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Provost's Monthy Report
Provost Monthly Report: June 2019

We began this summer season with numerous bright spots following a successful commencement in May. In this Provost's Monthly Report for June 2019, we provide highlights of a select number of those bright spots, initiatives and activities within the Division of Academic Affairs and Student Success and the College in furtherance of our College mission and the President's priorities.

  • It was a privilege to join President José Luis Cruz and his wife, Dr. Rima Brusi on June 13 as members of the Lehman College community gathered to celebrate his leadership and accomplishments as the 3rd president of this storied institution, and to bid him formal farewell as he assumes the new role of Executive Vice Chancellor and University Provost of the City University of New York (CUNY). Chair of the Governance Committee of the College Senate, Dr. Joe Fera served as master of ceremony for the occasion, while Provost Nwosu provided remarks highlighting some of Dr. Cruz's key accomplishments focusing on students success: the launch of the 90x30 initiative, an 11% growth in total enrollment, a 50.6% growth in first-time, full-time freshmen (the largest in more than two decades), a 13% increase in incoming transfers, a 14.1% increase in undergraduate STEM majors (doubling the total senior college growth rate of 6.9%), and an increase in online offerings taught by faculty, nearly doubling CUNY's senior college average of 12.4%. Under his presidency, the College's first-year retention rate exceeded the senior college average by at least 9% in fall 2016 and fall 2017. In May 2019, the college graduated 3,676 students, the highest graduating class in its history, a number that has contributed to the largest increase in Lehman's six-year graduation rate over the last five years (11.9%), making it the only senior college in CUNY to have increased its graduation rate in each of the last five years. Our four-year graduation rate has also increased by 4% over the last two years, the second largest increase among senior colleges during the same period. Provost Nwosu pointed to a recent analysis by the Urban Institute and the New York Times which shows that Lehman's actual graduation rate was 9 percentage points higher than its expected graduation rate, giving it the highest positive gap among CUNY senior colleges. Today, we rank No. 3 among public colleges and universities in the nation with the highest "mobility rate," according to data from the National Bureau of Economic Research and the Equality of Opportunity Project. Among Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs), the American Council on Education (ACE) has ranked Lehman as No. 1 in the nation for upward mobility. We are also one of only four public colleges in the nation that belong in the top 25 of "low-debt/high-income schools." Provost Nwosu noted that: "in the three years that Dr. Cruz served as president, he organized the college's work around people, structure, technology, data, policy, and process, to pursue a clear and singular purpose, designed to improve the student experience and accelerate student success outcomes at Lehman in terms of scale, quality, and impact. The results have been phenomenal: people took notice, and now everyone is talking about Lehman." An emotional Dr. Cruz, who was joined by his wife and his son, Álvaro at the occasion, thanked members of the college community for the warm welcome and huge support they gave to him and his family since assuming the college's presidency, noting that the college's role and success as the most-mission critical institution within CUNY will serve as a guidepost for his new role at CUNY. The farewell event was interspersed with a toast to Dr. Cruz and to the college by Dr. Joe Fera, who is the deputy chair of the department of Mathematics, a video presentation prepared by the MultiMedia Center, which highlighted some of Dr. Cruz's remarks and words of wisdom to the college community, and ended with College Senate Chair Fera unveiling a sports jersey with the number 3 emblazoned on its front and back, officially commemorating and symbolizing Dr. Cruz's tenure as the college's 3rd president. The #3 jersey, now a retired number at Lehman, will be hung in the APEX gymnasium. Dr. Cruz assumed his new role at CUNY on July 1, the same date that Dr. Dan Lemons, who served as interim dean of Academic Affairs at Lehman and former provost at City College, assumes the role of interim President of Lehman College.
