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Provost's Monthy Report
Provost Monthly Report: July 2019

Wow! How time flies. July 28 marked my first six months at our historic institution! During the month, I also took a two-week vacation to rest and to spend time with family members visiting from California and Nigeria. It was their first time to New York, and they had the opportunity to visit many memorable places, including the 9/11 Memorial and the United Nations Building. First, I want to thank everyone for the warm welcome I have received since officially joining the Lehman family on January 28. Staff members in Human Resources, Information Technology, and the President and Provost's offices have been phenomenal in ensuring a smooth transition. Second, thanks so much to the collective efforts of so many students, faculty, staff, directors, department chairs, associate deans, deans, and administrators who work together each day to position Lehman as the most-mission-critical college of the City University of New York and a national engine of access and upward economic mobility. In my short period here, I have visited several units, participated in many campus events, and interacted with many of you. I have learned from each of you about Lehman, CUNY, the Bronx, NYC and our state. As we prepare to end the summer and begin a new academic year, I look forward to continuing our work together.

This Provost's Monthly Report for July 2019 provides highlights of a select number of the initiatives and activities within the Division of Academic Affairs and Student Success as well as throughout the College in furtherance of Lehman's mission and the President's priorities.


  As we celebrate the successful re-affirmation of our institution's accreditation at the end of June 2019 by our peers from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), I am pleased to announce that Lehman has made progress on the planning and implementation of the process for the evaluation of its Mission, Vision, and Values Statements and the creation of a new five-year Strategic Plan (2020-2025) for the college. The Self-Study submitted for our Middle States accreditation will inform this process "to ensure that resulting statements and plans are timely, relevant, actionable, and correspond to Lehman's unique identity." In July, President Lemons and Cabinet took several steps to advance this process:

  • Finalized the eight areas of focus for the 2020-2025 Strategic Plan as follows drawing from the recommendations of the Self-Study and the President’s Advisory Board (PAB), which includes members of the President’s Cabinet and Deans:

    • Guiding Statements (Mission, Vision, and Values)
    • Faculty and Staff Success
    • Program and Curriculum
    • Enrollment and Student Success
    • Revenue and Facility Optimization
    • Institutional Effectiveness and Assessment
    • Diversity and Campus Climate
    • Anchor Institution

  • Finalized appointment of co-chairs of the taskforce for each of the above eight areas of focus.

  • Finalized appointment of a Steering Committee to guide the development of the Strategic Plan comprised of co-chairs of the eight focus areas. Provost Nwosu and Dr. Anne Rice, Chair, General Faculty, and Assistant Professor Africana Studies, will chair/co-chair the 20-member committee respectively. The Steering Committee also includes Deputy to the President, Ms. Gladys Maldoon and Dr. Jonathan Gagliardi, Assistant Vice President for Strategy, Policy and Analytics. Both will provide resource support.

  • President Lemons to announce a complete listing of members of the Steering Committee and the taskforces to the campus community in September.
  • Continued work with the President’s Advisory Board (PAB) to identify members of the college community who will serve on the Strategic Plan taskforces.
  • Began work with IT and Media Relations to develop the 2020-2025 Strategic Plan Website.
  • Identified an external consultant to assist the College in the development of the Strategic Plan. Dr. Sal Rinella, former President of Austin Peay State University, Clarksville, Tennessee, and Senior Associate at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) Penson Center on Professional Development will serve in this role. Prior to his presidency, Dr. Rinella was Vice President for Administration/CFO and Vice President for Business and Finance/CFO at Cal State Fullerton and the University of Michigan respectively.  He has worked with more than 25 colleges and universities in the nation on planning.
  • Office of Planning, Policy and Analytics began work to close out the 2010-2020 Strategic Plan, Achieving the Mission.
  • Launched the kick-off meeting of the Guiding Statements (Mission, Vision, and Values) Taskforce on July 11.  At the meeting, Provost Nwosu discussed the planning process with the members, provided some key definitions, shared resources to guide the work of the taskforce, and responded to questions from taskforce members. The taskforce, co-chaired by Dr. Paula Loscocco, Chair of the Department of English and Dr. Jane MacKillop, Dean, School of Continuing and Professional Studies, is expected to submit draft Guiding Statements in September.  The draft Guiding Statements will be endorsed through the college’s governance process, and will inform the work of the 7 taskforces of the focus areas noted previously.
  • Put together a draft timeline and action steps for the completion of the development of the Strategic Plan by April 30, 2020. The draft includes a timeline for completing the Budget and Implementation Plan as well as the Strategic Plan Annual Reporting Dashboards. 
  • Interim President Lemons hosted a small reception in his office on July 2 to toast the successful completion and outcome of the MSCHE accreditation. A college-wide reception is scheduled for September 18, 2019, immediately following the fall 2019 College convocation event.

