A Message from the President
It is a pleasure to welcome everyone to Queensborough's 2019-20 academic year.
This year brings with it many exciting opportunities to further provide our students with a rewarding academic experience while keeping them on track toward their goal of degree completion. I am very proud that last year our efforts toward student success were rewarded in a very meaningful way, with more students completing their degrees and graduating than ever before. Equally important is our mission of furthering the emphasis on Queensborough's diversity, equity and inclusivity.
Last week I met with colleagues from across the College to share my thoughts about the coming year. I announced that the University will be conducting a search for a permanent president in the coming months. I will keep you updated as the search progresses.
My primary goal for the College during the past academic year was to achieve Middle States reaccreditation. Happily, we were fully reaccredited in the spring. In the hierarchy of findings-commendations, requirements and recommendations, we received nearly a dozen commendations and no requirements.
Recommendations of the report include the development of a strategic plan, which we will take action on in the coming months and year. Achieving reaccreditation is a significant accomplishment that would not have been possible without the extraordinary level of participation and preparation of the more than 100 faculty and staff members who worked together over this past year to participate in working groups and complete their self-study reports.
The strategic planning process will be consultative, collaborative and require input from all campus constituencies, internal and external. It will pose questions such as: As higher education continues to evolve, what kind of academic institution would we like to be? How can we serve our students in a more personalized way? What programs should we explore because of market demand and student expectations regarding the transition from college to jobs.
The challenge we face across CUNY, at the start of this academic year, and into the future, is overall student enrollment. I am pleased to report that we have achieved 100% of our 2019 first-time freshman goal. Student retention, however, remains an issue, and the reasons are numerous. Our 80% rate of student progression, for example, is commendable and I congratulate everyone on that
significant achievement. It does raise issues and a dilemma, however: as we are graduating students faster than before, we are not able to fully replace them at the other end because, across New York City, there are stagnating or diminishing numbers of recent high school graduates. Downturns, such as these, are also associated with improved economic times, but we know through our own research that we also need to do a better job of keeping up with the evolving expectations of our students and the community. We need to understand their expectations, circumstances, and college experiences more fully to improve our customer service and business practices.
All of this, obviously, has ongoing budgetary implications and I am grateful for the work already done by departments and divisions to close financial gaps and make efficiencies. That work will continue.
Academic staffing is healthy. Faculty numbers are up and we are directing resources to areas that are mission critical to the organization, when it is justified and prudent.
The COACHE Survey (Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education) is complete and results, which are coming in, will be shared transparently and widely through department and division heads. Queensborough's participation in the CUNY-wide exercise was not as strong as it was University wide. The conclusions drawn by the College and University, though, are in close accord: Staff are very appreciative of the CUNY mission to provide transformational opportunities to first-generation students; investment is required in infrastructure; and there are real concerns about student access, student preparedness and their ability to succeed at college.
This time of year is always invigorating, with students eager to avail themselves of everything we have to offer and making their own opportunities. Thank you for placing them first.
I am excited about the start of this academic year, committed to transparency, collaboration, and working with you at every opportunity. I welcome your ideas and contributions.
Timothy G. Lynch, Ph.D.
Queensborough Community College,
The City University of New York
222-05 56th Avenue
Bayside, NY 11364-1497