  • During the last weekend in June, we received a much-awaited wonderful news: the decision of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) to fully reaffirm our institutional accreditation: full reaffirmation of its accreditation. It was a bright light to months of hard work by the college community as we waited in anticipation for the decision of the Commission since the site team's visit in early April. The following week, President Lemons shared the official news with the campus community and posted the MSCHE re-accreditation letter, the site visit team report, and our institutional response to the site visit report here. While our next evaluation visit will be in 2027-2028, MSCHE has requested that we submit a supplemental report with additional evidence of our assessment and institutional effectiveness efforts by March 1, 2020. As you know, we have already begun substantive new initiatives to address what we identified in our self-study as essential next steps to advancing our mission and strategic priorities, including the work to strengthen assessment and continual improvement in student learning. Consequently, we will be establishing a new office of assessment and educational effectiveness, with a designated space, and we will be naming a director to help lead this important work, which will include training faculty and staff on utilizing our new uniform six-step assessment process. Last semester, we established the Academic Assessment Council (AAC) as an ad hoc Senate Committee. The AAC will be critical to moving forward our efforts to continually improve our outcomes in all areas, along with School and Division-based Assessment Liaisons, all coordinated by the new office of Assessment and Educational Effectiveness (OAEE). I will be reaching out to several members of the campus community in the coming months to further advance this work. In the meantime, I join President Lemons in thanking each member of the campus community who played a part in this huge accomplishment, and urge you to take pride in what we collectively accomplished to secure full reaffirmation of accreditation for our college and our students by working together as a dedicated and talented team. Kudos to all!
  • Another terrific bright spot! The college reached a major milestone in June with the approval of funding in the amount of $75 million by the CUNY Board of Trustees for the construction of the new Nursing Building at the institution. Ground-breaking for the new state-of-the-art facility will commence in fall 2019, thanks to the work done by President Cruz and the team in the Division of Administration and Finance led by Interim Vice President Rene Rotolo and other key stakeholders. Lehman also has just received $3 million in City Council funding to help furnish the new building when it is completed. At the Fall 2019 Convocation, scheduled for September 18, President Lemons will provide additional information on the Nursing Building.
  • I was extremely delighted to join a faculty-led study abroad program to Cuba in early June. The 16-member team from Lehman included three faculty members (Dr. Teresita Levy, Latin American and Latino Studies; Dr. Bertrade Ngo-Ngijol-Banoum, Africana Studies; and Dr. Vani Kannan, English), Deputy to the President, Ms. Gladys Maldoon, and 11 students from across the college's schools. Two Cuban educators, formerly with the University of Havana, who served as the team's travel guides during the visit, joined the group. It was a great educational and cultural experience, and an opportunity for me to engage with our students as they immersed themselves in a rich learning journey. The team visited many places of interest (e.g. Old Havana; the Museum of the Revolution housed in the old Presidential Palace, occupied by Fulgencio Batista before his overthrow by Fidel Castro in 1959; the Museum of Africa to explore the contributions of slaves and other peoples of African descent on Cuban culture, including Cuba's current relations with Africa; the Shrine of the Afro-Cuban Deity-Yamaya; and Playa Girón in Matanzas province, about three hours from Havana, the Battle sites of the Bay of Pigs Invasion). Lehman faculty engaged students in debriefing sessions at the end of each historical site visit, focusing on culture and identity, the institution of slavery given that Cuba was a major distribution point during the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, the role of religion and religious institutions in Cuban life, Cuban architecture and public spaces, Cuban music and dance, the Cuban revolution, and U.S.-Cuba relations. It was a study abroad program rich in lessons for advancing global education, as well as intercultural and international understanding, and for several of our students, it was the first time they had traveled outside of the United States. I had a marvelous time with them with discussions over lunch and dinner and during our bus travels together throughout Havana (Cuba's capital city) and parts of the island outside of Havana, and I took the opportunity to respond to questions from them about the role of the Provost, as well as explain what other members of the college leadership team do (e.g. vice presidents, deans, and department chairs) to advance Lehman's mission and support student success. A number of the students also offered recommendations on improving access to support services and on curricular innovations, especially with General Education, as well as suggestions to better inform students about how the college/university functions to advance student success and social mobility. It was a meaningful trip as the students and I got to know each other, and they felt supported by college administration. I was in Cuba for four days (June 1-4), while the rest of the team led by Dr. Levy remained behind to continue their travels to other parts of the island that included such cities as Cienfuegos, Trinidad, and Camaguey.
  • Yet another bright spot! A June report from the Center for Global Engagement (CGE) submitted to Academic Affairs shows the following exciting numbers for Lehman for the 2018/2019 Academic Year:

    • 126 students travelled out of the country for study abroad programs this year (up from 119 in AY17/18; 54 in AY16/17)
    • Our students went to 24 countries: Argentina, Indonesia, Brazil, South Africa, China, Costa Rica, Cuba, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, France, Ghana, Greece, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Netherlands, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, and Thailand.
    • 23 Gilman Winners (up from 11 in AY17/18)
    • 28 awardees of the Chancellor's Global Scholarship and CUNY Office of Special Programs (OSP) Funding (up from 16 in AY17/18)

  • Congratulations to our students and to the many faculty who worked with them to achieve their dreams. Clearly many of our students want to study abroad and they are willing to do the work to get there. Congratulations to the CGE Team as well as the Office of Community Engagement and New Student Programs for continuing to coordinate this important work.
  • President Cruz announced a number of changes in Student Affairs to further advance our institutional mission and strategic goals:
    • Appointment of Dr. Stanley Bazile, Dean of Students, as Executive in Charge of the Division of Student Affairs, effective July 1, 2019, following the retirement of Vice President José Magdaleno. He will report to the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Student Success, and be a member of the President's Cabinet, the Provost's Council, and the President's Senior Leadership Team.
    • Dr. Reine Sarmiento, Vice President for Enrollment Services, will oversee the Office of Financial Aid, which previously reported in Student Affairs, and will continue to report to the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Student Success.
    • Restructured the Center for Global Engagement (CGE) to take on expanded responsibilities to include the International Students and Scholar Office and the Office of Community Engagement. New and Transfer Student Orientations, currently housed within the Office of Community Engagement, will remain in the Division of Student Affairs. CGE renamed: the Office of International Programs and Community Engagement (IPCE).
    • Established a new Office of International Programs and Community Engagement (IPCE), with Dr. Teresita Levy as Executive Director during this transitional period effective July 1, in addition to her new role as chair of the Department of Latin American and Latino Studies. Dr. Levy will report to the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Student Success, and will be a member of the Provost Council and the Academic Affairs Leadership Team. The new unit is a result of recommendations from an eight-person committee charged by Provost Nwosu to explore ways through which the college could expand its international and service footprints while strengthening our partnerships, increasing opportunities for study abroad and study away, increasing the number of matriculated international students at Lehman College, and enhancing revenue growth for the college.
  • School of Arts and Humanities
    • The Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation has awarded a grant of $5,000 to support the 2019 Johnny Pacheco Jazz Latin Music and Jazz Festival in the Fall Term of 2019. The festival is organized by the Department of Music, Multimedia, Theatre, and Dance, and coordinated by Allan Molnar, Lecturer in Jazz. The additional financial support will allow him to greatly increase the effectiveness of the educational component of the Pacheco Festival and will enhance the festival's mission of supporting music education in the Bronx and beyond.
    • The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation has named Dr. Olivia Moy, Assistant Professor of English, a Nancy Weiss Malkiel Scholar for 2019. The Malkiel Scholar Award is given to a junior faculty member "whose research focuses on American history, politics, culture, and society, and who are committed to the creation of an inclusive campus community for underrepresented students and scholars." This is a 12-month award in the amount of $17,500.
    • Mariama Khan, a Gambian scholar and Adjunct Lecturer in the Department of Africana Studies, has published a book, The Gambia-Senegal Border: Issues in Regional Integration, with Routledge.
    • On June 21st, Lehman College held its own Make Music Day, as part of International Make Music Day. A variety of musicians and bands, including students, provided 9 hours of free music in the Lehman College Amphitheater from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
  • School of Education
    • Dr. Herminio Martinez, Professor of Middle High School Education, and Executive Director, The Bronx Institute, received a $200,000 grant to support the ENLANCE program from the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors and the Llewellyn Family Foundation. Kudos to Dr. Martinez and to Vice President Susan Ebersole and the Lehman Foundation for their work in support of securing this grant.
  • Leonard Lief Library
    • Work continued with the renovation of the first floor of the Leonard Lief Library, with plans to reopen it at beginning of Fall semester. It will feature new Reference and Circulation-Reserve Desks, refreshed technology for student access, and areas for group collaborative work. The Access and Technology Center will be relocated to first floor.
  • School of Continuing Education and Professional Studies
    • SCPS Task Force has completed its work (report forthcoming in early July)
    • Lumina Foundation proposal for $400K (total) for 3 years ($133K per year) was submitted to the Foundation on June 17.
    • City Council funding for the Bronx Business Tech Center at CUNY on the Concourse will continue for FY 2020 at $450,000.
    • Dean MacKillop presented the final version of the university-wide Non-credit to Credit survey to the Adult & Continuing Education Administrators' Council at the CUNY Central office on June 19. The survey collected information about which colleges offered credit for prior learning either through externally credited exams such as CLEP, through portfolios documenting college-level learning or by giving credit for non-credit professional certificates such as A+, CCNA networking and CASAC.
  • CUNY Lehman new program "Bilingual Speech-Language Pathology," leading to the Advanced Certificate and initial/professional certification in bilingual education received approval on June 24 for inclusion in the Inventory of Registered Programs for teacher education purposes by the New York State Department of Education through September 1, 2020. After this date, registration is extended annually until the Department's next review is conducted.

