference is: “Learning from Change and Bringing the Future into Focus.”
  • Eleven (11) proposals from the Schools of Arts & Humanities (A&H); Education (SOE); Health Sciences, Human Services, & Nursing (HS2N); Natural and Social Sciences (NSS) were approved under the Provost’s Curriculum Development Initiative for funding. The proposals are designed to expand Lehman’s in-person and online footprints through select academic programs in accelerated and cohort-based models as part of our Strategic Growth and Investment Plan (SGIP).

  • The College Senate approved two new academic proposals at its May 6 meeting: the 52-credit online Ed.D. in Higher Education Leadership, Development and Change to be offered through the School of Education and the HealthBridge Pre-Health Professions Post-Baccalaureate Certificate Program at Lehman College of The City University of New York to be offered through the School of Natural and Social Sciences.
  • We continued to provide additional opportunities for training and professional development for students and faculty in support of online learning and instruction through the following:

    • In addition to existing online student resources, we implemented “Are You Ready?”, a one-hour online student orientation that prepares students for online learning; “Distance Learning in the time of COVID-19: Tips for CUNY Students;” and “Student FAQs.”

    • A 75-minute workshop “Essentials to Online Teaching: Planning Your Course” was offered on May 18, 21, 27 and 28. The hands-on, interactive and real-time online workshop introduced faculty who have recently had to transition their classes to online delivery, or who are preparing to do so in upcoming semesters, to take the next steps toward a more purposeful instructional plan.

    • Another workshop, “Just in Time Teaching Training,” a 75-minute professional development opportunity was designed and made available to all teaching faculty (full-time, part-time). The training included selected resources such as a FAQ for Teaching Online in a Hurry, Teaching and Learning webinars, institutionally supported educational tools, a Blackboard Basics Training course, school faculty mentor program to help faculty leverage technology to support student learning and quality instruction, among others.

    • Twenty-one (21) faculty successfully completed the “Preparation for Teaching Online: A Foundational Workshop for CUNY Faculty”, a two-week, asynchronous instructor facilitated workshop, from April 20 to May 3.

    • “FAQs for Faculty Going Online in a Hurry” continued to be updated to provide answers to questions pertaining to teaching remotely.

    • As a part of the monthly teaching and learning webinar, “Jump-starting Course Development Using the Lehman Online Course Template” by Dr. Kenneth Weisshaar, Adjunct Professor in Philosophy, was designed, developed and hosted on May 14.

    • Nine (9) faculty members continued to serve as faculty mentors through May 31 under an initiative funded by the provost to support online instruction. They served as a resource and support for faculty across the academic schools in leveraging technology to support student learning and quality instruction.
  • We developed the “Guidelines for Preparing for Summer 2020 and AY20/21,” and commenced planning for distance learning modality or a hybrid approach informed by guidance from CUNY. The guidelines include three goals, six objectives, and 24 strategies. A taskforce co-chaired by NSS Dean Pam Mills and ORSP Director Brandon Begarly was established to develop cost estimates for plan implementation.

  • At the PDC meeting of May 14, taskforce members also presented aspects of plan implementation. The members of the taskforce include: Pamela Mills, Brandon Begarly, Ronald Banks, Edi Ruiz, Bethania Ortega, and Olena Zhadko.

  • President Lemons and Provost Nwosu continued to provide updates through campus-wide townhall briefings and email communications to the campus as well as through various MS Team meetings (e.g. Cabinet, FP&B, PDC) on summer and fall 2020 plans. President Lemons was also joined by Vice President Rene Rotolo, Director of Public Safety Fausto Ramirez, Dean Stanley Bazile, Vice President Ron Bergmann, and Vice President Reine Sarmiento. The townhall briefings were moderated by Joshunda Sanders, Communications Specialist in the Office of the President.
  • Provost Nwosu was named to the Steering Committee of the Chancellor’s Taskforce on Academic and Student Support, (representing the CUNY Academic Council) created to recommend instructional modality and support services to ensure successful 2020 summer and fall terms in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Participated in meetings of the steering committee held on May 21 and 28.

  • Served on the Academic Council Summer 2020/Fall 2020 Playbook Task Force and participated in the April 6 meeting.

  • Meeting with Rachel Stephenson, Chief of Staff to the Executive Vice Chancellor & University Provost and Assistant Vice Chancellor for Academic Strategy & Operations on April 23 regarding system-wide mental health training.