  • We received notification that the site visit for the re-accreditation of our two social work programs (BSW and MSW) by the Council on Social Work Education will take place on Tuesday & Wednesday, November 12 and 13, 2019.


Academic Affairs and Student Success began planning for fall 2019 with a series of activities and initiatives:

  • Revisions to the Chairs’ Handbook to include adjunct faculty issues, based on work completed by Dr. Janette Tilley, who chaired an ad-hoc committee appointed by the Provost to update the handbook.

  • The August 23 Chairs’ Workshop, with a special focus on strategic growth and investment based on conversations held in spring 2019 with college senior leadership to identify and implement strategies in order to continue to strengthen the long-term health and financial sustainability of the college. The strategic growth and investment workshop is informed by the promise encapsulated in our 90x30 challenge, and supported by the priorities outlined in our planning documents, in particular two most recent documents, The 2019 Self-Study and the 2019 Thematic Priorities from Direct Reports to the Provost.

  • The August 23 New Faculty Orientation for twenty-two new faculty expected to join the college in fall 2019.

  • Campus-wide Student Success Retreat scheduled for September 13, 2019, with Dr. Timothy Renick of Georgia State University in Atlanta, as keynote speaker.

  • Roll-out of Chatbot, an artificial intelligence tool designed to improve services to students, faculty, and staff, and enhance Lehman’s operating efficiency, to commence in October. VP Bergman is spearheading this initiative and has held multiple meetings with the provost to advance the initiative. Chatbot will help provide immediate personalized answers to students’ questions and connect students to Lehman and CUNY resources as well as integrate with our data systems such as Lehman 360. Planning and implementation meetings began in June 2019 with several units in Academic and Student Affairs such as financial aid, enrollment and transfer services, and academic advising participating. Lehman is one of several CUNY colleges piloting Chatbot.

  • Re-invigorating the CUNY Institute for Health Equity, with the appointment of Dr. Justine McGovern, Assistant Professor of Social Work, as Interim Director. Interim Dean Waring and Provost have held several meetings and discussions to further the work of the Institute.

  • The August 20 Faculty Personnel and Budget (FP&B) Committee meeting, which will include discussion of the Report of the Committee on Committees on the reconfiguration of the Committee on Tenure, Promotion, and Certificate of Continuous Employment (TPCCE).

  • New Chairs’ Orientation scheduled for October 7 for six new chairs elected by their departments.

  • Planning and implementation of the process for refreshing faculty computer needs with VP Ron Bergman.

  • Provost’s Professional Development Series (PPDS), with Interim Dean Elin Waring, chairing the committee appointed by the Provost, to plan and coordinate development opportunities for leadership teams in academic affairs. The committee has representation from each of the five schools in the college.

  • Began finalizing job descriptions and e-position request forms for approved faculty searches to be conducted in FY20.

  • Commenced scheduling of Provost’s fall visits to academic departments for AY 19-20, as well as School-wide meetings with Interim President Lemons and Provost Nwosu in fall 2019. Also, Monthly Faculty Coffee Sessions with the Provost were finalized, with the first session to begin in September 2019. The sessions will provide an informal opportunity for a mixed group of faculty to deepen engagement with the Provost on a wide range of campus issues.  There will be no agenda for these informal sessions.

