Welcome Back (Fall 2018)

Dear Colleagues,

I hope you have had a wonderful summer and are excited to be back for a new academic year. We are welcoming nine new faculty members across six departments:

Allied Health Nursing Assistant Professor Kattiria Rosario Gonzalez
Behavioral and Social Sciences Psychology Assistant Professor Stacy Cooper
  Economics Instructor Norberto Michel Hernandez Valdes-Portela
English   Assistant Professor Victoria M. Muñoz
Humanities Modern Language Assistant Professor Humberto Ballesteros Capasso
  Media Design Assistant Professor Sandra Chen
  Media Design Assistant Professor Simona Prives
Mathematics   Assistant Professor Jung Hang Lee
Natural Sciences Food Studies Instructor Kathleen Delgado


We are also beginning a new year with three new full professors, Marcella Bencivenni, Debashish Roy, and Minerva Santos, four new associate professors, Sandra Castellanos, Sonia Maldonado, Sherese Mitchell, and Jarek Stelmark and an adjunct who was also promoted to associate professor, Asit Panja. More information about their accomplishments will be forthcoming. We are also beginning the year with our latest Hostos Reads book, How to Think by Alan Jacobs, which if you haven’t started reading yet, I highly recommend it. A benefit of this book is each chapter can stand on its own if you want to use it in your class- though each chapter is so different and interesting, I am not sure it will be an easy selection. Each chapter will elicit thoughtful discussions either in a classroom or among ourselves.


Some exciting things happened this summer. Our theater program performed at the Fringe Festival in Scotland, Professor Nelson Nunez-Rodriguez was selected by the Fulbright Specialist Program to offer workshops on Assessment and Classroom Management at the Panamerican Agriculture University, Zamorano, Honduras, Professor Ian Scott was featured in the New York Post, Professor Natasha Yannacanedo participated in an Apexart Fellowship in Israel, five of our students volunteered through CUNY Service Corps for two weeks on the island of Puerto Rico as part of the NY Stands with Puerto Rico Recovery and Rebuilding Initiative, and four faculty, Professors Eunice Flemister, Cynthia Jones, Nelson Nunez-Rodriguez, and Kate Wolfe, joined me for an AACU General Education Summer Institute at the University of Utah.


Part of our work at the institute was to create plan to implement this upcoming year. You will hear more about it through the work of the General Education Committee, but in the meantime, anyone who is teaching a general education class this semester found a booklet of information about engaging students in gen ed and the classroom. One of our goals this year is to increase the course completion rates in our general education classes. As a college, our retention rates are slipping and we need to provide supports to keep our students engaged in the academic work and provide opportunities for them to make connections with the faculty as well as their fellow students. The booklet offers active learning strategies, a description of our general education competencies and rubrics, a reminder of Bloom’s Taxonomy, and an encouragement to attend our Center for Teaching and Learning and Ed Tech workshops.


Odessa Community College was able to increase their course completion rates from an average of 83% to 95% by implementing four easy strategies in the classroom:

  • Interacting with students by name during the first week of class;
  • Monitoring student behavior and progress and intervening when an issue arises;
  • Meeting with the students one-on-one and communicating routinely about their course performance; and
  • Becoming a “master of paradox” (i.e., maintaining a structured course while allowing for some flexibility).

Succeed@Hostos (Starfish) can help you implement some of these items. Raising flags in the system will alert students to come speak with you about their progress. If you put your office hours in the system, students can schedule an appointment to meet with you or be referred to one of our student support areas such as HALC or an advisor. The system will be open for the first day of classes so you can send alerts as soon as you see a problem. We are also distributing flyers to students about the importance of attendance. Please share with your students and post on blackboard as you see fit. I have included the flyer for your use. Although the statistics are not surprising to us, they are to students.


CUNY’s Performance Management Process was released for this past year. They have changed many of the performance metrics this year. The link will take you to the latest book so you can see our five year trends and how we compare to our sister colleges. One highlight that you should be proud of is the increase in our 2-year graduation rates. In five years we increased from 1.4 % of students graduating in two years to 8.6% of our students able to graduate in just two years. Our 3-year graduation rate slipped slightly from 22.1 to 20.0%. Two other highlights are the number of funded research grants increased to 6 for last year compared with 2 for the year before and we increased our percentage of faculty who are minority from 51% to 54%. You can find much more data in the actual book: http://www2.cuny.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/4/page-assets/about/administration/offices/oira/institutional/data/current-student-data-book-by-subject/PMP_University_Data_Book_2018-Final_2018-08-01.pdf.


On a final note, welcome back Professors Amy Ramson and Juan Preciado from their sabbaticals and I wish Professor Marielena Hurvich a joy-filled retirement. Have a smooth start to the semester and year of success with our students and in your own professional growth.




Christine Mangino, Ed.D.
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs


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