  • Associate Provost Brown participated in the May 20 virtual meeting of CUNY Middle States Council, CUNY’s May 28 webinar on ‘COVID-19 Research Opportunities for Faculty’ and a national webinar on May 12 on ‘Strategies for Effective and Actionable Academic Program Reviews’ hosted by Academic Impressions.

  • Provost Nwosu led the Lehman team in discussions with CUNY, the National Association of System Heads (NASH) and the Association of College and University Educators (ACUE) representatives on the implementation of the national initiative on faculty development titled “Scaling Instructional Excellence for Student Success.” The initiative, which will involve sixty (60) Lehman faculty is designed to strengthen student achievement and close equity gaps in courses with high enrollment and high DWIF (drop-out, withdrawal, incomplete, and failure) rates. Lehman is one of five senior colleges selected to participate in the initiative. The others are CityTech, Brooklyn, York, and Hunter.

  • Continued work during this period with multiple meetings on the implementation of The CUNY Leadership Institute (TCLI) for Urban-Serving Institutions, an initiative funded by both CUNY and the Mellon Foundation to build a pipeline of academic leaders from faculty in the Arts and Humanities for our nation’s urban-serving institutions. The leadership institute now planned for five months beginning spring 2021, will utilize a combination of experiential and case-study approaches focusing on key areas in higher education leadership and administration. CUNY colleges and the Central office will serve as learning sites. EVC Cruz is the PI on the grant, while Provost Nwosu and University Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs Annemarie Nicols-Grinenko are Program Directors. Met with CUNY Chief Academic Officers on April 17 (with EVC Cruz and Nicols-Grinenko) to discuss the initiative and solicit feedback and technical support regarding next steps.

  • Participated in the CUNY Academic Council meeting held on April 2. The agenda items focused mainly on transfers and retention.

  • Participated in the AASCU national webinar for Presidents and Chief Academic Officers on the CARES Act held on April 24.

  • Joined President Lemons in participating in the CUNY President’s Student Success Roundtable held on May 6.

  • Selected to participate in the Executive Leadership Academy, a leadership program for experienced provosts and vice presidents co-sponsored by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), the American Academic Leadership Institute (AALI), and the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC), with initial meetings of participants held on May 19 and 27.

  • Attended CUNY Chief Academic Council remote meetings on April 2 and May 13.

  • Held 1:1 meeting with Bronx Community College Provost Lester Rápalo on May 26 to discuss new partnership opportunities for seamless articulation and transfer acceleration.

  • Joined President Lemons on April 21 in a virtual engagement with AASCU and SOVA, as part of AASCU-Lehman Student Success Pilot initiative. In attendance were A&H Associate Dean Karin Beck, Dean of Student Affairs and Executive-in-Charge of Student Affairs Stanley Bazile, Senior Director of Enrollment Management Richard Finger, Director of Career Exploration and Development Bascillia Toussaint, and Vice President for Enrollment Management and Associate Provost Reine Sarmiento. Lehman is one of six institutions selected by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) 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.

  • Participated in the April 24 monthly meeting of the American Council on Education (ACE) Council of Fellows’ Professional Development Committee.

  • Participated in the Board of Directors’ meeting of the National Association of Chief Academic Officers (ACAO) held on April 15 and May 6.
  • Convened Provost’s and Deans’ Council (PDC) meetings on April 2, 9, 16, 23, 30, and May 7, 14, 21, and 28, and discussed the following agenda items enrollment strategy to include scheduling, delivery modality, planning and growth; budgets; credit/no-credit guidelines; assessment management systems; technology resources and updates; and guidelines for preparing for AY20-21, among others.

  • Attended the General Faculty meeting held on May 13 and provided the Provost’s Report focused on update on the development of the 2020-2025 Strategic Plan.

  • Attended the Faculty Budget and Personnel Committee (FP&B) meetings on April 7 and 21, and May 12 and 28. The May 28 meeting was a special meeting with President Lemons, Provost Nwosu, and Vice President Rotolo to discuss FY 21 budget.

  • Held special meeting with School Deans and Academic Affairs leadership (Academic Programs, Enrollment Management, and Student Affairs) on May 18 and May 29 respectively to discuss FY21 budget. Vice President Rotolo and Budget Director Ortega participated in both meetings.

  • Participated in the virtual mock College Senate meeting held on April 1 and the May 6 full College Senate meeting. Participated in the College Senate Governance Committee meeting held on April 22 and May 4.