  • Initiated a temporary IRB process at the end of July for the replacement of our HRPP/IRB manager, Lisa Peralta, who left the college on July 5, 2019 to pursue a hospital based research position. The position description was revised and Dr. Elin Waring, Interim Dean of the School of HS2N, will serve as search committee chair. CUNY agreed to cover our research needs for the month of August 2019. This includes consultation and review of IRB protocols in IDEATE. For September and October 2019, we are seeking an HRPP professional from another CUNY institution to support our research needs through the end of the search process.
  • The Taskforce on re-imagining the School of Continuing and Professional Studies (SCPS) completed its work in summer, and met with the provost on July 8 to share its preliminary findings. The taskforce, which was appointed in March 2019, was charged to: explore and recommend areas for interdisciplinary academic programs across the four academic schools that would require collaboration and coordination from SCPS. This would include mechanisms for relationships between departments and SCPS, which could result in new programs and delivery modalities as well as generate additional revenue streams for participating academic units; examine other schools of continuing education in the country with a view to identify lessons that could help enhance the stature of SCPS as a national model for continuing and professional studies; recommend stackable credentials that would be offered in collaboration with the academic schools to enhance the student experience at Lehman, as well as serve regional needs for workforce development; and recommend student success initiatives (retention, graduation and employment) through aligning non-credit certificate programs with credit courses, badging, and micro-credentials for credit courses, which together would lead to a certificate. The 13-member Task Force was co-chaired by Dr. Jane MacKillop, Dean, School of Continuing and Professional Studies and Dr. Dene Hurley, Chair, Department of Economics and Business. The taskforce's report will be shared widely with the campus community in fall 2019.
  • Thanks to the leadership of department chair Dr. Alicia Georges and the dedication of our nursing faculty, staff, and students, our undergraduate nursing program received two recognitions in July: Lehman's RN to BSN program was named the 2019 Best Online RN to BSN Programs in New York. https://www.registerednursing.org/rn-to-bsn/new-york/#program-rankings. Nursing programs were assessed on several factors, which included how well a program supports students during school, towards licensure, and beyond. The Nursing Schools Best-value Rankings for 2019 also ranks Lehman’s nursing program as # 1 in the state based on the evaluation of students’ NCLEX pass rate and the tuition of a list of 105 nursing schools in New York: https://www.nursingexplorer.com/states/new-york#rn. Information used for the evaluation also comes from the U.S. Department of Education and a list of approved nursing programs from the state board of nursing, as well as accreditation information from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, Inc.


  • Continued meetings with Interim Dean Pam Mills and project directors Dr. Laura Oliveira and Dr. Gustavo Lopez to advance the New York City Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (NYC-LSAMP) in STEM project goals. Also met with DePass Consulting led by Dr. DePass on July 11 to discuss project evaluation. Additional meetings are planned in fall 2019 with Co-PIs and administrators of the 11 alliance institutions: 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 institution for the alliance. Provost Nwosu replaced former President José Luis Cruz as Principal Investigator for project in June. 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.

  • Worked with Dr. Anne Rothstein of the School of Education on a U.S. Department of Education Title V Grant Proposal titled “Assessment to Increase Access to Graduate Study and the Professions through Pedagogical Innovation and Course Redesign.” The proposal, which had input from a variety of campus stakeholders, was submitted on July 15.

  • Through the work of Institutional Advancement and Dr. Jill Gerson, a long-time friend of the institution, the College has established the "Dr. Jill Gerson Endowed Scholarship” for undergraduate and graduate students majoring in Social Work at Lehman College. The Named Full-Scholarship Endowment will be awarded to defray school expenses, which includes tuition, fees, books and supplies. The Full-Scholarship Endowment in the pledge amount of $202,500 will be payable over 3 years. Dr. Jill Gerson received a DSW from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and a MSW from Hunter College School of Social Work. A longtime former resident of New York City, Dr. Gerson focused her social work practice on program development for under-served youth and families with young children. She is a retired faculty member of Lehman College, Department of Sociology and Social Work. While teaching at Lehman, she developed an introductory course for human service workers aimed at enhancing their skills in working with families facing the complex challenges of poverty and social injustice. The College is especially grateful to Dr. Gerson for this generous support.