  • Lehman submitted its PMP Report for AY 2018-2019 to Chancellor Felix Matos Rodriguez on June 30. The Report prepared by AVP Jonathan Gagliardi and reviewed by President Cruz and Provost Nwosu, highlights the college's progress on the PMP metrics aligned with goals articulated in Connected CUNY Strategic Framework. Highlights of the report focus on the following six areas: Access and Completion; Academic Momentum; Career Readiness; Knowledge Creation and Innovative Research; Faculty Diversity; and Funding Model.

  • Provost assumed the role of Principal Investigator for the CUNY-supported NYC LSAMP Program funded by the National Science Foundation following President Cruz' transition to CUNY. Met with Interim Dean Pam Mills, and project directors Laura Oliveira and Dr. Gustavo Lopez to discuss the calendar of activities for the program during the next year, including this year's annual report and fall meetings with Co-PIs and presidents/provosts of the participating institutions in the alliance, as well as meeting with the external evaluation team. The 11 alliance institutions are: Baruch College, Bronx Community College, Brooklyn, City College of New York-GSOE, College of Staten Island, Hostos Community College, Guttman Community College, Lehman College, Medgar Evers College, New York City College of Technology, and Queens College. Lehman is the lead coordinating institution for the alliance. The LSAMP program, named in honor of late Congressman Louis Stokes is designed to diversify the nation's science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) workforce by working with the nation's colleges and universities to increase the number of STEM baccalaureate and graduate degrees awarded to historically underrepresented populations (African Americans, Hispanic Americans, American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, and Native Pacific Islanders) in these disciplines.

  • The Provost's Office worked with School Deans to complete the Inventory of Centers and Institutes at the college as requested by CUNY. The inventory, which includes information on primary and secondary sources of funding, number of active awards, annual budget, and date of last audit, among others, has been submitted to CUNY. Annual reports of the centers and institutes to CUNY are due in August 2019. The six centers are as follows:

    • Bronx Institute: to enhance educational opportunity by promoting equity and excellence for all k-20 students. (Director: Dr. Herminio Martinez)
    • Institute for Literacy Studies: to advance research, articulate theory and implement effective practice in literacy and mathematics education for k-16, CBOs, and CUNY campuses. (Director: Jane Kehoe-Higgins).
    • Center for School/College Collaboratives: oversees grant programs with Bronx schools to increase college readiness and access for K-12 students and professional development for teachers. (Director: Anne Rothstein).
    • Jaime Lucero Mexican Studies Institute: first academic institute east of the Mississippi River specifically devoted to Mexican and Mexican-American studies, including supporting equity by promoting academic achievement, improving outcome and career success, foster research with and about Mexico and Mexicans in the US, especially in New York, and collaborate with community-based and public institutions to support and empower the Mexican community, especially through education. (Director: José Higuera-López
    • Institute for Irish-American Studies: supports focused research carried out by faculty and students at the CUNY campuses. (Director: Thomas Ihde)
    • Small Business Development Center: supports small business innovations and economic development in the Bronx and beyond. (Director: Clarence Stanley)
    • CUNY Institute for Health Equity: serve as a CUNY-wide locus of scholarly work that contributes to the preparation of a cadre of faculty, students, and communities that understand the social determinants of health and disease and works to achieve health equity for New York City's underserved ethnic/racial populations, disenfranchised gendered groups, economically disadvantaged, and their associated subpopulations. (Director: TBD)

  • Provost Nwosu participated in the 2019 Macaulay Honors College Commencement Ceremony held on June 6 at the United Palace Theatre. Both Provost Nwosu and director Gary Schwartz of the Lehman Honors and Scholars program received and congratulated Lehman students graduating from the college.
  • Participated in the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) Student Success Academy held in Orlando, Florida, from June 24-26, with Interim President-Designee Dan Lemons, Assistant Vice President Jonathan Gagliardi, Vice President Reine Sarmiento, Associate Dean Karin Beck, Director, Career Exploration Center, Bascillia Toussaint, and Senior Director of Enrollment Management, Richard Finger. Lehman is one of six institutions selected by AASCU to participate in a 15-month project (Collaborative on Student Success) to refine and validate an institutional transformation process that advances students' success through information sharing and data exchange. The Lehman AASCU team spent time at the meeting to begin a review of our student success initiatives around the 90x30 goal, and Lehman's role as the public anchor institution in the Bronx. The Lehman team participated in focus group meeting with counterparts from the other participating institutions, and President Lemons and Provost Nwosu joined an all-presidents and all-provosts' meetings respectively to discuss institutional experiences on student success, and shared promises and challenges.