  • Participated in the April 29 and May 27 Joint Budget Committee meetings chaired by Dr. Haiping Cheng and presented the Provost’s Report to the committee which focused on FY21 budget and the implications for Academic Affairs. Participated in the April 20 Executive Committee meeting of the Lehman Auxiliary Enterprise Board.

  • Chaired together with Anne Rice, Chair, Executive Committee of the General Faculty, Acting Director of Women's Studies Program and Assistant Professor of Africana Studies, the Strategic Plan Steering Committee meeting held on the May 20 meeting.

  • Joined President Lemons to participate in the April 28 Labor-Management meeting.

  • Participated in the President’s COVID-19 Check-in meetings held on April 9, 15, and 22.

  • Participated in the President’s Cabinet meetings held on April 7, 16, 23, 30, and May 5, 14, and 20.

  • Participated in the President’s Advisory Board (PAB) meetings held on May 1, 8, and 15.

  • Participated in the meetings of the Budget Working Group (BWG) established by President Lemons to guide campus conversations regarding the College’s FY21 Budget in light of the fiscal impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. BWG met twice a week during the months of April and May. Members include: President Lemons, Provost Nwosu, Vice President Rotolo, Vice President Ewing Morgan, Chief of Staff Maldoon, Special Counsel Barbera, and Budget Director Ortega.

  • 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 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 April 1. The team consists of direct reports to the Provost in non-instructional units within the division.

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

  • Participated in the HEO Screening Committee meeting held on May 6.
  • Joined President Lemons on May 13 to participate in our New Faculty End of First Year Open Forum.

  • It was a delight to participate in this year’s Annual Celebration of Faculty Achievements held on May 7, and provide remarks highlighting faculty scholarship. The following faculty presented summaries of their research at the event: Melissa Deri, Melissa Castillo –Planas, Alison Behrman, Stacy Katz, Sean Stein Smith, and Jennifer Van Allen.

  • It was also a delight to join SRAB chair Amanda Sisselman of the Department of Social Work and many of our faculty colleagues and students at this year’s SRAB Conference held on May 8. The virtual conference showcased the excellent work done by our students. Perl Egendorf of the CUNY Graduate Center was the keynote speaker at the virtual event.

  • Held a phone meeting on May 22 with Gary Schwartz, Director, Macaulay Honors Program at the College.

  • Held meeting on April 21 with José Higuera López, Deputy Director, CUNY Mexican Studies Institute, and Susan Ebersole, Vice President for Institutional Advancement.

  • Held meeting on April 6 with Dr. Olivia Moy, Assistant Professor, Department of English.

  • Met on April 15 with Terialy Hernandez, President, Lehman Student Government Association (SGA) and José Acevedo, Vice President, Student Legislative Assembly. Also, continued personal outreach to a number of students regarding their experiences during this challenging period.
  • 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 were conducted remotely between April and May.

  • For HEO series, we continued the searches for the following: Director, SEEK and Associate Director, Athletics. I also completed interviews for the eight finalists for the positions. I did ask the Vice President for Enrollment Management and the Dean of Students and Executive-in-Charge of Student Affairs to conclude the searches, subject to the requirements of the hiring freeze from CUNY.

  • For full time faculty searches for AY20/21, as of May 30, I completed 84 faculty interviews (17 in fall 2019, and 65 in spring 2020).

  • Of the 26 faculty lines approved by the President for this recruitment cycle (AY20/21), we completed seventeen (17) successful hires across thirteen (13) departments in four schools (A&H, Education, HS2N, NSS) and the Library prior to the hiring freeze by CUNY.

  • I did ask our School deans to conclude the remaining searches that were at different phases of the recruitment and hiring process prior to the freeze and to utilize the internal vacancy review process that was to be developed by the College to request exceptions to the hiring freeze. If exceptions are approved by the President, they would still be subject to CUNY Vacancy Review Board approval.

  • Finally, let me say that I have been impressed with the diversity and the quality of the candidates that I was privileged to interview, and I commend the various search committees, department chairs, school deans, Enrollment Management and Student Affairs, for their dedication and commitment to inclusive excellence. I am confident that our students and the Lehman community will be well served in the years ahead by these exceptional hires.
Wishing everyone continued goodwill and good health throughout the summer. Please continue to remain well and safe.

Peter O. Nwosu, Ph.D.
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Student Success
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.