  • Lehman received a check for $5,000 from the Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation (LAEF) in support of the Pacheco Jazz Festival.  Thanks to LAEF for this support.

  • Lehman received a $50,000 grant from the Sara Little Turnbull Foundation to support the launch of the Sara Little Turnbull Design Initiative. The Initiative, to be housed in the Department of Art, is a four-year project to introduce design to the Lehman College Community through a cross-curriculum, experience based program. In the award letter, the foundation noted as follows: “Lehman College offers the best opportunities for today’s youth who are underrepresented in design, but promise to bring invaluable perspectives and work to design at the intersection of business, culture and education.”  Thanks to Dorothy Dunn and the Sara Little Turnbull Foundation for this grant.

  • We received additional funding from CUNY in the amount of $103, 357 to supplement GRTI 21 initiatives. The funds will support the following faculty projects at the College:  

  • Dr. Cheryl Smith Gabig - $32,979.76 for upgrades to the speech and computer lab and classroom, which serves the Graduate Program in Speech-Language Pathology. 

  • Dr. Julio Gallego-Delgado - $35,388 for the procurement of a Fluorescent Microscope for his lab.

  • Dr. Limor Pinhasi-Vittorio and Dr. Jennifer Van Allen - $35,040 to support the establishment of a Design-Based Research Lab to investigate literacy educators’ use of technology in PK-12 classrooms.


  • New Executive Vice Chancellor and University Provost José Luis Cruz began hosting a get to know you Dinner with CUNY Chief Academic Officers (CAOs) at the central office. The first dinner, which was held on July 9, was attended by six CAOS: Howard Wach (Guttman Community College), Lon Kaufman (Hunter College), Yi Li  (John Jay College of Criminal Justice), Peter Nwosu (Lehman College), Joseph Ugoretz (Macauley Honors College), and Gladys Palma de Schrynemakers (School of Labor and Urban Studies).  The dinner meeting provided an opportunity for CAOs to discuss the challenges and opportunities ahead. EVC Cruz also solicited the input of CAOs as to how the work of the Council of Chief Academic Officers can be best structured so as to deliver on the twin promises of opportunity and social mobility inherent in the statute that gave rise to our great University.

  • Dr. Sherry Deckman, Assistant Professor, Middle and High School Education, was appointed to the University Advisory Council on Diversity (UACD) for AY 2019-2020.

  • Interim Vice Provost Vincent Prohaska led the Lehman team at the CUNY-COACHE Strategy Workshop held on July 22 at the central office. The Lehman Team included Donald Sutherland, Institutional Effectiveness Coordinator, Dr. Joe Fera, Deputy Chair, Department of Mathematics, and Chair, College Senate Governance Committee, Dr. Sherry Deckman, Assistant Professor, Middle and High School Education, Dr. Juan DelaCruz, Associate Professor, Economics and Business, Dr. Justine McGovern, Assistant Professor, Social Work, Dr. Dana Fenton, Lecturer, Sociology, and Alison Abreu, Faculty Development Specialist in the Office of the Provost.

  • Joined Interim President Lemons, Vice President Sarmiento, and CUNY Dean Angie Kamath in a meeting with BRAVEN to further discussions began early in spring 2019 regarding a potential career pathway partnership to enhance the undergraduate experience between Lehman and BRAVEN. CUNY is providing initial funding support for this initiative.

  • Vice President Sarmiento and I participated in a conference call with Peter Sloane, CEO of The Heckscher Foundation for Children and Youth to discuss funding support for the career pathway partnership with BRAVEN.

  • Participated in a Here to Here/CareerWise-CUNY meeting on July 30 (with Dean Jane MacKillop, VP Sarmiento, and Ms. Maria Camaj) at CareerWise headquarters in New York to discuss a proposed career pathway opportunity focused on apprenticeship. Both Lehman College and BMCC have been selected as pilot institutions for this initiative.


