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Office of the Provost: This Week at Lehman
Welcome Back: The Promise We Made

Dear Faculty, Staff and Students:

Fall semester marks the beginning of a new academic year. It is a time when new students (both freshmen, transfers, and graduates) come to college to fulfill a promise. It is a time when continuing students return to resume their journey towards that promise. It is also a time when faculty return from their summer break recharged to renew their commitment to that promise. It is a pledge etched in stone more than 50 years ago by our founders, to work together to “enrich the human spirit and offer to as many as [could] realize their potential, the opportunity to be so enriched.” That vow remains our mission and the central focus of our work together at Lehman. We are a vibrant community of teachers, learners, scholars, and activists at the intersection of that promise: a promise to transform the lives of the students who come to us, to ignite new possibilities in them, and to engage, educate, and empower them to become contributing citizens of a free and democratic society.

As we enter the new academic year, we have so much to be grateful for:
  • The successful re-affirmation of our institution’s accreditation in June this year by our peers from the Middle States’ Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), endorsing our college’s commitment to continual quality improvement in higher education.
  • Guided by an extraordinary vision, the 90x30 challenge, launched three years ago, we have experienced an enrollment growth when a number of other colleges are witnessing a decline.
  • We have also seen an increase in graduation. Last May, we graduated the largest number of seniors in the college’s history (3767).
  • We remain CUNY’s only senior college to have increased its graduation rate in each of the last five years. A recent analysis by the New York Times shows that Lehman’s actual graduation rate was 9 percentage points higher than its expected graduation rate, again giving it the highest positive gap among CUNY senior colleges.
  • We received funding in the amount of $75 million from our Board of Trustees to begin work on a new nursing building. Groundbreaking will commence this fall.
  • We received final approval from the state to begin the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Program; full implementation will begin in fall 2020.
  • We are completing the renovation of the Library building, and will have a ribbon-cutting ceremony this fall.
  • We have established ourselves as # 3 in the nation among public colleges and universities (and #1 among Hispanic Serving Institutions in the nation) for our role in moving large numbers of low-income students into the middle class and beyond.
  • We are one of only four public colleges in the nation in the top 25 of “low-debt/high-income schools.”
This fall, we will begin, with full speed, to develop the college’s 2020-2025 Strategic Plan, which will help lay the foundation for the next fifty years. The Plan will be guided by the priorities outlined in our prior planning documents, in particular two most recent documents, The 2019 Self-Study and the 2019 Thematic Priorities from Direct Reports to the Provost, which includes curriculum innovation. In the coming weeks, President Lemons will announce members of the college community who will serve on 8 taskforces established to develop the strategic plan, including members of the strategic plan steering committee.

In addition to this major priority, we have begun implementation of a Strategic Growth and Investment Plan (SGIP), an initiative focused on investing in our financial health, strategic growth, and sustainability and designed to further position the college as CUNY’s most-mission critical institution. Last week, President Lemons and I hosted a joint executive workshop involving department chairs, members of the Provost and Dean’s Council, and the President’s Cabinet to discuss the Plan, which includes 7 key strategies:
  1. Implementation of a decentralized approach to adjunct budgeting effective Fall 2019, giving budgetary autonomy to School deans for the management of their adjunct funding, and building into this approach an incentive process which allows schools to keep savings that result from efficiencies in spending.
  2. Implementation of strategies to improve efficiencies in curriculum and schedule planning.
  3. Discussion of the report of the taskforce on re-imagining the School of Continuing and Professional Studies (SCPS) to work more closely with the academic schools on curricular innovations and initiatives to enhance revenue opportunities and further serve the needs of our students, the college and the region.
  4. Discussion of the report of the taskforce on increasing the number of matriculated international students at Lehman College to three (3) percent of the total student population based on a fall 2018 enrollment number.
  5. Discussion of plans to expand Lehman’s online footprint, especially in Graduate Programs.
  6. Expansion of external partnerships and funding opportunities to support student learning, career opportunities, and faculty scholarship.
  7. Strengthening our data and technical infrastructure to support our mission and priorities.
Over the course of the fall semester, the Division of Academic Affairs and Student Success will provide additional opportunities to further engage the college community on these strategies.

Also, last week, President Lemons and I welcomed 22 new faculty colleagues to the college during the New Faculty Orientation. Our new colleagues come from all four schools, and represent one of the largest crop of hires to our institution in recent years. With last year’s number of 31 full-time hires, this will bring the total number of full-time appointments recruited to the college in the last two years to 51, and represents 13.2% of the 385 full-time faculty at the college. This is an impressive number considering that a number of our CUNY institutions have a hiring freeze. Together, our new colleagues will strengthen the college’s capacity and ability to fulfill our promise.

This is an exciting time for Lehman College, and I look forward to continuing our work together this academic year to advance our strategic priorities on behalf of Lehman and our community, and for the sake of the students who chose to come to us when they had many other choices!

To all of our students, faculty, and staff, I welcome you to the fall 2019 semester, and to the beginning of the new academic year. You have my very best wishes for a successful semester.

Peter O. Nwosu, Ph.D.
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Student Success
Lehman College
The City University of New York

The Office of the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs & Student Success oversees all educational programs; faculty matters; accreditation reviews; strategic planning; and the review of division and departmental budgets. Questions? Email provost.office@lehman.cuny.edu or call 718-960-8222. For submissions or issues relating to the eDigest, email edigest.provost@lehman.cuny.edu.