  • On June 13, AASCU held a zoom conference call with the Lehman team to discuss results of the Lehman institutional transformation survey conducted by AASCU, Key Performance Indicators, and guiding questions for the Student Success Academy planned for June 24-26.
  • Joined President Cruz and several members of College administration on June 7 to participate in the annual Gala and Banquet held at Pier 60 at Chelsea Piers in Manhattan, celebrating National Puerto Rican Day. President Cruz was honored with an Education Leadership Award, along with Chancellor Félix Matos Rodriguez, who also attended the event.

  • Participated in the Board of Directors' conference call meeting of the national Association of Chief Academic Officers (ACAO) held on June 5.

  • The Taskforce on the School of Continuing and Professional Studies (SCPS) established by the President to re-imagine the school continued its meetings. The taskforce is co-chaired by Dr. Jane MacKillop, SCPS Dean, and Dr. Dene Hurley, Chair, Department of Economics and Business.

  • Met with Interim Associate Dean, Dr. José Cao-Alvira, School of Natural and Social Sciences (NSS) on June 27 to discuss faculty lines.

  • Met with Assessment Manager, Dr. Ray Galinski to discuss the planned new Office of Assessment and Educational Effectiveness.

  • Met with Dr. Penny Prince on June 11 to discuss Provost's Re-entry Initiative to expand access and opportunity for college education to the prison population consistent with the college's social justice initiatives. Dr. Prince, Dr. Anne Rice, and Dr. Carl Mazza are spearheading this initiative. Additional discussions are planned for fall 2019.

  • Met with Amanda DuBois-Mwake, Director, Office of Community Engagement on June 11, to discuss strategic direction for service learning and engagement at the college.
  • Continued weekly 1:1 meetings with President Cruz.

  • Continued 1:1 meeting with Interim Dean Lemons, and 1:1 meetings with School Deans and the Chief Librarian, as well as 1:1 meetings with members of the President's Cabinet.

  • Met with Dawn Ewing-Morgan, Chief Diversity Officer and Executive-in-Charge of Human Resources, on June 5, to discuss and finalize several transition issues in the Division of Academic Affairs and Student Success.

  • Held 1:1 meeting with Vice President José Magdaleno on June 5 to discuss transition issues in Student Affairs.

  • Held leadership team meeting on June 10 with directors in Student Affairs as well as a divisional staff meeting on June 12, to discuss recent organizational changes in the division following the retirement of Vice President José Magdaleno, and responded to questions from the leadership team. On June 27, held another meeting with directors in Student Affairs to discuss student success-related issues, including the division's role with 90x30.

  • Held 1:1 meeting with Interim Vice Provost Vinny Prohaska to discuss assessment, Lehman's application for cross-border delivery of online education, MSCHE substantive change requirements for doctoral degrees, Open Educational Resources, and Academic programs budget.

  • Held 1:1 meeting with Dean Stanley Bazile on June 10 to discuss transition issues in Student Affairs.

  • Held Provost/Deans' Council (PDC) meeting on June 6, 13, and June 27 to discuss strategic and operational matters.

  • Held 1:1 meetings with Interim Dean Elin Waring of the School of Heath Sciences, Human Services, and Nursing, on June 11 and June 27, and continued discussions on the CUNY Institute on Health Equity, the CUNY Nursing Science Ph.D. program, and Speech and Hearing Clinic proposal to expand services to the community.

  • Held 1:1 meeting with Interim Dean Gaoyin Qian of the School of Education on June 13 and June 27 Meeting focused on doctoral faculty for the proposed Ed.D. program, preparation for the upcoming accreditation of the School by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), and the School's AY 2019-2020 Plan and Initiatives.

  • Held 1:1 meeting on June 12 with Interim Dean Pam Mills. Meeting focused on institutional support for a science infrastructure to include indirect cost recovery on grants and contracts, the proposal for a School of Business, and proposals for curricular/program renewal in NSS.

  • Continued meetings between Academic Affairs and Administration and Finance Executive in Charge (EIC) Rene Rotolo and Bethania Ortega, Lehman's Director, Budget and Planning to finalize discussions on College and Academic Affairs budgets and resource planning with a focus on improving efficiencies and identifying and implementing growth strategies to maximize college financial health and sustainability.
  • Completed full-time faculty searches and appointments (accepted offers) as follows:
    • Ms. Marisa White, Lecturer in Journalism and Media Studies (A&H),
    • Dr. Catherine Healy-Sharbaugh, Clinical Professor in Nursing (HS2N),
    • Ms. Michele Washington, Lecturer in Early Childhood and Childhood Education (SOE).
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.