  • It was with great sadness that I joined Mrs. Carol Hanges, her family, friends and colleagues to participate in the memorial service held on July 26 in honor of Dr. Nicholas Hanges, Professor and Chair, Department of Mathematics, who passed away on July 20, following a long battle with lung cancer.  The service was held at the Riverdale Funeral Home located on Broadway in the Bronx. Interim Dean Pam Mills and a number of the department’s former and current faculty as well as students attended the service. Interim President Lemons sent condolences to the family on behalf of the Lehman community.

  • Meeting with Dr. JoAnne Malatesta, Interim Vice Provost and Dean for Undergraduate Education at the University of Albany on July 11 to discuss the university’s interest in the student success teams at Cal State Fullerton, which I had the privilege to spearhead as a national model of innovative practice in student advising.

  • Visited (with Ms. Camaj) the studio facilities of the Journalism and Media Studies department, and met with Dean Mahon, department chair Thomas O’Hanlon, and Professor James Carney to discuss a proposed Provost’s Podcast Series, intended to showcase the academic depth and breadth of the Lehman community, and with the potential for distribution through multiple audio/visual platforms.  Additional conversations are planned.

  • Met with Dean Stanley Bazile, Executive-in-charge of Student Affairs, and Director Michael Sullivan on July 2 to review Student Activity Fees and FY 20 plans for student affairs.

  • Meeting with Interim Vice Provost Vincent Prohaska and Assessment Manager Ray Galinski to discuss college-wide assessment and campus plan for MSCHE supplemental report on assessment due March 1, 2020.

  • Meeting with Biology Department Chair, Dr. Haiping Cheng, to discuss and learn more about the department, and included conversations on a plan for the Animal Care facility and curricular innovation. 

  • Meeting with Budget Director Bethania Ortega on July 8 to discuss Academic Affairs funding sources.

  • Meeting on July 10 with Dr. Teresita Levy, Ms. Amanda Dubois-Mwake, Dr. Stanley Bazile, Dr. Sarmiento, and Dr. Goher Murtaza to discuss transition plans related to the new Office of International Programs and Community Engagement (IPCE). 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.

  • Participated in the HEO Screening Committee meeting held on July 1o with HR Director Eric Washington, Chief Diversity Officer Dawn Ewing-Morgan, and Interim Executive Counsel to the President/Labor Designee Esdras Tulier. Six staff personnel matters/requests were reviewed and recommendations made to the President.


  • Held 1:1 meetings with President Lemons.

  • Continued 1:1 meetings with members of the President’s Cabinet (VP Susan Ebersole, Deputy to the President Gladys Maldoon, VP Reine Sarmiento, VP Rotolo, AVP Gagliardi, Interim Executive Counsel to the President/Labor Designee Esdras Tulier and VP Ron Bergmann).

  • Continued 1:1 meetings with Deans Jane MacKillop, Pamela Mills, James Mahon, Elin Waring, and Gaoyin Qian, and Associate Dean and Chief Librarian Kenneth Schlesinger, as well as other direct reports to the Provost: Dean Stanley Bazile, ORSP Director Brandon Begarly; IRB Manager Lisa Peralta; International Programs and Community Engagement Executive Director Teresita Levy.

  • Met with Provost’s Chief of Staff Melissa Kirk and Dawn Ewing-Morgan Chief Diversity Officer and Executive-in-Charge of Human Resources, to finalize several transition issues and ECP searches in the Division of Academic Affairs and Student Success.

  • Held Provost/Deans’ Council (PDC) meeting on July 11 to discuss strategic and operational matters.


  • Completed full-time faculty searches and appointments (accepted offers) as follows:  Dr. Rima Brusi, Distinguished Lecturer, Department of Anthropology; Dr. Delfina Durán Urrea, conversion to Assistant Professor, Department of Languages and Literatures; Dr. Francisco (Paco) Montãno, conversion to Assistant Professor, Department of Languages and Literatures.
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.